My friends survived Hurricane Irma with only minor damage, yet as they were putting their energy towards helping their neighbors on St. Thomas and St.John who did not fare as well, they received a direct hit from Hurricane Maria. They are now currently emerging from the debris and are now in equal need of support in order to salvage their crops and in order to help distribute them amongst their immediate neighbors.
Ridge to Reef Farm provides local, certified organic produce on St. Croix its community. http://www.ridge2reef.org/ They are a pillar in the community providing sustainable living and permaculture education, food advocacy, and healthy eating options for local residents. The farm runs a farm-to-school hub that moves fresh crops from local farmers into the territory's public school lunch program across the islands.
The farm has been utilizing their shipping resources and other means like National Guard helicopters to move fresh crops and crucial supplies across the sea to their devastated sister islands This is crucial as residents have been given MREs as relief food and many have exhausted food stores while the ports remain mostly closed. R2R has donated cases of produce already to My Brothers Workshop, a soup kitchen in St.Thomas now serving 300-500 meals a day. Now, they need support to keep the crops alive to help feed their immediate neighbors, as storms have taken a dramatic toll on their infrastructure (their water storage tanks are now gone). Communications are still spotty, and although no one was injured, damage is still being assessed.
Residents in the Virgin Islands are in desperate need of food, water, power, and shelter!
Several aid agencies have been providing food and water, but apparently, most groups are out of heavy- duty tarps, tools, and gas cans, which can not be easily purchased in the Islands. Many homes are destroyed and rain is common. They need shelter ASAP. Additionally, they need tools to help remove the debris and salvage the crops in order to continue to help feed local residents.
Nate says, "We have three response stages: 1) immediate aid with food, shelter, and supplies, 2) intermediate food provision from farms and other sources, like canned food. and 3) Then, we want to plant many trees in nursery to begin long term regenerative process as they lost most trees on both islands. Later on, months away, we want to invite people down to propagate and plant trees in something of an applied releif permaculture strategy."
Ridge to Reef farm has been donating farm crops and collecting avocado seeds from their destroyed avocado tree to take to St. Thomas and St. John later as future food bearing plants where the majority of trees were lost. Now with a direct hit from Maria, they may need to focus support on their immediate neighbors on St. Croix. http://www.ridge2reef.org/farmblog/farm-update-post-maria
Supplies are being purchased today with funds raised so far and delivered to St. Pete Air in Florida, who will be taking supplies to St. Croix and the farm by private jet on Monday. Funds raised in the next few weeks will be used to purchase more of the requested supplies, shipped to Florida, and then transported via barge to St. Croix every Wednesday. If the St. Croix post office is operational, supplies may be mailed directly to them as well. They have requested the following items:
Large, Heavy Duty Tarps 40x60
Rakes, all kinds
Pick axes, all types
Empty Diesel & Gas containers for transporting from gas station
Clippers, long and short, all kinds
Certified Organic seeds for any immediate sprouts
Buckets, all sizes
Water proof Plastic containers of all sizes, big ones needed.
If you prefer, you can mail supplies directly to:
St. Pete Air/VI Hurricane Relief
ATTN: Ridge to Reef Farm
107 8th Ave SE
St. Petersburg, FL
Will you join me in helping our Permaculture and Sustainable Agriculture Leaders in the Virgin Islands support other locals? Thank you so much for your support! Alone, I can add a few more crucial drops in the bucket of support. Together, we can fill that bucket to overflowing and help those in desperate need.
Thank you so much!
*Allison Avalon is a Permaculture Designer and Environmental Activist originally from Georgia and North Carolina, who has been friends with Nate Olive since they met in the Students for Environmental Awareness (SEA) club in College at UGA back in 1997. They have both served on the Board of The Earthskills Rendezous, the longest running Primitive Skills Gathering in North America.
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