Looking for ways to help Puerto Rico in the aftermath of the hurricanes? Consider this appeal from our friends Don and Marnie McLean, farmers we are working with through our Hudson Valley Farm Affordability Program to protect their farm, Thompson Finch Farm:
Dear Farmers and Friends of Farms,
We are making an appeal to all of you who know us through Thompson-Finch Farm or support another farm by being a loyal customer or CSA member to help us help some other farmers in need. The small organic and sustainable “eco-farmers” of Puerto Rico are the torch carriers for a young and vibrant movement there trying to re-create a local and organic fresh food supply for their island. In the last few years, the first CSA farm in Puerto Rico was founded, numerous Farmers’ Markets were started in small cities around the island, farm to table restaurants opened and many new small farms were established bringing a new generation of young farmers to agriculture. Then Hurricane Maria came and blew it all away.
You may have seen images of farm fields littered with downed trees, fields and crops washed away, the leaves and fruit cleaned off every tree, plantations flattened, buildings destroyed, equipment wrecked and livestock killed. For many, homes were lost as well. These farmers face enormous hurdles to get back into production and the challenges can be disheartening and depressing. Yet we hear of one after another already beginning the work of rebuilding and replanting, even without water or electricity.
As farmers ourselves with ties to the island, we were inspired to start a charitable group to raise money and help these good farmers in hard times. So we gathered a few friends to help, spent a couple of months getting non-profit fiscal sponsorship and launched “Amigos de Puerto Rican Eco-Farmers”. Our own little farm in Puerto Rico sustained very little damage so we personally will not be applying for or receiving aid from APREF.
We are gathering information on the needs these farmers face and how we may best serve them and we are working hard to bring the experience and knowledge of friends both here in the states and there in PR to make sure we are effective in our efforts. Please consider contributing to this good work. You can find out more, see pictures of the farms and farmers, and access a link to donate by visiting our Facebook page or our website.
Our internet presence is new and fairly rudimentary now but we will build on it as new information comes in. We will be going to Puerto Rico soon in January to get hands-on contact and start helping these farmers.
Thank you for giving this your consideration.
Working toward a better world,
Don and Marnie Maclean
Thompson-Finch Farm, Ancram NY
Amigos de Puerto Rican Eco-Farmers