Here’s how you can help a Dartmouth farm rebuild
One week after a re destroyed their barn and all of its contents, Sarah Cogswell and Kate Levin are preparing a blitz of fundraising events to help get the Cluck and Trowel farm back on its feet.
On Jan. 12, a fast-moving fire reduced a barn at Cogswell and Levin’s farm to ashes. The 777 Horseneck Rd. barn was burned completely to the ground, and nearly 200 chicks were lost, along with meat stored in a freezer and farming tools.
A GoFundMe page was established by fellow farmers at Apponagansett Farm less than 24 hours later, and by the end of the week, $22,000 was raised.
“Almost immediately when the news about the re went out people started reaching out with what they can do to help,” Levin said. “It was overwhelming.”
But the farmers, who run the farm with their son Massimo Vliet, soon hit a few roadblocks in their efforts to rebuild. Their insurance company will only cover the barn itself, not the value of the tools, products, and animals lost in the re.
“We did hit the $20,000 goal which is amazing,” Levin said. “We set that goal before we were aware insurance is not going to cover everything. Every penny of that will really matter.”
The next few weeks will feature several fundraisers to help with the recovery effort. On January 24, Destination Soups in New Bedford will host a "Soup It Up" fundraiser for Cluck and Trowel. A portion of proceeds from sales that day will benefit the relief fund.
Two businesses in Padanaram are also stepping up to help out. On January 31, Farm and Coast Market will host an evening fundraiser at 6:30 p.m. There will be food, music by Neal McCarthy and Barry Gross, a cash bar, silent auction, and other donation opportunities. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online at brownpapertickets.com/event/4058952.
Little Moss will also donate 50 percent of its proceeds to farm rebuilding efforts all day on January 31, coinciding with Farm and Coast Market’s event.
Levin and Cogswell are ironing out final details for several other fundraisers. Weatherlow Farm in Westport will hold a “Hootenanny” get-together on February 23, and Le Place in New Bedford has reached out to organize a fundraiser, too.
The Dartmouth Grange is collecting donations, with the benefit of being able to provide tax receipts for those making larger gifts. Checks can be made to the Dartmouth Grange with Cluck & Trowel Barn Fire in the memo, and dropped off at Alderbrook Farm or mailed to the Grange at 1133 Fisher Rd., Dartmouth, MA 02747.
Cogswell also happens to be a Grange member and runs the Grange’s annual Farmer Film and Potluck program. The final potluck of the season will be March 1, with a showing of the film “Farmers for America” and discussion with producer Graham Merriweather.
“It’s really overwhelming just how much everyone’s trying to kick in and contribute,” Levin said.
Reconstruction will likely be a long-term project. Levin estimates it will be at least three months before she can start cleanup from the fire, and they will be working to make sure they can start the farming season on time. Since they rent the property, they are still working with the land owners to formulate a path forward.
For more information about upcoming fundraisers, work parties, and other ways to help, visit cluckandtrowel.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.