Devastating storm delivers unprecedented blow to Vermont farmers. A recent historic storm dumped nearly 9 inches of rain in parts of Vermont. With more than 1.2 million acres of the state’s land devoted to agriculture and food, flooding is ravaging farmers.
Since the storm made landfall, the Northeast Vermont Organic Agriculture Association (NOFA-VT) has received information from 89 Vermont farms reporting the impact of severe flooding. Damage ranges from damage in the fields to the complete destruction of the entire farm.
“The damage is really profound,” Grace Oedel, chief executive officer of NOFA-VT told Food Tank. “It doesn’t affect all farmers, but affected farmers have been hit hard.”
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), heavy and widespread rainfall that occurs in less than 24 hours has less than a 1% chance of occurring in this part of the country. As localized flooding, washouts, and traffic jams increased across Vermont on the first day of the storm. Governor Phil Scott declared a state of emergency.
According to Feeding the Economy, the food and agriculture sectors contribute $19.3 billion to the Vermont economy. The local destruction of farms across the state means enormous economic losses at the local and state levels.
“There are layers of impact that we haven’t even begun to address,” says Oedel. “There is a loss of initial income and loss of jobs this season. But there’s also a loss to low-income eaters who joined food access programs and received some of that food. There are losses to the land, the question of pollution, and what reconstruction will look like.
Some farmers have just started going to the fields to assess the damage, while others are still waiting for their properties to be empty. According to Oedel, it will take several weeks before the full damage is known.
But Oedel says farmers continue to find hope in the strength of the Vermont community. “Resilience lies in diversity and in community,” Oedel told Food Tank. “We have farmers who support each other very enthusiastically. And by having diverse farms and growing diverse crops in diverse ecosystems and in different parts of the state, we will be much more resilient than if we were just humans. to plant a thing, a way, or a place.
Warm temperatures in early spring, frost in May, and poor air quality from wildfires in Canada throughout June have resulted in a turbulent growing season for many Vermont growers. Oedel said the recent historic flooding has only increased growing concern about a potential “climate disaster” in Vermont’s farming community.
Although the extent of the damage is unknown, state governments, local organizations, and volunteers have focused on the recovery. “There’s a lot of mitigation that needs to be done right now,” Oedel said. “We need to stand up for farmers, farm workers, and low-income people who have just lost access to vital food.”
Department of Agriculture
The state Department of Agriculture released a list of disaster response and recovery resources just two days after the flooding began. This resource is intended to compile all the information available to farmers, including how to report losses and specific guidelines for dairy, meat, and agricultural production.
Community organizations, including the Northeast Vermont Organic Agriculture Association, the Intervale Center, the Vermont Community Foundation, and the Center for Agricultural Economics, are leading efforts to provide immediate relief funding to farmers while federal relief was resolved. The Vermont Garden Network has also compiled a list of resources for gardeners outlining the first steps to saving the garden.
Federal Emergency Management Agency
President Biden also approved the emergency aid. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assessors began surveying hard-hit areas of Vermont six days after the storm. They will determine which Vermont counties are eligible for individual assistance through President Biden’s disaster declaration. However, Oedel predicts that much of the funding will go to municipalities to rebuild infrastructure and may never reach farming communities.
Oedel is calling on Vermonters to come forward for their local farmers through donations or volunteering. With most of the state’s emergency shelters now empty, volunteers are focused on providing food and water to those who still need it and repairing infrastructure.
“It’s a problem for all of us,” Oedel told Food Tank 카지노사이트. “It affects farmers, but we are all eaters and we all need clean food and water. So we stand in solidarity with our farmers because, in part, our own food is involved in all of this.