Help Prairie Hollow Farm replace the Sprinter van
My name is Pam and I own and run a farm in southeast MN called Prairie Hollow Farm . We grow fruit and vegetables that we sell at farmer's markets in both Rochester and Minneapolis, and we also sell CSA (community supported agriculture) shares. I grow grain and make my own breads, and we raise cows and I make artisan cheese. I also make jams and jellies. (I do a few things!) I've been on the farm since I was a kid, and I love knowing I'm raising sustainable and environmentally friendly food for the people I love. We are not certified organic, but we use all organic practices on our farm.
On March15, I was heading home in our Dodge Sprinter which is a delivery vehicle similar to a FedEx truck. It was snowing heavily and the temperatures were just at the freezing mark which made the roads extremely slippery. I kept slowing my speed until I was going about 30 miles an hour. Half a mile before the turnoff for home, the road curves just a bit. That little bit was enough to send the Sprinter into a spin and a glide, across the road and toward the ditch. When the tires hit the gravel shoulder, the change in momentum flipped the Sprinter into the ditch. The seatbelt did its job and held me in place, the problem was the seat was up in the air!
Fortunately, I had put my phone in my pocket rather than in the console, so I was able to get it out and call 911.
I got my first, and hopefully my only, ride in an ambulance. The EMTs were concerned about my neck and had a cervical collar on me in short order. Fortunately, my injuries were minor and are being treated with physical therapy. My Sprinter wasn’t so lucky. Even through it did not appear to have much damage, the mechanic’s inspection found major damage to the engine. The insurance company chose to call it totaled rather than repair it. Even though I had carried full coverage, the insurance company only paid me $970 for it. I challenged the amount as being far too low, but wasn’t able to convince them to increase the amount.
Since then I have been searching for a replacement. What I have discovered is that a fifteen year old used Sprinter in decent shape will cost at least $20,000. A newer used Sprinter will cost closer to $30,000. I looked at other vehicles and have been using a couple of different vans to get everything to market, but with the amount of produce and all the tables and other equipment we haul to market every week, another Sprinter makes the most sense. The cargo area floor is lower than most delivery vehicles which reduces the amount of lifting during loading and unloading and is easier for stepping in and out. It is also tall enough that we can stand up inside so we don’t have to be bending over while lifting heavy totes of produce, which definitely saves on back strain!
We are hoping to raise $22,000 toward the purchase of a used vehicle in good condition. The sooner we can purchase the van, the better, as we are in our summer market season full swing!
Our farm took a hit with the recent Covid crisis. We lost most of our school and restaurant accounts, and we've been trying to make it on markets and CSA's this year. Losing the van was really bad timing, to say the least. We cannot afford to replace it, which is why I'm reaching out for help. Getting the van replaced without going into more debt would mean the world to our farm and my family!
Thank you so much!
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