Thank you to all our customers during this challenging time- we hope you are staying safe

Our farm's COVID-19 plan- prevention and perseverance

April 5, 2020
  • Maple Wind Farm COVID-19 Action Plan
    3/27/2020

    Resources

    There is a lot of misinformation out there. We are doing our best to sort through the jargon and tap into resources that are fact-driven, and regularly updated. 
  • For more information on the virus itself, how the government is taking action, and what you can do to help slow the spread of the virus, check out these links:
  • Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations:

    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

  • Public Radio coverage:

  • https://www.npr.org/tags/804916759/covid-19

  • New York Times coverage:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/27/world/coronavirus-news.html

  • Department of Health:

    https://www.healthvermont.gov/response/infectious-disease/2019-novel-coronavirus


  • Prevention
    We will take every measure to ensure the safety of our employees and our customers.
    First, we will follow the CDC’s recommendations for keeping the workplace safe:
    Practice good hygiene
    Stop handshaking – use other non contact methods of greeting
    Clean hands at the door and schedule regular hand washing reminders by email
    Create habits and reminders to avoid touching their faces and cover coughs and sneezes
    Disinfect surfaces like doorknobs, tables, desks, and handrails regularly
    Increase ventilation by opening windows or adjusting air conditioning
    Be careful with meetings and travel
    Use videoconferencing for meetings when possible
    When not possible, hold meetings in open, well-ventilated spaces
    Adjusting or postponing meetings or gatherings
    Assess the risks of business travel
    Employees will stay home if…
    They are feeling sick
    They have a sick family member in their home
    They have had contact with a sick person outside of work.

    Further preventative measures we will take:

    We will maintain separation (6 feet or more), and when we cannot maintain separation, we will wear a dust mask.
    We will wear gloves when we are packing/handling orders or touching anything that a customer and/or community member will eventually come into contact with. We will wear gloves and a mask when cleaning/packaging eggs. We will change our gloves anytime there is the potential for contamination
    We will wash our hands and use hand sanitizer between every task to avoid contaminating hard dry surfaces.
    We will avoid touching our faces - of which we’re already in the habit of due to the nature of our work.
    We will spray down all frequently used surfaces with 200 ppm bleach-based sanitizer at beginning and end of every day. As well as wiping down door knobs, tables, sinks, laptops, phones, coffee maker, microwave, and vehicle interiors.
    As a team we developed and agreed upon a Non-Work Behavior Agreement stating the following:
    Above all transparency: If you have symptoms or close contact with someone who has symptoms or has tested positive, all of us need to know immediately.
    Do not attend gatherings of more than 10 people and even for those smaller gatherings, not for extended periods and please practice social distancing >6'. Avoid any gathering other than those with immediate family or housemates,
    Consider wearing personal protection gear (gloves & masks) when entering a public space like the grocery store or gas station.
    No unnecessary travel to other parts of the country. Notify all if you must travel to an area that has been designated as a "hot spot' for infection. This may result in a requirement by the farm that you quarantine for 14 days before returning to work.
    Avoid visitors who are unclear of their recent contacts. Avoid contact with individuals who are clearly not following guidelines for safe interaction. If anyone from questionable contact does visit we should tell each other.

    Home Delivery

    We have a commitment to our community to provide food when it is needed most. We will continue our home delivery service and open our range to more zip codes until further notice. Check our website to see if your town lies within our delivery area. We will also deliver on a weekly basis until further notice to consider those who missed ordering this week. The delivery driver will take proper care to prevent contamination. As soon as possible we will begin shipping product to areas outside our delivery area. Please check our website often for updates!

    Safety and prevention measures specific to our home delivery service:
    Our truck has been deep cleaned and will continue to be sanitized with bleach-based solution before and after use.
    Between stops, the driver will sanitize their gloved hands and wipe down the steering wheel, shifter, key, and handles.
    All orders will be packed no later than 24 hours before the customer receives it.

    All of our orders are stored and delivered frozen, and as always with meat and eggs, they must be cooked to the appropriate temperature. Use this Safe Minimum Internal Temperature Guide (https://www.fightbac.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/PFSE-7696-cooking-chart_FINAL.pdf) to learn at what temperature each of your meats should be cooked to. According to the European Food Safety Authority, “There is currently no evidence that food is a likely source or route of transmission of the virus.” We recommend you still take proper safety measures when handling food - practicing good hygiene when handling and cooking to temperature.

    On-Farm Pick-Up

    All of the aforementioned protocols for Home Delivery also apply to our Thursday On-Farm Pick-Up. Customers are asked to wait in their cars, give us a call when they arrive, and pop their trunks. With gloves on and >6ft distance, we will bring orders directly to our customers’ vehicle.

    Supply Chain Disruptions

    We have already seen a disruption in sanitation supplies across the state, and will likely see other supply chain disruptions as things progress. To prepare for that we have secured a backstock of sanitization supplies, including: gloves, hand sanitizer, sanitation wipes, hand soap, toilet paper, paper towels, and bleach. As well as a backstock of the supplies we need on a weekly basis, including egg cartons and flats, boxes, peat moss, hay, wood shavings, fuel, oil, and dog food. We thankfully do not have many items coming from China or distant locations, so we are not affected too much by their industry disruptions. We are, though, anticipating delays in national shipments as labor disruptions occur in the warehouse and delivery service areas. We will plan to make all orders well ahead of time to accommodate for this. At this time, we are confident that we will be able to continue receiving grain shipments as an essential item, and have a back up plan if there are disruptions with our current source.

    Financial Disruptions

    We feel very grateful in this moment to work in an industry that provides a necessity - food. Because of this, and our home delivery service, we are not anticipating a drastic impact to our current cash flow. That is of course subject to change if the income of our customers is affected, if federal/state assistance goes into effect, or if a quarantine is mandated and our delivery service must come to a halt. We’re witnessing a recession as we speak, and that will inevitably affect business owners, big and small, across the country.

    Team Disruptions

    We are a small team during the winter season - helping us keep track of everyone’s health status and limiting our potential exposure. Similar to the cold and flu, an individual could carry the virus many days prior to showing symptoms. With the coronavirus, it’s possible for an individual to carry the virus but show no symptoms at all. With that knowledge, we will take the approach of assuming a worker is contagious, and take every precaution to prevent transmission.
    If one of our employees shows any symptoms, or is not of 100% health, they will go home.
    In the case of everyone on our team getting sick, our bosses have committed to being here alone to keep to get the bare minimum done. Animals must get tended to, regardless of everything.

    Our employees are being encouraged to focus on personal preventative care, including eating for health and immunity building, moderate exercise, proper hygiene, and committing to physical social distancing. Despite the need for physical distance, emotional community support remains a top priority. We will continue to be empathetic, compassionate, and forgiving to each other (defer the hug). This epidemic has brought out immense anxiety and fear in many. Supporting and listening to each other is more important now than ever. Love is the most resilient force!

    Closing Remarks

    Our commitment to our animals, our customers, our environment, and each other will never change. Now is our time to step up and provide for our community in a way we never have before. We believe that there is hope, and we will get through this together. Let us move forward with prevention, compassion, and perseverance.

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