For many of us city dwellers, Tropical Storm Irene passed by with little to no consequences, but our farmer friends upstate will be dealing with the aftermath for many months to come. The massive flooding left many farmers’ crops submerged under several feet of water, with some losing as much as 1,500 acres and suffering from $1 million in lost profits. GrowNYC has a list of nearly 40 farmers who were affected by the storm. Many farms have lost entire crops and had to cancel the rest of their CSAs, and several farms are completely done for the season and won’t even be coming to weekly Greenmarkets. But there is still much that we can do to help the farms recover and continue to support local agriculture — hit the jump to find out more.
Nearly all of the farmers that come to our Greenmarkets were adversely affected by Irene, and 10 percent of them have lost 70 to 100 percent of their crops. Wilkow Orchards in Ulster County, a farm that attends dozens of Greenmarkets, lost its entire tomato crop, and Ray Bradley Farms, also in Ulster County, lost nearly all of the summer and fall crops.
But even still, most farms are still attending Greenmarkets, even with a limited supply. This means that they best thing that we can do for the farms is continue to buy their products — whatever it may be. You can also donate to the relief efforts on through GrowNYC or Just Food’s websites, and many farms have set up individual donation systems on their websites, so be sure to check your favorite farm. For those who want to have a more physical presence in the relief efforts, GrowNYC has information from three different farms that are asking for volunteers to come help salvage and repair their crops.
There are also several benefit events taking place, the biggest of which is Dine Out Irene, taking places this Sunday, September 25. More than 100 restaurants will donate 10 percent of their profits to the relief efforts. We wrote more about the event here, and you can find a list of all participating restaurants on the Dine Out Irene website. Following this is Dine In Irene, an effort organized by Bloggers Without Borders to invite New Yorkers to have dinner parties and potlucks using only locally sourced and Greenmarket ingredients. There is a suggested donation of $25 per guest and hosts are to blog about the dinner, noting which farmers’ products they used.
You can also write to your state Representatives and Senators to ask for more federal funding to to go toward relief efforts. Upstate New York and parts of New Jersey were declared a federal disaster area, but direct farm and agriculture relief funds are needed.