On Monday morning, July 10th, the South River jumped its banks and quickly swallowed our main crop fields, including our equipment yard and our flock of laying hens here at Natural Roots. Thanks to the teamwork of the farm crew, along with our brave team of horses, we were able to rescue most of our flock and most of our farm equipment from getting washed away in the rapidly rising floodwaters. All people and workhorses emerged from the rescue sodden and charged with adrenaline, but otherwise safe.
Our newly rebuilt footbridge, which crosses the South River and provides access to our farm, miraculously withstood the flood raging all around it. Our farm roads and river crossings, however, were completely gutted, are impassable and will require significant resources and heavy machinery to rebuild.
Our main crop fields were completely submerged. Soil was lost and crops were either flattened, uprooted, or blasted out of the field by the force of the flood. We are expecting a 100% loss of the food that was growing in our main fields at the time of the flood. Regulations around what will be safe to harvest from unaffected plants, and what can be replanted in the weeks and months ahead are still unfolding. At this point in the season, however, there is not enough time left to replant most of the crops that were lost.
We are committed to providing our members with as much food as we are able, given the circumstances. What that will look like is still unknown, but we will communicate details to our members as we know more. Any crops that can be safely harvested will be distributed to our current membership, so we won’t have vegetables for sale, for winter shares or wholesale customers.
The financial implications of this event are insurmountable without community support. Losses like this are impossible to absorb into the shoestring margins that farms like ours already work within. As resilient and adaptable as we are, we will be unable to keep our farm going without help. With what we know now, we will need to raise $85,000 to cover our lost income and rebuild our farm from the flood. The situation is still unfolding and we may encounter additional needs along the way.
We intend to continue to steward this land and offer nourishment to our community, who have supported us for over 25 years. We are profoundly grateful for all of the community support we are receiving through this extremely challenging time.
David, Maggie, Britt, and the farm family and crew