Flood Update: July 12, 2023
This week has absolutely rocked Vermont from top to bottom. In Hardwick and across the state we are dealing with washed out roads, flooded buildings, and devastated fields. Today we’ve watched the waters recede enough in most places to start on the next phase of cleanup and restoration, but more rain and unknowns are in the forecast.
Our priorities this week have been to keep our communities safe, to restore our damaged food supply chain network, and to support Vermont’s farmers and food businesses as they assess their losses from this record breaking flood.
- In Hardwick: We are assessing the damage at Atkins Field and working to reopen this vital community space for use by the Hardwick Farmers’ Market. Community members who grow food here have experienced total losses for the year. Cleanup will begin this week. Work is already in motion to support people with more ways to access food through grocery vouchers and meals.
- Statewide: CAE’s Farm Connex delivery service is assessing road conditions on an ongoing basis, and working to identify where we can safely mobilize trucks and move product off farms. Due to washed out roads, our trucks are operating on an extremely limited basis. This service impacts nearly 100 farms and hundreds of additional businesses. We know that every day the service doesn’t run means $30-40,000 lost revenue for our food producers. Mobilizing the service safely is a top priority.
- Farms: We expect CAE’s revolving loan fund, The Vermont Farm Fund, to play a critical role in disaster recovery for farmers and food businesses. We don’t know yet what agricultural losses look like for the state, or how much could be covered by federal relief efforts. The Farm Fund’s Emergency Loan program is a quick way for farms to access cash when in crisis. Contributions to the Vermont Farm Fund can be made here.
If you are a farmer, you’re probably getting a lot of messages about available resources from organizations asking what is needed. If you don’t work with a service provider, or you are in crisis and need help - please reach out to email@example.com or at 802-472-5362.
The work CAE is doing now is the work we are engaged in year-round, every day. We are all in an acute moment of need where the importance of these services is especially clear - but we are here, today and every day, working for our communities.
In the weeks following this flood, we may have specific calls to action. Right now the most helpful thing is being able to respond to needs as they arise - whether that is providing meals to the community, restoring supply chain access, or funding emergency loans for farmers. If you are able, please make a gift to CAE today to support our community and farmers across Vermont in this moment of need.