Gathering Together Farm
Now more than ever we are seeing how essential our local food systems really are. We couldn’t be prouder to be farmers at this time and couldn’t be more grateful for the support of our community. Always, but especially during this public health crisis, the safety of our employees and our customers is our top priority. Farm life is always a race against time, but we are slowing way down and making sure that we move forward with the utmost caution. We have changed just about every process we have - farm, during deliveries, and at markets - in response to the coronavirus so that we can continue to work with the sun and the soil to provide some of the finest organic produce to our community.
We hope that in addition to providing our community with local organic produce that we can also help to provide a source of security, normalcy, and joy. During such a stressful time, we are devoting ourselves to finding joy in the little things, solace in the simple tasks of daily life. Harvesting your salad mix each morning, the lettuces glow vibrant greens and purples, the rain pitter-patters on the hoop house above, and when the sun peaks out it feels so warm on the skin. We hope that you’re finding joy in the good food that we have, that for a moment you can feel like you have everything you need in this world and can take the time to cook a nice meal with your family and savor it. After all, gratitude goes good with food and both are the best medicine we’ve got!
Read on to learn more about what we’re doing to keep us all safe.
Thank you and be well.
The GTF Team
When Visiting the Farmstand, Please:
Always wear a face mask while shopping in the Farmstand or while on the farm.
Only touch what you intend to purchase.
Always maintain social distancing - Remain 6 ft apart from others.
Pay attention to the one-way paths throughout the Farmstand and entrances.
Wait outside of Farmstand until there are fewer than five people inside. We will only be allowing five customers to shop at once.
Park only around the Farmstand. Please do not park around the farm or near John and Sally's home.
Do not visit the farm or Farmstand if you are ill or have had a fever in the past 7 days.
One of the many incredible women who grows and picks the food here at GTF.
This is life in the fields right now - six feet apart, masks on, and yet still full of vibrance.
All GTF Employees:
All on-farm employees spend at least 30 minutes a day discussing the latest information on coronavirus prevention procedures, our plan to protect employees, and workday sanitation logistics. This information is provided in English, Spanish, and Mam.
Employees are no longer allowed in communal spaces such as the kitchen and office.
Office employees who are able to work remotely are doing so.
Monitor their Health
All employees have been provided with information from the CDC on how to monitor their health during this time, and no one is allowed to come to work for 7-14 days if they think that they may be sick. Employees have also received thermometers to be checking their temperatures regularly.
Adhere to Strict Sanitation Protocol
All employees must come to work with clean clothes and shoes that have not been worn off-farm, and with freshly washed hair, as the virus can live in hair and clothing up to 24 hours.
All employees must wash their hands for 20 seconds between every task, use hand sanitizer frequently all day, and wear disposable gloves when appropriate.
Are Provided with Sanitation Materials
Each on-farm employee is given their own personal bottle of hand sanitizer.
Every vehicle and area is equipped with a bleach solution to regularly sanitize frequently touched surfaces, as is every area of the packing shed, office, kitchen, and bathrooms.
All harvest knives and tools are being sanitized multiple times a day.
We provide masks to all employees and require everyone to wear them at all times. Employees are educated on how frequently masks must be washed and on how to adjust masks in a sanitary fashion when needed.
Embrace Social Distancing
From morning meetings to fieldwork to mealtimes, all employees remain six feet apart at minimum. It’s difficult to hear each other and impossible to work at the same level of efficiency, but none of that matters right now. Six feet apart, no matter what!
Carry Essential Employee Letters
We have provided all of our employees with Essential Employee Letters that states that our work is essential to the community and cannot be performed remotely, just in case law enforcement were to question anyone on their way to or from work.
Office employees who are able to perform their work remotely are working from home.
Have Bilingual Medical Professionals On-Call
The doctors who serve our staff at the local Farm Clinic (read more here) have graciously given out their personal phone numbers for our staff to contact any time with questions or concerns.
Have Safe Access to High-Quality Produce
Although employees have access to the produce we harvest every day, to limit the number of employees going in and out of the cooler, we also now have a weekly Employee Market where we set up our produce outside for employees to grab whilst safely distanced from each other. We’ve even been supplementing with OGC-purchased products for items we don’t have available (such as lemons, oranges, onions, potatoes, and carrots) that employees receive free of charge.
We are limiting the number of new employees that we are bringing on to keep our farm a closed-loop system. The few new employees who do come on are given Worker Sanitation Policies to adhere to while on-farm, and guidelines for pre- and post-work personal care.
Vitality Supported Agriculture
In response to farmers market closures and the Stay At Home order, GTF has responded by creating weekly VSA boxes that we home-deliver in Philomath and Corvallis.
Depending on each market, we are either running VSA box drop-offs at markets that have otherwise closed, or we have significantly altered our booth set-up to accommodate for social distancing.
All marketeers receive a Market Memo every week with updated sanitation procedures.
See our social media post to see our fun new pandemic market system! We’ve been getting great feedback from both market management and customers.
Community Outreach - Vitality Fund
We've all been impacted by the current pandemic in one way or another. Unfortunately, many in our community are facing hardships they never could have imagined, while still trying to feed and provide for their families. Please consider making a donation to our Vitality Fund to help provide healthy, organic produce to low-income families during this time. We're all in this together!
So far, we have donated produce to: Jackson Street Youth Services, Multiple Families in Philomath with the help of the Philomath School District, and other families throughout Benton County with the help of Paris Meyer and her Paintings for Produce cause.
Community Outreach - Farmworker Aid Campaign with Casa Latinos Unidos
As you take home your veggies to keep your family healthy, please consider donating to this Farmworker Aid Emergency Fund so that everyone in our community can access the services they need to stay safe and healthy too. We’re here to take care of each other. Thank you. - The GTF Team
“Please consider donating to our emergency fund to help families who have been impacted by COVID-19 and do not qualify for government assistance. The funding will be used to help families pay for rent, utilities, transportation, cellphone bills, food, and medical bills. Thank you!” - Casa Latinos Unidos