LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — All the panic buying and hoarding we’ve seen has forced people to get creative and look beyond the long lines at grocery stores for supplies. Some find what they need online. Others are going off line to the farm.
13 Investigates takes us to The Las Vegas Farm to see how they’re filling a need while also struggling to survive.
“I have been the owner and operator of the Las Vegas Farm for over 50 years,” says Sharon Linsenbardt. “We’ve been saving and caring for animals out here forever.”
“We got horses, goats. pigs, donkeys, llamas, cows, mules, geese, chickens, guineas. We’ve got turkeys.”
Sharon is used to the chorus of animals sounds at the the farm near Tenaya Way and Grand Teton.
But since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, a new sound has joined the mix.
“The phone never stopped ringing!” Sharon says. “And I would get two and three and four calls all at one time. It was insane. I was getting hundreds of calls a day!”
One of the things they can do here at the farm is help fill in gaps on store shelves with basic necessities like eggs. They’ve got them by the thousands, but they have to prepare them and get them ready to sell to the public abiding by the health code.
And sell they do, as they have for decades.
“This is unprecedented. We run out quickly,” says Sharon.
They’re taking new precautions, letting in no more than 12 people at once and posting a security guard in the parking lot. Still, something went afoul recently with some visitors behaving piggish.
Darcy: “What happened to you last weekend?”
Sharon: “I’ll be darned if somebody hadn't gotten in our restrooms and stolen all the toilet paper and all the hand sanitizers from our hand wash stations.”
Sharon says she was so disappointed it brought her to tears.
But her disappointment didn’t have time to take root. After she posted about the theft on Facebook, the community rallied in response.
“Oh, Darcy you have no idea. It’s been overwhelming! That negative, that one or two people did, has turned into an enormous positive. [people saying] ’Sharon, what do you need? Sharon. I’ve got four rolls. You can have two.' It was overwhelming. It really was overwhelming. So many people came. Old. Young. Single moms that couldn’t... and they shared.”
Thanks to the help, Sharon can focus on those who count on her most.
One of the biggest concerns is keeping the hundreds of animals they have here fed. The Farm has a food bill of about $7,000 a month and without a steady stream of visitors that presents a huge challenge.
The Farm is considered and essential business because it’s agricultural and provides basic food needs. But with social distancing and crowd limits, Sharon can’t have the school groups, tours and large numbers of visitors she needs to properly support her operation.
“Everything doesn’t stop -- caring for hundreds of animals -- simply because people don’t walk into the gate,” Sharon explains.
These animals are here because they have nowhere else to go.
“This is their last place to be safe for the rest of their life.” says Sharon.
Cows and pigs that were abused; horses that were injured and are no longer rideable. And Sharon says the demand on rescues like hers has dramatically increased due to our economic shutdown.
“We’ve had so many, many people not only give up their animals, want to dump their animals, want to stop caring for their animals, that the phone is ringing off the hook.”
But right now, she just can’t take in any more.
“Every space, every corner, every possible cubby hole, we have an animal that’s being cared for.”
And now she’s more on her own now than every before. The Farm’s staff are all volunteers.
“….many of which have decided to stay home, and I understand that, have not come to help me. So we’re really short on volunteers right now,” Sharon explains.
And short on some of the store-bought basics they need, like flour, to make the farm-fresh products they produce.
“You can't find the products that you need to make what we need. Other than the natural things that we grow, and that the birds produce, and the honey that the bees produce,” says Sharon.
But hope springs eternal at The Farm. With limits on supplies and reminders about responsible hygiene, they will open their gates to a few weekend customers at a time, preparing as best they can to provide for the community’s two and four-legged creatures.
The Farm is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Click here for more details.