That cute farm dog in the pic above is sitting in the bed of the Manning River up on NSW’s mid-North Coast.
On any other year according to its owners biodynamic farmer, Bruce and Belinda Robertson, their dog would be under water. This is the first time in Bruce’s life (and he says he’s old) that the Manning River has stopped flowing.
Kind of sums things up lately.
Anyway, last week instead of welcome back offers or free delivery specials we pledged to donate $5 from all Fair Food’s January home deliveries to the Organic Farmers Bushfires Appeal (so far you’ve helped raise $4235).
You may be wondering why we’re doing this – after all isn’t CERES a charity iself, don’t we have our own appeals, don’t we need every cent we can get our not-for-profit hands on?
Well yes, but….week after week, often in less than optimum weather, regularly during unsociable hours, pretty much always with no overtime or sick pay, our farmers put in a huge amount of work and love in order to bring us the delicious food we eat every day.
Things often go wrong (ask a cherry farmer) and the effort for financial return can sometimes be so marginal that I wonder how some farmers keep doing it. But they do, and the thing is without them we simply don’t eat…or have clothes to wear or wood to build from.
So now our farmers are in trouble, the least we can do is help get them through this disaster and back on their feet, and perhaps repay a little of the service and sustenance they’ve been providing us three times a day, every day, since forever.
Last week the Organic Farmers Bushfires Appeal had raised around $10,000 – we were hoping Fair Food could help double that number. Clearly people had other ideas, because last time I looked the total was up over $39,000!
Hats off to everyone who pitched in and a special mention to Dr Bronners Soaps who were asked to help with a shout-out but came on board with a $10,000 donation!
Organiser, Carolyn Suggate, said the target has been revised to $50,000 and the Appeal has now widened to include organic farmers in Gippsland and South Australia where farms have been heavily impacted by fires.
Carolyn also reported that another truckload of hay (that’s it in the pic below) was donated by Bernie and Chris Mannes from Bendigo (that’s them on the right) and was driven up by Need-4-Feed trucker, John, (that’s him on the left) to six organic dairy farms affected by fires in NSW.
You can donate directly here if you’d like.
Now, as I have been reminded in the past, not everybody has money or hay to donate and one of the wonderful things the Appeal is doing with farm charity, Blaze Aid, is registering volunteers to help with the clean-up, replant and rebuild once the fires are over (Carolyn says patience is required here as the fires are not finished by a long way).
Volunteering, Carolyn explains, will happen over three stages once it’s safe;
Stage 1.Triage – on farm clean-ups
Stage 2. Recovery – helping get farmers up and farming
Stage 3. Regeneration – planting out native seedlings
So far nearly 200 volunteers have registered (you can sign up here)
Now, you may say, I’m” not a farmer-type, surely I can’t be of any use”. Well, that may not be altogether true or even true at all.
For instance, the peeps from Murmur Marketing called up Carolyn and offered help spreading the Appeal word and Tash, a horticulture lecturer, at Melbourne Polytechnic, offered a spare greenhouse to grow native seedlings.
Perhaps you too have skills or networks or access to resources you could offer.
Anyway, I’ll leave that one with you.
Have a great week
Carolyn just texted me to mention the Appeal is holding a film fundraiser this Thursday 16th January at 6:45pm at the Nova Cinema in Melbourne for a special screening of Biggest Little Farm.
Everything raised will support organic & biodynamic farmers affected by the bushfires around Australia.