I am not sure how to start so I’ll just jump into it. Our Farm is in serious trouble, we need help. The flooding in Boulder, Colorado destroyed our Fall Harvest and ended our season very early. The event left us deflated and overwhelmed with accepting the reality that our entire year of labor is lost overnight. We are in a low area of the county and had a raging river passing through our Farm, over most of our plants, about 16,000 square feet. If you know anything about us or farming by hand, you can imagine how devastated we feel. We do not like to ask for financial help, we would rather give help. But right now we are unable to handle the loss, the clean-up or the bills of the Farm. We are asking for community support to help keep this Farm running for years to come.
We estimate the following losses;
$11,000 in vegetable loss including an estimated $5,000 in Tomato loss, our biggest crop. Due to the nature of the flooding, the water is potentially contaminated with heavy metals, pathogens, animal waste, human waste and countless other harmful things. The food needs to be pulled, bagged and destroyed. We are not even supposed to compost it or feed it to the animals. We are strongly advised to remove it from the food cycle completely. We will not take any risk with public health, and anyway, it looks very clear that is our only option. There is a well-written story in the Boulder Weekly illuminating the situation, it can be seen here: http://www.boulderweekly.com/article-11660-washing-away-a-harvest-contamination-ruins-boulder-county-crops.html
$3,000 in our canceled Farm Events and Educational Classes. We will have to cancel our weekly classes and will not be able to offer any education until the land and the barn are properly and safely cleaned. We did 7 Farm-to-Table Dinners last year and this year the flood occurred just a couple days before our first dinner. We lost all our food and the space we would do it is still under water and/or extremely muddy. We were so looking forward to sharing the Farm with everyone in a food celebration. We have been working 7 days a week since January to build this Farm and it’s just flat out painful to not be able to appreciate it with the community- the people who made it happen
$3,000 in lost wage opportunities. Although the Farm makes revenue with the produce we grow, it only comes in at a few points during the year-(1) in the spring when we sell our CSA, (2) some slower Farm Stand sales during June, July and August, but the bulk of our annual income comes about this time of the year, (3) September, October and November is when we are able to sell most of our produce and do our events. We wholesale our tomatoes to another market and that will not happen this year. Because of the inconsistent sales from the Farm, we both have other part-time jobs to support ourselves. Due to the massive mess on the Farm, we have to focus on the clean-up. It will take weeks or a month to clean up properly. We would like to be back in business next year but in order for the Farm to be clean and safe for you at that time, we need to clean-up right. That means doing it now, doing it correctly and not stopping until the farm has been fixed. This will include; removing any and all plants that were inundated by flood waters and destroying them, gutting the barn of all contents, trenching the still-standing water out, sanitizing the walls and floors so that it can be used safely again for the tool shop, art studio, weekly Farm classes, and food and equipment storage. There will be a lot of tools, building materials, farm equipment and personal items that were destroyed and we must pay to dispose of them. All this will take time and money and must be done quickly.
$1,000 in Animal Pen and Greenhouse damages including loss of stored animal feed. The goats lost their home, it will be too muddy in their old house to return anytime soon, plus, it must be cleaned and made safe for them to live. We will need to build a new Goat house as soon as possible, they are shacked up on or back step but it is not a good situation for them or us. The chicken pen will require some repair and rebuilding. The greenhouse must be emptied and cleaned thoroughly if we are to use it over the winter season. This is a huge time-consuming and costly project. I can do it myself and with help, and can get used materials but even so, it feels out of reach at the moment.
$1,000 in Farm Equipment/Material loss. We lost power tools, fans and heaters and lights. We also have so many things still wet they need to be discarded- like row cover, fabric to insulate plants, plastic sheeting, winter clothes, shoes, boots, books, gloves, hats and more that will be discovered as we address each area.
Total: $19,000 in estimated damages.
We were denied assistance by FEMA. This work is a labor of love and we have already put everything we had (and more) into this Farm because we believe real food should be available to everyone. We are at a loss for options on how we can help ourselves right now. We don’t do this work because it is easy or because it is profitable. We do it to make the world a better place, to be able to provide healthy organic food for others and to be able to tell them exactly what is in it, and what is not.
We are trying to turn this place into a Demonstration Farm where we can provide a space where people can reconnect with what they put in their body. There is a generational knowledge gap about food in this country and we feel like a place like this can help bridge that gap by getting people excited and interested about food- which can be a scary topic these days.
It is our goal to raise $9,500, HALF of our estimated losses. We hope this is a reasonable ambition, a way for a lot of people to stand up and say, “NO, we will not watch another Farm go under” So we are asking for each of you to make a small contribution to support our Organic Farm and Education Programs. We ask that you share this with others. We can clean and rebuild. We can re-seed and revitalize. We can feed people with food and hope. We cannot do it alone, real food is a community effort.
Thank you for your support!
Dennis Kline and Melanie Goldbort
Sunbeam Farm & Education LLC
1005 Cherryvale Rd, Boulder, CO 80303
Email us at [email protected]