SKANDIA- A fire at Seeds and Spores Family Farm in Chocolay Township reduced the farm's main barn to rubble early Monday morning.
The Chocolay Township Fire Department responded to a structure fire at approximately 4:39 a.m. Upon arrival, firefighters found the large barn ablaze.
Seeds and Spores co-owner Jeff Hatfield said the barn was used for the farm's main operations.
Chocolay Township firefighters work to extinguish a fire that destroyed a barn at the Seeds and Spores Family Farm Monday in Chocolay Township. (Journal photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
"Thankfully, no lives were lost," Hatfield said.
According to Hatfield, the barn was used for a wash and pack area; walk-in cooler and freezer; livestock and fertilizer storage area; and shop, among other activities.
Seeds and Spores is a supplier for the Marquette Food Co-op, a regular vendor at farmers markets and a community supported agriculture operation.
Hatfield said the farm is using a tent as a temporary wash/pack area and it has been loaned the use of walk-in freezers and coolers so that farm operations can continue.
During the Marquette City Commission regular meeting Monday, the commissioners expressed sadness over the loss and support for the farm.
"I purchase and rely on (their) fresh fruit, vegetables and eggs weekly," said Commissioner Sara Cambensy. "This is a true loss for our community and I know there will be, and already is, considerable help and support for (them)."
Commissioner Jason Schneider said the owners have been his friends for many years and provided most of his produce for a number of years.
"I'm really saddened to see the loss. There is an online fundraiser campaign that is going on and there will probably be a number of fundraisers in the next few months to try and help them get through it," Schneider said. "When it's pretty much our largest farm, it (will) definitely affect our local food systems that we have here."
Donations can be made at www.youcaring.com/help-a-neighbor/seeds-spores-fire-relief/71146. As of press time, nearly $5,500 had been raised to assist the farm, with a goal set at $35,000.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Assisting at the scene were the Marquette Township Fire Department, Sands Township Fire Department, Skandia-West Branch Fire Department, Marquette County Rescue Unit 131, Marquette General EMS, Marquette Board of Light and Power Chocolay Township Police and Chocolay Township Department of Public Works.
Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 243.