Pete’s Greens is a certified organic vegetable farm in Craftsbury, Vermont. In January 2011, a fire destroyed the barn – the “heart” of the farm. Many critical items were lost, including all of the vegetable washing and processing equipment, walk-in coolers and freezers, the harvested crops, a freezer full of meat, some tractors, and other equipment and tools.
The farm was underinsured and needed help to quickly rebuild. Within days of the fire, an “all hands on deck” meeting was called to define what could be done to help Pete’s Greens rebuild. Many partners came together with practical solutions. NCIC was able to provide quick access to cash through its technical assistance grant program.
The $36,000 grant – provided from the USDA Rural Enterprise Grant through NCIC – enabled Pete’s Greens to help with the cost of architectural and engineering studies and services in preparation to rebuild. Construction began in early spring 2011, and Pete’s Greens has been able to sustain employment for 12 full time people year round, and up to 20 in the summer.
Amy Skelton, Accounting Manager for Pete’s Green, was very grateful for the outpouring of support by so many to help get Pete’s Greens going again.
“Getting through those first few months financially after the fire was possible in large part because of the grants and donations that were given,” said Skelton. “The money and support we received from NCIC allowed us to move ahead, providing a bridge and stability when we needed it most. In addition, it provided us with the sense of urgency that we needed to work fast to get back on track and continue doing good work.
“Having the resources available so quickly to study the feasibility of constructing a new building was critical to our success in getting started,” said Skelton. “NCIC’s services assisted Pete’s Greens in turning a devastating business situation due to the fire into one of opportunity as we plan for growth in a new, better designed building. The partnership has been very important to us, and we are grateful for NCIC’s commitment to growing business in our region. And the best news of all is that we’re going to be fine. We’re getting back to where we were and even better.”
According to Mike Welch, Northeast Kingdom Director of Economic Development for NCIC, technical assistance grants are often available to businesses to pay for advancing through the hiring of consultants for a variety of purposes including feasibility studies, architectural design, energy audits and website development.
“This was exactly the case with Pete’s Greens,” said Welch. “As many non-profit groups in the area and state came together to help the business get back on its feet, NCIC was able to quickly provide $34,000 in grant funds, which is what the business needed to immediately launch into hiring consultants and in this case re-establish themselves with the goal of creating, retaining, and getting people back to work.”
This technical assistance grant from NCIC helped Pete’s Greens get the project underway, and gave them the opportunity to assess and design a new building and systems in the following ways:
Hire a structural engineering firm (JIH Structural Engineering) to conduct an engineering analysis on the property
Hire a construction manager (IJ Consulting)
Hire Lawson Applied Earth Science to study and design a new waste water treatment system
Hire Jay Caroli of Morrisville, VT, to provide architectural services for the building design
Hire Maddox Energy Consulting, to help ensure the new building was energy efficient, including lighting, wiring, electricity
Help re-create its website
“Our farm is a growing organic farm serving Vermont, with additional customers in Boston and New York City,” said Skelton. “We supply over 100 stores and restaurants in Vermont with produce twice weekly and deliver food to another 400 Vermont households weekly through our CSA. We continue to look for opportunities to reach more Vermonters with our food, and are steadily diversifying, offering more value added products each year. Thank you NCIC for helping us get back on our feet and for bringing greater business development and growth to Pete’s Greens.”
To learn more about Pete’s Greens, visit their website.