I had originally planned to write about the Bike to Work Day we were going to hold at headquarters tomorrow. There were some fun activities scheduled including a group commute to work in the morning, breakfast snacks for bicycle commuters, and a bike swap. A great local bike shop was going to come and help employees with bike repair and I had hoped it would be a nice day for us to spend outside enjoying the beautiful Wisconsin spring that has finally arrived and thinking about how we can make our commutes more sustainable.

HQ Fire

The fire at headquarters

Of course, the fire on Tuesday night changed the focus of this week. Instead of planning lunch-time bike rides or enjoying the Earth Dinner that was scheduled for Tuesday evening, our plans have changed and we are busy implementing contingency plans and ensuring that the business is up and running.

I’m a month and a half shy of my 1 year anniversary of being a CROPPie but even though I haven’t been here long it was hard to watch so much of our beautiful building burn earlier this week. Of course the most important part is that no one was hurt, only property was damaged and that is replaceable. One of the amazing things that seems to emerge from events like this is the sense of community and togetherness. I felt so connected with all the fellow CROPPies and community members as we watched the firemen work to save our building on Tuesday evening. Yesterday as I walked around town in Viroqua I was amazed at all the people I saw wearing a ‘Who’s Your Farmer’ t-shirt or a shirt from a previous years’ Kickapoo Country Fair.

Organic Valley has been through a lot in the last 25 years, and as George Siemon said in his video earlier today, soon this will just be another chapter in our history.


Working a field near our Cashton facility. You can see one of our wind turbines in the background

In the meantime, we’re all doing what we can to help the recovery and making the best of the moment. I was without a computer until recently, so I met up with our Land and Biofuels  Program Coordinator, Zach Biermann, to get some photos and video footage of him working on CROPP’s fields. Before long, Zach taught me to drive the tractor and I was using the cultipacker on one of our fields!