Coalition providing aid to sustainable and family farmers

If you regularly buy food directly from farmers, you have probably noticed that this year’s severe weather disrupted the growing season in Iowa. To make matters worse, many sustainable farmers (such as fruit and vegetable growers) do not qualify for federal crop insurance. Yet a huge amount of time and money is involved in replanting or replacing lost crops.

I enclose an e-mail describing an assistance effort geared toward family, sustainable and market farmers in Iowa. These grants may seem very small to you, but even $500 can make a difference to a cash-strapped small farmer.

The links did not come through when I copied and pasted, but you click here to donate to the project. If you are a farmer in need of assistance, click the same link to find application guidelines and forms.

The Iowa Farm Disaster Relief Coalition — fourteen Iowa farm, faith and rural organizations including the Center for Rural Affairs is collecting donations and making emergency funds available for Iowa’s family, sustainable and market farmers who suffered losses due to storms, rain and flooding in Iowa earlier this year.

Applications and guidelines are available on the coalition’s website. Donations may be made to the fund on the website as well.

Farmers may apply for up to $500 in relief to help offset household expenses, which in turn will free up finances for replanting, clean up, repair, etc., on the farm. It is our hope that assisting as many qualifying farmers as possible with grants up to $500 to cover expenses will help ease some of the pain of the tough times created by these disasters.

Again, please find applications instructions and grant guidelines on the coalition’s website.

Applications will be reviewed as quickly as possible by a committee of representatives of the state’s membership based sustainable agriculture groups. The deadline for the first round of applications is Sept. 30, 2008. Additional rounds of grants will be made available as funding allows.

For more information, contact John Crabtree at 402-687-2103 extension 1010, or by email at

Whether or not you can apply or contribute, please help us get the word out by letting others who may be interested know about the project.

Farm Aid is supporting the disaster-relief efforts of the coalition, which includes Buy Fresh Buy Local Iowa, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, Iowa Farmers Union, Iowa Network for Community Agriculture, Iowa Organic Association, National Catholic Rural Life Conference, Practical Farmers of Iowa, Women Food and Agriculture Network, Edible Iowa River Valley, Iowa Valley Resource Conservation and Development, National Farmers Organization, Churches’ Center for the Land and People, Atlantic farmer and advocate Denise O’Brien and the Center for Rural Affairs in Lyons, Nebraska which is serving as the project’s fiscal sponsor.

Thanks to all the participating organizations and to Denise O’Brien, one of the best advocates for sustainable agriculture that Iowa has ever known.

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