Like many of our neighbors, we woke up last Monday to a view completely different from the one we'd had 24 hours before. Irene brought eight feet of water to the Hurricane Flats fields. A row of hardy baby lettuces is still poking through the soil in one corner of the farm, and through the grey-brown beach of silt there are occasional shocks of red where tomatoes still cling to the vines. Nearly everything else is crushed or washed away, and what remains intact has been declared unsafe for consumption anyway.
But this pales in comparison to the loss that many of our friends and neighbors- maybe even you- have suffered. We're devastated by the havoc Irene wreaked on Hurricane Flats...but the barn and house stayed dry, and our families are safe. We're painfully aware that not everyone fared as well.
In the wake of this disaster, I think you'll agree that the way our community has banded together to help each other has been nothing short of inspiring. While caked in mud and sweat, we've made new friends and strengthened our bonds with those we loved already. If the brotherhood and sisterhood of a community can shape its recovery, I have no fear for the future of Royalton.
I want to keep this post short as there's still more work to do, but there are two things I want to call to your attention before I go. The first is Operation Revive Royalton (www.operationreviveroyalton.com), an organization that was founded by residents in the chaotic first days after the flood and that has coordinated the hundreds of volunteers, tens of thousands of donated dollars and countless gifts of food and supplies that have helped make the initial recovery possible. If you have any questions about Royalton's response to the flood and how you can help, or if you're looking for important information like drinking water advisories and how to get help from FEMA, this is where you should go.
Second, many of you have inquired about how you can help Hurricane Flats, and we're finally able to give you an answer. This Thursday, September 8th, we're having our first clean-up day and potluck lunch to begin the process of rebuilding the farm. We need about 100 volunteers to clear debris, dig out mulch, remove the broken irrigation system and, eventually, start planting a new cover crop. Volunteers can begin arriving at the farm at 9am, should wear work boots and clothes that can get dirty and bring gloves, bottled water, shovels, buckets and rakes if possible. Please also bring a lunch dish to share with your fellow volunteers.
If you wish to get involved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and include your name and how many people you're bringing.
From all of us at Hurricane Flats, thank you for all of your kind words and support over the last week. I can't tell you how much it means to us.
Geo, Sharon, Emma, Cora, Rory, Claire, Mark and the rest of the Hurricane Flats family