By Jeff Romig
Disasters are as much a constant as they are a variable for farmers.
The effects from hurricanes, tornadoes, and destructive lightening are all possible unwanted farm visitors.
Farmers know this uninvited guest is coming.
They just don’t know when or in what form.
“The Farmer Fund is based on not if there will be another disaster but when,” said Lauren Carey, co-founder of the Farmer Fund, which moved to Georgia Organics earlier this year. “I hope that with the reach and trust that Georgia Organics has with the community that we are prepared to support our farmers in times of crisis without question.”
The Farmer Fund was founded in 2015 to support farmers in the face of natural disaster and help keep farmers farming.
With farmer support at the heart of Georgia Organics’ work, there was no question, internally, that if the Farmer Fund was going to another organization, that it should end up here.
“At its core Georgia Organics is a farmer services agency,” said Michael Wall, Director of Farmer Services at Georgia Organics. “That means we exist to serve farmers in as many ways as we possibly can. The Farmer Fund is a good fit for us because it allows us to serve farms at a critical time of great need and intense financial and emotional stress. We have to be there for farmers, financially and emotionally, when they need us the most.”
Hurricane Michael was the first major disaster that took place following the Farmer Fund’s relocation. The team at Georgia Organics responded, raising almost $55,000 to date from multiple sources including Cascadian Farm Organic, General Mills, and Farm Burger. These funds will help support member farms impacted by Hurricane Michael.
“Farmers are so vulnerable to our variable climate, and many small, organic farmers don’t have access or qualify for robust insurance plans,” said Alice Rolls, President and CEO of Georgia Organics. “A natural disaster can push a farm to the brink of financial ruin. The Farmer Fund can provide immediate funds to get a damaged hoop house operational or materials to put a roof back overhead.”
The Farmer Fund is currently reviewing applications for relief from damaged farms. If you are a farmer member of Georgia Organics that sustained losses from Hurricane Michael, you can apply for relief at thefarmerfund.org/applications.
To donate to the Farmer Fund to support farms impacted by Hurricane Michael click here.