Community Care Apothecary’s farm flood relief

Hi neighbors, friends and CCA supporters near & far!
Reede here, small scale herb farmer, herbalist & shopkeeper of Community Care Apothecary, a queer/trans family owned herb shop in Florence, Western MA.
In this last week our family experienced two massive floods that have impacted both our medicinal herb gardens and our home. The outpouring of community care & love has been overwhelming, and we so appreciate all the check ins!
We are taking your offers of support to heart and asking for help to keep us afloat as we navigate both immediate daily needs and all the unknowns from the long-term effects of the floods.
On July 10th the Mill River running through Florence significantly flooded many acres of organic farms & community garden plots at Grow Food Northampton, where CCA grows most of our herbs. Unfortunately, the flood water was contaminated and completely destroyed everything in our plot, including over 20 varieties of medicinal and culinary herbs we grow to make our tinctures, glycerites, oxymels & salves for the shop...all gone in the blink of an eye.

We’ve been taking it day by day while waiting to hear back from reports and assessing next steps. Sadly, we received worst case scenario news the day before the second flood hit. Not only will this season’s crops be a total loss as we were about to head into peak harvesting season, both our annual and perennial herbs need to be pulled up by the roots and discarded. Then the long road of soil restoration & repair from heavy metal deposits, e coli & other bacteria begins.
Some of the perennials take several years to mature, and after two years of tending to them, they were just at the place where we would have been able to harvest what we needed to make most of our formulas for the whole year. Instead of staying on track to have enough harvest from our carefully chosen perennials to start a small fresh herb CSA next year, we will have to start from scratch all over again.
As a disabled farmer and autistic small business owner that pours so much into cultivating our herbs, this loss is devastating on so many levels.

One week later on July 17th, a second flood hit hard and this time our home was not so lucky. Our sump pump was no match for the 3+ feet of water that came rushing in and even after 20 hours of professional grade hoses pumping nonstop, there’s currently still a swimming pool in our basement that had been doubling as storage for many things that we do not have space to keep in CCA’s small brick and mortar.

It’s hard to wrap our minds around what this means fully, and we are working on strategizing our next steps for sustainable rebuilding while sloshing through clean-up and grieving all that has been lost.

Farming during climate change crisis is wild. humbling. overwhelming and honestly even scary at times.
and…we are committed to figuring this out together as things continue to unfold.

The funds raised will support:
immediate needs such as sourcing the fresh herbs needed to make our herbal products (while supporting other local small scale farmers at the same time), along with replacing packaging, shipping supplies & tools that are essential in keeping our family business running.

Ongoing needed time away from the shop during flood damage clean-up and repair.

Sustainable rebuilding support so we can come back stronger next year with more solid infrastructure in place to see our organic herb farm grow & flourish.

Thank you for the outpouring of support, and for the reminders to ask for help and let care in.

With deep gratitude & solidarity,
Reede, Em & Kirmie

Donations (101)

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  • alice rich lewis
    • $35 
    • 19 d
  • Anonymous
    • $25 
    • 22 d
  • Grace Aldrich
    • $100 
    • 1 mo
  • Anonymous
    • $15 
    • 1 mo
  • Tamatha Gaumnitz
    • $100 
    • 1 mo
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Fundraising team (2)

Reede LaRose
Westhampton, MA
Grace Aldrich
Team member

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