It is well known that farmers help farmers. Every harvest season, stories come up from across the country about farmers helping farmers who have experienced a terrible loss or illness that makes it difficult or impossible to complete harvest. In disasters like drought, farmers have been part of haylifts, donating hay and transporting it to farmers who need it to feed their animals. Here at Farm Aid we are honored to know of this farmer-helping-farmer phenomenon very personally.
It happened again last week when the Cape Cod Organic Farm organized a fundraiser to help the farmers of Puerto Rico who were wiped out by Hurricane Maria. Before the event, they reached out to Farm Aid to arrange for their donation to be made to Farm Aid’s Family Farm Disaster Fund and directed to Puerto Rican farmers.
The “Farm to Farm” Benefit Feast, prepared by well-known Cape Cod chefs on November 5th in Welfleet, MA, was a huge success, raising $20,000 for Puerto Rican farmers! The event featured music, food (including the farm’s organic produce and pork!), drinks and a live auction. The $20,000 donation was made to Farm Aid’s Family Farm Disaster Fund, to be routed to farmers in Puerto Rico through our partner, Visit Rico.
Visit Rico’s mission is to strengthen Puerto Rico’s agricultural economy through sustainable agritourism to achieve food sovereignty. Following Hurricane Maria, Visit Rico has found that supplementing cash flow for farmers is the fastest way to help them get back on their feet to start planting seeds again. Visit Rico is making grants to temporarily replace the economic stability farmers had from their local farmer’s markets, which must be rebuilt.
Camille Collazo, executive director of Visit Rico, video conferenced into the event to speak directly with the attendees. She was joined by other Visit Rico staff and farmers. Camille said, “It was important for us to set up the live-stream so you could see where all your fundraising efforts were going. On our side, it was extremely exciting to be part of your event. Farmers were smiling and hugging; we felt the support and what we wanted, to give hope back to farmers, was deeply felt.”
Attendees at the event in Cape Cod loved the chance to meet the farmers they were supporting. They felt much closer to the farmers and had a much better sense of what their challenges are.
According to Tim Friary, proprietor of The Cape Cod Organic Farm, “Local, small farmers are the lifeline for sustainable food security during times of need and a cornerstone of a local economy. I know from my own personal experience that when a natural disaster hits, farmers lend hands to one another. It’s just the way it it’s done.”
We agree 100% and we’re grateful to The Cape Cod Organic Farm for their generous spirit and their trust in Farm Aid to deliver 100% of their hard-earned money to Puerto Rican farmers who need a hand. Farmers helping farmers is a long and important tradition, and we are honored to be a part of it.Learn more about our disaster response in Puerto Rico