Your stories and pictures can help Midwestern farmers

By now, unless you live under a rock, you’re probably aware that Iowa is suffering from some of the worst floods in memory. I’ve been watching the news from Iowa City with my mouth hanging open, and have mostly relied on reports from the Iowa City Press-Citizen and the Cedar Rapids Gazette to keep me in the loop on the latest news about what’s under water.

Both newspapers are keeping unbelievable photo galleries, both from the ground and the air, up to date. And I’ve been hearing from friends who are sending their own photos around. For example, check out my friend Kelly’s round-up of photos from inside the Alliant Energy Corporate Communications department offices—I worked for almost a year and a half in the cubicle right next to Kelly’s, and can’t even imagine how long it’s going to take before she and the rest of my former co-workers can return to the office. The Alliant Energy tower, for those of you not familiar with Cedar Rapids, is right downtown, about a block from the Cedar River.

But the story that has not been told, that I have not seen reported, is the story about the small, local farmers that provide all the food I wasn’t able to grow in my own garden. These are the farmers that rely on the summer farmers’ markets to keep them going, the ones who aren’t involved in big, commercial agribusiness, the ones who don’t get a bunch of government subsidies or crop insurance to cover their flood-damaged produce.

They are not forgotten. There is a movement afoot to raise money for these folks, and for anyone in the Iowa farming community affected by the flooding. I’ll have more information on how you can help, from wherever you may be, as soon as there’s information to share. In the meantime, though, I’d like to put out a call for photos, videos and stories about farms and farmers in Iowa and Wisconsin affected by the flood.

I’ve volunteered to be one of the collection points for this material, which will be used only for purposes of fundraising and possibly in an upcoming issue of Edible Iowa River Valley. There is no compensation available in return, but your contribution of your material will help raise awareness on behalf of these struggling farmers and those who work for them. In addition, while the details are still being worked out, any material submitted will be forwarded on to the appropriate organization for archival and historical purposes.

Please email anything you have (or links to where the material is located online) to genie (at) theinadvertentgardener (dot) com. Please include in your email a statement that notes you give your permission for the material to be republished without financial compensation.

More information will come as soon as I have it. Thanks so much, in advance, for your help with this project. And please feel free to forward this to anyone you know in the Midwest. The more stories and pictures we have to illustrate the devastation as it has affected farms, the better we can tell the story and, in turn, help the folks who have nowhere else to turn.

12 Responses to “Your stories and pictures can help Midwestern farmers”

  1. 1 Jean Ann June 15, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    It is an absolute shame and I am sure small growers are in utter despair. It doesn’t take much to take out a whole season’s worth of produce when you have a small farm…my heart goes out to them all…I am saddened everytime I see the pictures on the news.

  2. 2 Sally June 16, 2008 at 5:41 am

    I just posted some photos from around here. I didn’t take them (Bettina, my BFF did) but she has given permission to use them if you wish.

    Boy – you got the hell outta Dodge just in time!! LOLOL I imagine pickings will be slim at Farmer’s Market this year. The big pictures just cover the horror of bridges washing away and families (and businesses) displaced, but this rain is affecting EVERYone. The fields are flooded and the farmers can’t replant until it dries up. IF it dries up! It’s a real mess, but we’ll get through it.

    Thanks for your thoughts. Stay safe out there in drought-stricken California.

  3. 3 Corina June 16, 2008 at 5:42 am

    Thank you, Genie, for this update and the links. I’m sure the devastation is incredibly hard for you to watch. I am sure I speak for all your friends and blog readers (is that right?) when I say I am so glad you and your stuff made it to CA unscathed. Please keep us posted on this AND you. :)

  4. 4 NC Heather June 16, 2008 at 7:23 am

    I’m so glad you’re not there anymore. But, I also know you and I know how hard it probably is for you to NOT be there to help your friends and neighbors.

  5. 5 Heather's Garden June 16, 2008 at 7:57 am

    Wow, I think of my office as being immune from these sorts of things. Seeing those photos almost hurts more than seeing some of the shots of homes with flood damage because it’s so unexpected. I would have thought cubicles to be indestructible.

  6. 6 Libby June 16, 2008 at 8:46 am

    Thanks for this. When the Farmer’s Markets were all closed this week, I started thinking about these small farms.

    There was a story on KCRG about the Kroul Farm Gardens in Mt. Vernon (I think it was this one). They are trying to replant their pumpkins but unsure if there will be a crop.

    I’ll keep my ears pealed. My pictures are all town based, but I will keep my eyes open and let you know if I see anything additional.

  7. 7 talinan June 16, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    It is so sad and I would love to do something to help them. Keep us posted please!

  8. 8 Moe June 17, 2008 at 4:16 am

    Wow. I didn’t even realize the farmers were going to be hurt so badly. Great post.

  9. 9 Kyle June 18, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    Thanks for keeping a finger on the pulse of our bread basket. You may have relocated but your heart is with us here in Eastern Iowa.
    And yes for the most part the pictures tell the story of what devastation has happened in the towns and cities along our rivers. Less footage of farms and fields of crops that have been eroded away.
    This event has altered so many people in so many ways their stories will continue to unfold for the rest of the year. Change. An end. A begining. For some it will be hard but we will prevail. I guess it goes back to our ancestors, and their pioneer spirt to overcome adversity. And above all a willingness to help your brother.

  10. 10 chigiy June 19, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    It is unbelievable and heartbreaking. It must be hard seeing all the photos and hearing the news. Good post, you are doing a great job getting the word out.

  11. 11 inadvertentgardener June 20, 2008 at 12:00 am

    Thanks, Chigiy. And I hope people will take steps to help as they can in the effort to rebuild the farms.

  1. 1 How you can help Midwestern farmers « The Inadvertent Gardener Trackback on June 19, 2008 at 11:27 pm

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