Disaster Resources for Markets and Farmers
Two of the questions that come up as we watch the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria are: “how can I help?” and “am I prepared for a similar disaster?” First things first, consider donating to the emergency farmer support funds administered by FMC’s members and partners in the area. Funds like these help local farmers get back up on their feet following natural disasters:
- Regrow Puerto Rico
- Support Small Farmers in Vieques, Puerto Rico
- Ag Community Relief (collecting donations to replace fencing lost in the California wildfires)
- Texas Organic Farmers & Gardeners (TOFGA) Disaster Relief Fund
- Texas Center for Local Foods—Harvey Relief Fund
- Farm Aid Family Farm Disaster Fund (for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, & Maria)
- The Farmer Fund (Georgia)
- Louisiana Small Farmer Fund from Big River Economic and Agricultural Development Alliance (BREADA)
- Texas Department of Agriculture STAR Fund
We’ll keep you updated with more ways to support the area’s markets and farmers as they become available.
There is no way to truly prepare for the impact of natural disaster, but you can prepare your market, vendors, and shoppers for what comes next. Farmers markets across the country have navigated the recovery and rebuilding process and learned some key lessons. Our colleague Dar Wolnik helped New Orleans markets recover after Hurricane Katrina and recently shared some of her experiences implementing Disaster SNAP (D-SNAP) after the storm. “Just like our work in farmers markets, the most direct help is often painstaking to set up but builds better connections,” says Wolnik. “I can say that many of the folks who reached out to our NOLa market team directly after the levee breaks of Hurricane Katrina became dear friends and we had a stronger relationship with many of our peer markets because of that contact.”
The exhaustion and grief that attends disasters is immense, but help is available. A critical first step to accessing help is to document losses and complete the paperwork necessary to qualify for and access federal, state, and local assistance. Our colleague Scott Marlow, the Executive Director of RAFI and a national expert is disaster assistance programs, recently penned an open letter to his colleagues in Texas that is a must-read for all markets. As Marlow emphasizes, it is essential to understand the agencies and programs designed to assist producers and markets recover from natural disasters.