On May 30th, the International Rescue Committee’s New Roots Farm in Charlottesville experienced a severe flashflood that destroyed most of the crops and caused extensive damage to their property. The farm was engulfed with 3 feet of moving water. It buried the farm in sand and silt and took a lot of topsoil and compost away.
The 20 refugee and immigrant families who grow food for their families and for sale at New Roots Farm have lost the spring and early summer season. Thankfully none of the families or animals at the farm were hurt. With the news of this devestating loss for our community, many have asked how they can help.
We’ve learned that the farmers and the gardeners wish to reclaim what they can of the season by replanting a lesser-impacted portion of the farm and relocating the market crops to a number of alternate locations around the city. We are inspired by the resilience of these families to press on and work so hard to keep this special project alive. Any funds raised through this campaign will help the New Roots team repair the damages to the farm, work with families to replant and rebuild their beds, and relocate the market crops that they can to a safer location for the season.
HERE IS WHAT THEY NEED TO REBUILD AND GET CAUGHT UP ON THEIR OBLIGATIONS FOR THE YEAR:
$20,000- FARM DAMAGE REPAIRS, REPLANTING and CLEAN UP
· Repair/replace damaged and ruined equipment such as solar energizers, fencing riding mower, truck, irrigation and pumps, bathroom;
· Replace lost or ruined materials and tools such as row cover, hoops, trellising and stakes, tools;
· Clean up and repairs farm beds and physical spaces
· Staff time for emergency response and rebuild efforts
· Support for families lost crops and food for home and market
$15,000 SET-UP AND INFRASTRUCTURE FOR NEW MARKET LOCATIONS
- Fencing materials and install for deer and groundhogs
- Irrigation supplies and water costs and new locations, rainwater catchment setup, plumbing and permits for water meter. (will reuse what is salvageable from the farm)
- Wash station repairs
– will be repaired/improved and moved from the farm
- Shade structure and signage, furniture
- Cover crop seed
- Perennial plantings for front and side entrance
$15,000 - ADDITIONAL STAFF TIME/COSTS TO MANAGE AND SUPPORT NEW LOCATIONS
- Because the team and farmers will be disbursed between multiple locations, additional staff time to support new locations and floating between more locations.
- Management and coordination of more volunteers for multiple locations – the team is grateful for the support from the community and needs additional hours to effectively coordinate the volunteer support that will be needed help the gardeners and farmers recover.
A message from the New Roots Team- Brooke, Elizabeth, Megan and Andy:
“Our hearts are hurting for all the work and money the families have put into their gardens, as well as the fact that such a special place that was brimming with life and beauty and joy last week was so damaged. But, we are so grateful that no one was hurt. No one was on site at the time, our goats were safe and it looks like our bees might recover.
We have met with all the gardeners and market farmers and have been working on a strategy for salvaging the rest of the season. Gardeners will be staying on site and market famers will have to move to 1-2 new sites and start over. The resilience, optimism and determination of the families we work at New Roots is our strength and motivation to press on.”
ABOUT NEW ROOTS IN CHARLOTTESVILLE
The IRC in Charlottesville launched the New Roots Program in 2011 to work with New Americans in support of their health, community connection and household economics through agriculture and food initiatives. As part of this program, New Roots operates an urban farm, 3 community gardens and a neighborhood farm stand in addition to providing garden based education, social support workshops and leadership development. The program has served hundreds of people since it began and currently supports more than 60 families to access growing space in our community.
New Roots opened its 8-acre urban farm in 2014. New Roots Farm is home to the Micro Producer Program which helps refugee and immigrant farmers build the skills to operate their agricultural micro-enterprises. They currently sell through the New Roots Farm Stand and to various restaurants in the area. 5 families currently work through this program. The farm also houses a large community garden for 15 families, 3 goats and 3 bee hives. New Roots staff and refugee leaders also hold refugee support groups, applied English tutoring, social events and workshops there as well.
ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEE
The IRC is a humanitarian organization that helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future. The programmatic office in Charlottesville, Virginia opened in 1998 and has since served more than 4,000 refugees and other immigrants on their path to self-sufficiency in the United States.