October 15, 2010

Urban Farms Devastated by NYC Hail Storm

Kale damaged in Monday's hail storm
The freak hail storm that hit Brooklyn on Monday has destroyed thousands of dollars worth of produce at several of Brooklyn's urban farms. As the storm progressed, Brooklyn residents witnessed in disbelief as close to an inch of ice pellets piled up in a matter of minutes.  

Two farms in particular - BK Farmyards and Added Value, suffered devastating losses, with 90% or more of their harvest-season crops destroyed, and hundred of hours of hard work lost. These projects will need the support of the community to recover and move
forward. They are currently looking for volunteers to help clean up the farms, and for donations to help recoup the revenue they were counting on from produce sales over the next six weeks.

BK Farmyards is asking for donations to help recover from the loss of over $2,000 worth of produce. If you would like to donate, visit the BK Farmyards website and click on the 'donate' tab. Added Value in Red Hook is looking for volunteers to help clean up the damage. Check out their website for details.  Added Value is also hoping for donations, and would like everyone to come out to their Harvest Festival tomorrow (Saturday) to show their support.

Stacey Murphy and Bee Ayers of BK Farmyards lamented their loss: "We watched amazed and delighted by wondrous things Mother Nature can do. Then as we saw the hail grow bigger and louder, our faces turned to looks of worry. Our thoughts quickly moved to our crops, spread across Brooklyn, from Red Hook to Ditmas Park, Crown Heights and East New York. We shared our looks of fear for what we would find in the morning."

Ian Marvy of Added Value shared their pain: "Things look really bad. The collards look like Swiss cheese, the chard the same, the okra are riddled with holes, the salad seems to have turned to soup and the bush beans are all but gone."

Eggplant damaged in Mondays hail storm
Hail storms in New York City are often referred to as 'rare', but the fact of the matter is there was another fierce hailstorm that hit parts of Brooklyn about two weeks ago. That storm produced some hail up to an inch in diameter that damaged cars and broke windows. Whether these storms are a result of global warming or merely a natural shift in the planet's climate, it doesn't really matter. Either way, months of hard work and thousands of dollars of produce were lost in less than 30 minutes - such an awful thing to even hear about, let alone witness on your own farm with no power to stop it.

It seems that the development of a lo-tech weather protection system is not only relevant here, but perhaps even necessary - be it greenhouse or other. The system could also have the added benefit of allowing urban farms to grow all-year round, leading to happy urban consumers in the winter and of course higher profits for the farms. 

Fear not, we here at growingCities are on it!

Check out our next next article: Fast-Food Hydroponics?
Check out our previous article: Featured Restaurant: Roberta's

1 comment:

Ajlounyinjurylaw said...

It interesting to see what it was like last year and how things haven't really changed this new year. The weather is still damaging crops and urban agriculture.