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The Peach Jamboree Fire Relief

$61,680 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 465 people in 17 months
Created July 10, 2017
On Saturday evening, July 8th, our beloved friends Danny and Drew lost their entire homestead to the destructive #wallfire in Oroville, CA. While they were able to save some of the fruit orchards due to their quick action and a heads up from #calfire when the winds shifted, the wildfire tragically took their house and belongings, their workshop, packing shed, cooler, several other structures, and most of their tools + equipment.



We--the friends and family of these two wonderful, hard-working people--are organizing this campaign to help Danny and Drew in the next few weeks as they recover from this devastating event. They intend to stay close to their orchards and land in order to begin the assessment and hopeful rebuilding process, but they are without water, power, and other basic amenities. These funds will all go directly towards immediate relief + support - from food, feed and water, clean-up tools, propane and temporary structures to other items that might help them salvage some of the remaining season’s harvest.

Please join us in supporting our friends and the space that they have created. The Peach Jamboree is a farm, a workshop, a gathering place, a community hub and a brave vision that was well-underway. Every donation helps ensure that this dream will continue to be rebuilt and fully realized in the days, weeks and months to come. Thank you!
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Part 2 of 2 update from Drew 6/8/18:

Of course all of you are curious how our rebuild is going. Well, lets just take a few steps back for a moment and I’ll tell you how it is. We have not built yet. This does not mean we have not made progress, because we have! Enormous leaps and bounds of progress- sort of. Right after the fire, we received donations of clothing,
linens, kitchenware, tools and essential survival gear. This was critical to getting back on our feet. We pushed through with the farming season and only missed one weekend of farmers markets the whole summer. We were proud of ourselves for accomplishing so much with so little. If it hadn’t been for the support of our friends,
family and customers like you we couldn’t have done it. The farm was a mish mosh set up of outdoor makeshift kitchen, tents for sleeping, outdoor shower set up and
port-a-pottys. The ash and dust all summer was miserable, and our set up was nothing glamorous, but we had huge support all summer and our little outside camp set up at the farm was just enough to keep everyone fed and moving forward. The farm needed us and we had to be there. Its not like we could just rent a new house somewhere else and start a new life. This land is our life and it depends on us just like we depend on it.

As the harvest season closed, the fall came swiftly with cold rain and chilling temperatures. Suddenly the outdoor environment was miserable. We had nowhere
to be warm and nowhere to store anything. We longed for the comfort of our home, a woodstove and a clean indoor kitchen. But we just aren’t there yet. All the
generous donations and recently purchased supplies were getting rained on and we simply needed more shelter and protection. There is one un-insulated, open air and unfinished building still standing at the farm that has become the heartbeat of the operation, becoming a true multipurpose building serving as a living space, kitchen, workshop, garage, packing shed and storage. It was truly our everything!
We rented a portable storage container, purchased travel trailers, borrowed campers and anything we could do to make it through the winter. All winter long,
we thinned out burned brush, cut down nearly 300 burned oaks and pines (and we are only 30% through). We cleaned up ash, nails, screws, melted metal and
concrete. We repaired many flat tires from the nails we didn’t find! We fought hillside erosion, we managed flooding, we put in new electrical, communication
lines and internet lines. We got really good at online shopping to purchase everything we lost in the fire. We learned quickly how to repair and maintain leaky
trailers. We fought with insurance, we applied for grants, we looked for additional funding for farms hurt by crisis. We went to local fire recovery meetings for
neighbors to learn what resources are out there. We began talking with the county planning and building department about how to begin the rebuild process. We
looked for a decent contractor who would return phone calls. We bought all new seed stock, farming tools and supplies. We spent hours on the phone trying to get
new copies of important paperwork in order since all of it burned too. We decided to file for an extension on our taxes, there is only so much one can endure!! And in
the middle of the night on sleepless nights we would talk about how to rebuild the farm as a whole. It was a cold, disorganized and miserable winter and we never want to repeat that experience.

But as spring came, we leapt into action, getting the farm in order and with the warming weather, we could once again be outside and the cramped days of winter are long gone. Thanks to all the tools that were donated, we were able to construct several deck platforms and purchased canvas sided tents for folks who are kind enough to live onsite and help out with the recovery. We have also built a temporary stand-alone bathhouse with toilet and shower on the existing septic line that was part of our old house. This sure beats portable toilets! We have several new sheds, built from reclaimed wood and even a shed for a washing machine and
dryer!! We have a bigger and better outdoor camp kitchen that is well shaded to keep us all eating together and enjoying the delicious food the farm produces. The
spirits are reasonably high and we have accomplished some major tasks just in time for the summer harvest season, like completing our walk in cooler, purchasing all
new packing boxes and materials and insulating and closing off the multi-use building.
Also, we now have a finished design and engineered plans for a simple 980 sq ft home. We are hopefully going to submit them to the county for approval soon which means we could have our first permit in hand and could breaking ground on the 1 yr anniversary of the fire.

