"Houston: We Feel Your Pain. Aug 29, 2011." Those were the words on the lighted sign outside the Rotterdam Junction, NY fire department yesterday as I drove from my family's farm in the Mohawk Valley back to my home in the Hudson Valley. From one valley to another. 6 years ago yesterday a friend of the family, a fellow farmer, the patriarch of a farm family in the Schoharie and Mohawk Valleys, lost his life driving through standing water to inspect his fields flooded by Hurricane Irene. 6 years ago tomorrow my brother came home with a look on his face I'll never forget. He spent the day pulling dead cows out of flooded barns. Irene wasn't even a hurricane by the time it got around to knocking on the Northeast's door. That wording didn't matter to the folks in upstate NY, in VT, NH... We were devastated. Six years later you can still see the scars, if you know where to look.
Yesterday we announced that Rootstock 2017 will take place on October 1st, right down by the river in Beacon. The money that we raise will go towards establishing an emergency relief fund for local farmers, to help them keep going in the immediate wake of natural disasters. However, farmers are one big community, joined by our commitment to the land, to growing and feeding our neighbors, and by the soil in our veins. The Northeast farming community knows firsthand the pain and suffering our sisters and brothers in Texas are going through, and our hearts are breaking with them. So in support and solidarity with our fellow farmers in Texas, we're donating at least 10% of this year's net proceeds from the Rootstock festival to flood relief and recovery efforts for Texas farmers.
Hang in there, Houston. We know how you feel- and we know how tough farmers (and Texans) are. We're with you, and sending you all our love and support.