Letter to Friends of the Farm

March 17, 2020 

Dear Friend of the Farm,

As the coronavirus pandemic upends the world, I want to share a brief overview of where we are at Shelburne Farms. Of course, the landscape is changing as I write and our response will continue to evolve with emerging conditions and public health recommendations. For updates, please visit our website.

The Farm’s campus is an inspiring and beautiful place shared with many, cared for by an incredibly talented and resilient staff, and stewarded by our wonderful supporters. As an educational organization, we dream of seeing joy and wonder and learning for a sustainable future cultivated in every community around the world. COVID-19 doesn’t change that dream, but it completely changes how we will operate for the foreseeable future.

Along with everyone else, we need to do our part to help slow the spread of the virus, protect at-risk individuals, and avoid overwhelming our health care support systems. So with community health as our priority, we are postponing or cancelling all public programs and events until at least May 1.

At the same time, we feel it is more important than ever to continue serving as a refuge for people wanting to connect with nature in a time of fear and disruption. So our walking trails remain open.

And we are still a farm. We are sugaring in our woodlands (700 gallons of maple syrup so far), planting seeds in the Market Garden, milking the cows at the dairy, welcoming new spring lambs and calves, and making cheese daily. To protect the health of our staff in these critical areas, we have closed all farm operations to the public. We are looking at ways of safely continuing to provide our community with the healthy food we produce.

We are assessing the impacts of various scenarios for reduced program and guest accommodation offerings this coming season. Under every scenario, it is clear that your support as a friend of the Farm is more important than ever.

I hope you and your extended families are faring as well as can be hoped for under these circumstances. We appreciate having you behind us, and your flexibility and understanding as we navigate these uncharted waters together. We are always happy to hear from you and look forward to being in touch virtually, and in person before too long.

Many thanks, and all the best,

Alec Webb