Everyday it still feels as though we are pushing a giant boulder up hill and hardly able to look up to see that we are making progress. But I know we are making progress. The fact that we are still here and still trying is the most important part. We are definitely in need of encouragement and a pep talk or two, as we have never gone into the farming season so tired before. Usually the off- season is a time of rest. The recovery and rebuild is not as fast as I want it to be, but
I do believe we are moving forward as quickly as is reasonable for us.

Again, thank you so much for all your enduring support. We look forward to seeing some of your faces at farmers market! And, we do have a stack of thank you
cards, which we would like to send out to our Go Fund Me supporters. If you would like a personalized thank you card from us, please send us your address. Email us at: thepeachjamboree@gmail.com
See more pictures of our farm on our instagram @ThePeachJamboree
dog on canvas tent platform project
new cooler, pack bench, boxes and rack!
boysenberry & peach salad (6/7/18)
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Part 1 of 2 (due to character limit) update 6/8/18 from Drew:

So…
Where do I begin? It’s been exactly eleven months since the day the fire burned through our farm. Sure, I think about writing you all an update nearly daily, yet I
have not been able to carve out the time nor muster the extra emotional strength to sit down and share our recent stories. So yes, I do feel terribly guilty about not
having kept all you kind and generous people in the loop. If you still have the curiosity or interest about what life has been like since the fire, here is our tale of
recovery!

First off, and most importantly, we will be picking our first peaches of the season today! We still cannot believe how truly miraculous it is that most our fruit
trees survived the blaze and have shown great signs of recovery. As the orchard came into bloom this spring, we were so hopeful for an awesome season ahead as
we really need it. The blooms were plentiful and the weather calm. And then that terrible hard frost in late February knocked us down pretty hard. There wasn’t a
farmer in California that night who didn’t feel that setback. Many of our early blooming peach trees took a big hit and now we know it’s going to be a light year for the crop. It is disappointing it wont be an abundant year.

We think about founding farmer Carl Rosato daily as we work in the orchard. He started this farm from raw land back in the 1980’s and since we purchased the
farm from him in 2016, we are thankful every day for his vision with this land as it is a very special and dynamic place. Most of you have heard the heartbreaking news,
that over a month ago he suffered a terrible brain injury after falling from the roof while working on his shop in Eastern Oregon at his new farm up there. His wife
Helen is by his side at the hospital as she is doing everything she can to help him recover from this life threatening injury. He still has not regained consciousness and is still on assisted breathing. Though the outlook is not positive, we are all rooting for him to have a miraculous recovery. Both Carl and Helen are incredible people and defy the norms in so many ways, we hope for the best possible outcome for these wonderful people. They have both been an incredible support system for us since the fire and I very much miss our farming talks with Carl. Hang in there!

I wish we could chat with Carl about how the land has recovered since the fire. The green up was incredible. The scorched hillsides turned velvet bright green
after the rains and we had a beautiful wildflower show here. But, since the burn, there is imbalance in the surrounding ecosystem. The native oak and pine forest
which burned so black surrounds our orchard. The orchard is now some of the only vibrant and green life around in the area. This means that every bug, bird and beast is drawn to our farm. Boy does this make for a difficult farming challenge! Now one of our biggest challenges is how to regain balance on our land. The insect pest pressure has definitely increased as their entire surrounding habitat was destroyed and there has been more native wildlife moving on to our land to feast on our crops since their native food sources have been destroyed. We do like to share, but jeez, give us a break already. But all in all, the orchard is healthy considering the situation and we know this is our most important and valuable asset so we are doing our best to keep it thriving.

(cont'd in part 2)
Planting with our cat Miss Mary Bloomers
insulating before cooler installation
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Hey folks,
For several weeks now, I have begun to write an update for you all, but couldn’t quite finish for a number of reasons. Let’s just say that the work of the farm and orchard is ruling our lives right now. We are in an intense slice of the summer where there is so much happening at once, mainly the demands of the harvest season in addition to the fire recovery effort. Farm life is usually that way in the peak of the summer season, and every farm worker knows the relentless pain and exhaustion that August brings with it. But to be fair, we both feel that the peaches deserve a little bit of credit for keeping us out of the doldrums of post-fire depression. The ripening fruit is like a strict disciplinarian, ordering us to get up, get out and commit to the day. The structure and routine of the day provides familiarity. There are peaches to pick, pack, load up, drive to the farmers' markets, unload, display and sell and hopefully nothing left to load back up by the end of the day. We put our best foot forward at the farmers' markets and give it all that we’ve got. The grind of the market season is starting to take an emotional toll on us, tapping our energy in extreme ways that we haven’t ever felt before. But we are not waning on our commitment to being present there and will be there until the peach harvest wraps up. The pear harvest will be coming up in a couple short weeks from now and we are considering picking and storing them for a stretch of weeks to alleviate the farmers' market schedule and allow us to focus our energies on the cleanup of the fire debris, woodland and orchard care and hopefully rebuilding.

