GrowNYC is pleased to announce that $100,862 in donated funds has been distributed to regional farmers who were hit hardest by last summers storms. When Tropical Storms Irene and Lee severely impacted 80% of Greenmarket producers last September, our community rallied together to help overcome the damage that was wrought. Greenmarket customers held benefit potlucks, concerts and after-work parties; a group of food writers organized the successful Dine Out Irene in which over one hundred restaurants donated a percentage of their sales from a Sunday in late September; instead of a wedding registry, a woman asked her friends and family to make donations to farmers, and close to $5,000 was raised by customers who opened their pocketbooks at Greenmarkets around the city to make donations directly to the GrowNYC Hurricane Relief Fund.
"The generosity that Greenmarket shoppers showed during this time of need is proof of the valuable relationships that develop between farmers and customers at market, says GrowNYC Executive Director Marcel Van Ooyen. While these storms had less of an impact on the city, New Yorkers felt the gravity of the situation through their rural neighbors and friends who sell at Greenmarket."
One hundred percent of all funds raised by GrowNYC for Hurricane Relief were given directly to farmers. The funds were distributed based on need in two waves of grantsone in December and one in March. Recipients report that these resources have helped them overcome last Septembers losses, and get a good start on the new season. In addition to repairing flood-damaged machinery and barns, farmers have used their grants to purchase seeds, laying hens, truck parts, pay fuel bills, and much more.
"I could have pulled any number of other bills from the stack of need last fall," said Richard Giles of Lucky Dog Farm, explaining how he spent his relief check from GrowNYC. The bills paid by the Hurricane Relief Fund covered "Vegetable twist ties, a power bill, a seed bill, one for truck tires, another for truck parts, and one for potting soil. I am so thankful to Greenmarket for coordinating this wonderful support." With this assistance, Lucky Dog was able to continue selling at the Fort Greene and Union Square Greenmarkets through the winter, and is now launching into the 2012 growing season. Greenmarket is our survival plan, said Giles.