Good Neighbors

Teamwork Makes The Dream Work: How Two Farms Linked Up To Save 80,000 Hens

With the coronavirus crisis crippling the food supply chain, two these farmers are helping each other -- and the community response has been overwhelming.

With schools, hotels and restaurants still mostly on lockdown, farmers like Josh Zimmerman in Berks County, PA have had to make some tough decisions. Without enough storage for the eggs his hens produce each day, Zimmerman faced the unpleasant option of either euthanizing his flock of 80,000 hens, or finding a new way to sell his surplus of eggs.

That's when Timi Baushcher, who runs the Nesting Box Farm Market and Creamery in Kempton, a small town about 20 minutes from Zimmerman's farm, decided to step up and help. Baushcher offered to sell the eggs at her roadside market at a discounted price so that Zimmerman could keep farming.

Here's Timi Bauschcher with her farmer husband Keith. The Nesting Box Farm Market & Creamery/Facebook

While Zimmerman was a bit skeptical that Bauschcher could get rid of the thousands of eggs they packed in boxes and loaded on to "skids," or mobile loading platforms, he was happy to have the support.

The social media-savvy Baushcher, who her husband describes as having "Facebook down to a T," held the first distribution event at the Nesting Box Market on April 27th. Customers lined up in cars that were backed up outside of the market and onto the road, eager to pick up eggs priced at $2 per dozen.

Bauscher took thousands of eggs from Zimmerman's farm to sell at her local market. The Nesting Box Farm Market & Creamery/Facebook

But the event was about much more than getting some discounted eggs. The community rallied at the opportunity to support a local farmer who, like so many others, was facing serious financial hardship due to the pandemic.

"There is POSSIBLE in IMPOSSIBLE," Baushcher wrote in a Facebook post after the event. "Thank you to EVERYONE who came out and made today amazing! Thank you to our VILLAGE who showed up, rolled up their sleeves, dug in and got it done!"

We love this video that one of Zimmerman's family members made to illustrate the current food supply crisis - with steps on how to solve it!

After the first distribution event, the Bauschers planned another, larger event at the Kempton Community Center. The family worked tirelessly with volunteers and other community members to pull off a massive, contact-less pick-up for folks to drive through and pay for as many cartons of eggs as they needed.

Cars lined up to buy discounted cartons of eggs at a recent distribution event in Kempton, PA. The Nesting Box Farm Market & Creamery/Facebook

Bauscher instructed customers to wear masks and stay in their cars during the pick-up, and she and other team members completed the transactions from a safe social distance.

Some people drove for hours to purchase a few cartons for themselves and their families, others loaded up their vehicles with dozens of boxes to donate to food banks and other missions.

Here's some cool drone footage taken at the Kempton CC distribution event...

Most customers said they heard about the event on Facebook, including Pegene Pitcairn who drove more than an hour to pick up 360 dozen eggs for over 40 families and food pantries.

"It really is a wonderful story of how humans come together to help people in our food chain," Pitcairn told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The line of cars at the community center wrapped for miles as volunteers helped to direct traffic and collect money from people. Bauscher said they completely sold out of eggs at the event, and after four public distributions they've sold a whopping 1,080,000 single eggs from Zimmerman's farm.

Bauscher sold over a million eggs at the community distribution events.The Nesting Box Farm Market & Creamery/Facebook

While Bauscher knows that the challenges that today's farmers face are far from over, she's happy to help at least one local provider to get back on his feet.

"You have to remember," she said, "that if you're not doing things in your life that give you goose bumps, you're doing it wrong."

Bauscher, who raises chickens herself, knows the road ahead for farmers will be tough. The Nesting Box Farm Market & Creamery/Facebook

How can you start something good?

We can all do our part to support local farmers during the pandemic. Look for market stands and farmers markets to buy your eggs, meat and produce, and consider signing up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) subscription. To find your local CSA, just plug in your zip code on the LocalHarvest website.

Let's #StartSomethingGood together!

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