We have successfully pruned back many of the scorched and seared fruit trees that were damaged. The fruit trees are pushing new growth and though quite a few trees are gone for good, far more have survived. There is new life emerging in the singed timber bamboo grove and there are vivid green shoots spiking up out of black earth. The hills of charred oaks, Manzanita and foothill pines, still look like a black and white photo and are barren and sad. And to think that they finally got a good deep soak over the winter! We will likely be spending most of the fall with chainsaws in hand, stacking firewood for miles, as there are countless digger pines and oaks to fell. Without the understory, the land could suffer bad erosion, so there will be so much to evaluate and tend to.

We had a couple of epic weeks of awesome friends and family who came to visit and pitch in with the many tasks to get life back on track and build basic infrastructure. Some highlights of the week all involve our new outdoor version of hearth and home. The camp stoves have been humming along with freshly harvested good eats, there were major “jam sessions” with peach, nectarine and mulberries taking center stage. They dehydrated peach slices and one particularly gifted baker crafted wonderfully flaky and tasty baked goods. Of course we have had many miserable heat waves but the outdoor kitchen stays cool enough under the oaks and the canopies we rigged up. Folks have been good sports about camping in tents, using portable toilets and helping cook meals for everyone. It’s been incredibly helpful and without those smiling faces and their willing energy we would have thrown our hands up in despair.

The burned out remains of the buildings are still untouched and await the major effort to haul it all off. The garbage collection company has limited dumpsters available and we are on a waitlist for delivery of boxes for ash, concrete and scrap metals. Once we have confirmation of their arrival, we will be working with the local Mennonite community to physically do the clean up work with us. For no cost to the fire victims in the area, they offer their highly organized and efficient people power as well as heavy equipment to graciously assist folks who have been affected by natural disasters. It took Danny and myself several days to get over our awe and wonder over the possibility that there was such neighborly help available to get us through some of the most ugly, horrid parts of the clean up. That this altruistic service was even a reality is truly a breath of fresh air in a world that is desperately in need of more kindness and compassion for one another.

Thanks so much for keeping us in your thoughts as we slowly move through this process and we will keep in touch!
Lots of love,
Drew (and Danny)
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Greetings!

We wanted to update folks with some good news! The county finally came out and gave us the go-ahead to begin the cleanup of the debris from the burnt buildings. They first had to test for hazardous materials like asbestos or heavy metals, but the site was deemed clean so now we can begin to move ahead with the hauling process which will likely involve heavy equipment and many large dumpster bins. We are antsy to move forward with this since the view of the burnt out buildings is getting a bit dreary and we would love to have a clear site to gaze upon to perhaps begin our plans of re-building. We are already thinking ahead to when the first rains are likely to come and know that there is no time to waste.

The overwhelming support and kindness we have received from our customer base, friends, family and fellow farmers is so incredibly uplifting. If I were to write out the list and name all the incredible people who have somehow found essential goods and supplies and magically directed them our way, you would tire of reading. We know this recovery will be an enormous challenge, but you all are making it possible for us to lift ourselves out of this mess and move forward to rebuilding the farm. We have only missed one weekend of farmers' markets and that is quite a feat. Are you enjoying this season’s peaches? We think the harvest has tasted real sweet despite the hardships and we hope you think so too!

One thing that has been unexpectedly difficult is how emotionally hard it is to accept help. To let folks reach out in generous and giving ways comes with its own unfamiliarity for the two of us. Perhaps its because both Danny and I are really used to trying to do things on our own, or maybe we are just too proud, or maybe we simply don’t want folks to go to any extra trouble for us, or maybe we know that there are people who are in more dire need than us. All of these things have truth to them and these excuses come to mind constantly, and make me want to repeatedly say ‘don’t worry about it, we’ll figure it out somehow’. It’s like it goes against my very core, my hard wiring is to reject and deflect these gestures of kindness like we don’t deserve it somehow. But then I look at our surroundings and think about how truly devastating it all is, and how there simply is no way to do this alone. And each of you has found a way to sweetly and gently offer help. And so again, the recurring theme here is how essential community connectivity is and that this mutual support is key to our health and survival.

Because we were both raised to always send out thank-you notes to anyone who gave us something or did something special for us, we are in sheer misery right now that there simply is not enough spare time to write each one of you a personal little note to show how appreciated you are. So please excuse us from our negligence and shame that we have not had the time to acknowledge you. Please know that every single gesture of kindness has been noticed, we are in awe of how gracious and thoughtful you all have been. We thank you immensely and our gratitude to you is endless.
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$61,680 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 465 people in 17 months
Created July 10, 2017
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