Publish Date: Fall 2012
Jeff Broadie and Kasey White of Lonesome Whistle Farm grow heirloom dry beans, popcorn, dry corn, heritage grains, vegetables and seed crops on 30 transitional organic acres on River Road in Junction City. They are working to preserve and promote rare and unique dry bean and grain varieties that aren’t readily available. After leasing land for several years, they are now in their second season on their new “forever farm”, purchased with the help of some dedicated investors.
On Thursday, August 16, farmer Jeff Broadie had a serious accident while attempting to repair his combine. The good news is: Jeff is going to be okay. The bad news is: Jeff and Kasey don’t have health insurance.
Jeff was in the front yard working on the header-lift adjustment, which raises and lowers the cutter bar on the combine, when a bar released and hit him square in the face. It’s an old combine, chosen because it is smaller and more suited to the scale of their operation, but lacking many of the safety features of newer equipment. If Jeff had been a few inches closer, he’d likely be dead. A few inches further back and he might have gone unscathed. After two and a half hours of surgery they put his nose back together. Although his eye socket cracked, his eye is okay. Jeff was home after only a night and a day in the hospital, with strict instructions to be still. But this was the heart of bean and grain harvest season, the antithesis to bed rest.
The Willamette Farm and Food Coalition (WFFC) revved up their network, which was not hard to do as we had just hosted a farm tour and potluck dinner at Lonesome Whistle two weeks prior, on July 29, the same day the Register Guard ran a big cover story on the farm. Volunteers have since rallied for work parties. Fifty people showed up for the first one and harvested three acres of dry beans by hand in a few hours! Some good friends with combine experience have helped harvest the grains, but groups of volunteers have pulled several acres of bean plants and laid them on tarps to dry.
WFFC also offered to take contributions to help defray medical costs. Over $5,000 has been raised to date. Jeff and Kasey have applied through the hospital for fee reductions and at this time do not know what their total expenses will be. They are in awe and amazement at this outpouring of love, support, and “willingness to sweat” from their community!
Here at WFFC, we are keeping records of contributions and sending thank you notes, one less thing for them to worry about at this time. One of the things that motivate us to educate people about the importance of buying locally grown food is that we want to see farms thrive economically.
Thriving means being able to afford health insurance for your family and farm employees. We can all rant about the state of affordable health care. In the meantime, we want to support the people who work so hard to feed us well. And we’re guessing you do too.
If you are moved to contribute, make your check payable to Lonesome Whistle Farm and mail to:
PO Box 41672
Eugene, OR 97404