CNG Farmers Fight Extreme Weather

Posted on November 29, 2018

By Suzannah Schneider, Communications Manager and Certification Coordinator

Alternative Organic Certified Farm Climate Change

Imagine . . . you’ve lost all but one room of your home.

The power has been out for three weeks, so you’ve been forced to shower and cook outside in 100°F weather with endless rain. Cell service is close to impossible. You can forget about internet.

What’s more, you’re a farmer. Your acres are decimated. You’ve lost everything but your purple top turnips in the saturated soil.

This is the reality for Ronnie and Scott Barnes of Happy Homestead Farm in Fountain, Florida. They have to be prepared for any little “blip on the radar” to become a Category 4 storm, like Hurricane Michael did in early October.

They could lose their entire farm at any moment.

Farmers depend on our Grassroots Fund to get through difficult times. But this year’s hardships surpassed all prior years, and the fund has run dry. Won’t you help us replenish it? Your gift today will be MATCHED!

Ronnie’s storm story is hard to believe. She had just two days to prepare for Hurricane Michael, with her father-in-law scheduled for open-heart surgery the day before it hit. When the hurricane arrived, her small house sheltered her husband, disabled son, visiting aunt, six dogs, and one cat.

Happy Homestead Farm made it through, but barely.

Sustainable Alternative Organic Certified Local Farmers at Farmers Market

Ronnie knows her situation isn’t unique. “It’s going to be a challenging winter in every single way. But we’re not the first farmers to have had this little puzzle!”

Thanks to your generosity, farmers like Ronnie can tap the Grassroots Fund to cover the costs of her CNG certification. This means she’ll have more of her limited resources to rebuild for next season.

Dozens will apply to the Grassroots Fund in 2019. We will need at least $2,000 to honor all qualified applications to the fund in 2019. Help keep farms resilient and DOUBLE your generosity TODAY!

If you become a monthly sustainer with $10 or more, we’ll thank you with our colorful “Who’s Your Farmer?” market tote, hand-designed by Aly Miller. Make your support for CNG farmers visible every time you use this tote, and get people thinking too!

Sustainable Farmers Market Bag

At Broadfork Farm in Moseley, Virginia, the new motto is:

“Spend more to harvest less.”

That’s how Janet Aardema and Dan Gagnon adapted to extreme rain in 2018.

Organic Alternative Sustainable Farmers

When they lost hundreds of bedfeet of spinach, they chalked it up to a wet spring. But when the summer came, the rain ruined their carrots and badly damaged many tomato plants. Then they lost their prized brassicas in early fall! At that point Janet and Dan knew they’d just have to keep working harder for fewer vegetables.

“Everything is saturated, drowned, flooded. Most of our plants are so unhealthy due to the extreme amounts of rain.”

Janet and Dan have been able to recoup their losses by replanting and investing in protective tunnels. Still, Janet’s voice trails off when she tells us, “In a season like this . . . we wonder where people are going to buy the vegetables they would’ve bought from us?”

Being Certified Naturally Grown remains a powerful part of Broadfork Farm’s identity. “We stand by our commitment to our CSA members to be inspected.

We know it still matters, otherwise we wouldn’t do it” says Janet.

But she can’t help but wonder, What if 2019 is like this?”

Your gift to our Grassroots Fund will help farms like Broadfork maintain their CNG certification in difficult times. Many growers tell us that being CNG helps them thrive, especially in challenging seasons.

Won’t you chip in to help CNG farmers cope with extreme weather and other hardships?

Near Raleigh, North Carolina, Camille Edwards of To Bee Sow Happy Farm tells us she could not grow any produce this year. “It was a no-win situation,” she says.

She personally knows four farms who closed for good this season due to Hurricane Florence. If just one CNG farmer knows four farmers who have to stop growing, how many others are in the same boat?

2018 will be the fourth-hottest year on record. Now more than ever, your generosity is needed to replenish the Grassroots Fund that supports CNG farmers hit by extreme weather and unusual hardship.

If you give before December 31, your kindness will be matched. There’s never been a better time to give. Please complete the enclosed slip with your generous gift today.

Just last week, Emma Cunniff of Kneehigh Farm in Chester County, Pennsylvania found herself inside a terrible pun: during her last harvest day of the season, the standing water was up to her knees.

Alternative Organic Certified Farm in Climate Change

She had to wade through the swamp her farm had become to harvest her CSA members’ Thanksgiving vegetables. Imagine the damage it did to her crops.

Your gift will help farmers like Emma maintain the marketing and networking advantages their CNG certification provides, so they can overcome the challenges of extreme weather.

Not far from Houston, community members will have to say goodbye to Goodrich Market Garden due to impossible growing conditions. Farmer Mike Hancock says,

“We had the most brutal summer on record in East Texas. We had July weather in May. Pests went wild, fruit did not set, and I almost died of heat stroke (at least I thought so). This is not just an anomaly. The trend with climate change is not good.”

Like you, we don’t want any more CNG farmers to stop farming. Please, give what you can today to help them continue providing good food for their communities while building the soil in ways that sequester carbon and fight climate change.

In an ideal world, all farmers would grow without synthetic chemicals or GMOs. We’re not there yet, so let’s make sure those who do the right thing are able to stand out with CNG Certification.

Remember, only donations between now and December 31 will be matched. Please make your gift today to make sure it is doubled.

Thank you for your commitment to sustaining community-based farms that keep carbon in the soil, protect our waterways, and feed our communities good food. This been an especially tough year with destructive weather, and many of our 750+ CNG farms are struggling.

Your generosity keeps farms strong.