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help is still needed after Irene

Posted: September 12 2011

Here is an impassioned note from Sophie, a Vermonter who's been digging in to help out the farmers, and others, in the flooded valleys and devastated bottomlands of Vermont. We stand in solidarity with those of you who have been affected in VT and northern NY.  If you know of any other ways that folks can help, please email us so we can spread the word.  [email protected].

Dear Greenhorns,
This is my home state and I'm worried about it, saddened and inspired by it. Vermont farmers have lost crops, financial security, land security, top soil due to terrible flooding.
I spent the past weekend working up in the Bethel/Royalton area of Vermont mucking out houses, and had the pleasure of meeting a farmer who, despite losing all 37 acres of his crops, his fields covered in sand, contaminated mud and debris, his season over, went immediately out to his neighbors houses, working like a whirlwind.  Once all the local houses were underway, he went on to the next town saving at least 10 houses that had been flooded, working 7 days straight, organizing hundreds of volunteers.  This is just one farm, one farmer, one town, one story equal parts heart breaking and heart warming.
It is devastating to see the landscape, the towns, the houses, the schools, and the farms up there.  It is also overwhelming to see how resilient and giving and willing and kind everyone has been to each other, but Vermonters need more help. This flood is particularly hard for farmers who already had extensive crop damage due to heavy spring flooding.  This flood has taken much more, contaminating everything it touched, sweeping away barns full of livestock, crushing greenhouses, shorting out tools, destroying barns, drowning chickens, ruining tractors and other farm vehicles, leaving sand and rocks all over fertile river bottomland, and all at the very moment that the harvest season was to begin in earnest. This flood has the potential to put many new and beginning farmers out of business.
Farmers in Vermont need hands RIGHT NOW with skills of ALL kinds: farm and everything farm related (organizing crews, making fast decisions, assessing damage, motivating, tractor and heavy equipment skills, basic electrical, light demo, heavy demo, chainsaws....also baby sitters, cooks, phone answerers, fundraisers.)  And farmers need volunteers to help get the community in their towns get back on its feet so that the towns stay healthy, the people are able to stay there, the markets continue to operate. This is a major crisis in a farm state. Please help in any way you can.
Thank so much.

I know there are many farms who were affected but who are not on the following list, like Hurricane Flats Farm and the Perly Farm in Royalton.  NOFA VT may have a more comprehensive idea of who needs help, and http://vtresponse.wordpress.com/ is a great site to find specific jobs and locations to volunteer at. Many farms are listed here, and there is a forum to post an offer to help in specific ways (i.e. farm labor, or greenhouse building)
**here is another excellent post with resources: http://www.greenmountaingarlic.com/vermont/more-help-for-vermont-farmers-after-the-floods-of-hurricane-irene/

red hook, new york