In the aftermath of Winter Storm Uri, we are confronted with A LOT of important questions. Chief among them is how we can better protect and stabilize the basic needs infrastructures of water, electricity, and food. America’s food supply is generally so plentiful, many folks often forget that it’s not accessible for all – a distinction that’s made even more stark in times of crisis and natural disaster.
The community of local farmers plays an important role in our local food infrastructure. But, as you likely have heard, most of the farms in the Central Texas region experienced devastating infrastructure and/or crop losses, impacting their ability to get needed food to the community.
Like many other farms, Urban Roots experienced some significant losses. Our Hoop House completely collapsed under the weight of the ice. The Hoop House serves a lot of purposes on the farm, including storage for our harvest bins, a curing facility for onions and winter squashes, and a gathering place for youth on cold or wet days. We estimate that it will take between $15,000-$20,000 to rebuild this critical infrastructure, a cost we did not anticipate this year. If you’re able, you can help Urban Roots rebuild our Hoop House by making an early gift to our Amplify Austin campaign.
As far as crops go, we lost all our kale, collards, and rosemary. The lemongrass, onions, and garlic were hit hard, but we are still assessing that damage. The wind blew back the frost blanket in some areas, exposing our salad mix, but luckily a good portion of that stayed protected.
But, again, our community has stepped up. We had a great crew of volunteers and staff that came out on Monday to start cleaning up and restart the seeding process for our spring growing season. And our new cohort of Food and Leadership Fellows were on the farm this week so that we can share the little we can harvest now with our hunger relief partners.
And Urban Roots was far from the only farm affected. Uri devastated growers across the region. Fortunately, there are several ways you can help today! While we deeply appreciate any support you can give to Urban Roots, we ask you to also consider giving what you can to support the network of amazing small farms and ranches around the region who create the fabric of our wonderful food network. See below for how you can help. And thank you for being a part of this amazing community!
Here’s to starting fresh together,
Urban Roots Executive Director