Loop Growers farm in flood
The great revealing

These are reports from our friends at Food Connect up in Brisbane

Loop Growers were inundated three times, harvesting artichokes and dragging out flooded utes and machinery between flood surges – that’s their farm in the pic above.

Most of Mini Farm Project’s garden beds were flooded – they’re out of action for a few weeks.

Dave Keller whose farm is the first under Wivenhoe Dam is okay but he’s lost all his crops.

Caron and Carl at Tin Shed Farm lost around 60 hens, fences and other infrastructure.

Dairy farmer Glenn Bunter has been cut-off and sadly had to dump his milk.

Tammy and Dave at Black Crow (a big supplier to Melbourne) suffered wide-spread devastation to their potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, sweet potato, cabbages, and pumpkin.

Scenic Rim farmer, Fraser Macfarlane’s dam overflowed – he lost nearly 50 acres of organic soybeans, sweet corn and green beans and two-thirds of his annual income.

Despite roads being cut off and freight companies out of action, Antoine (Food Connect’s farmer liaison – that’s him in the pic below) was able to coordinate unaffected growers to drop their produce in Stanthorpe where it was brought into Brisbane on small trucks down back roads.

More produce was collected by a Food Connect driver from other drop-off points while other farmers were able to deliver to the Food Connect Shed.

Despite all the odds, and just as they did in the 2011 floods, Food Connect were able to deliver to their customers last week!

Like the fires and the pandemic before it the aftermath of the flood reveals all kinds of truths about our climate, our governments, our communities and each other.

Across South-East Queensland and Northern NSW more than twenty Woolworths stores closed.

A closed Woolies or Coles in a town where all other grocers have been slowly ground out of business exposes the precariousness of our food supply. 

In Victoria during the pandemic when supermarket shelves emptied and both Coles and Woolworths’ home delivery services melted down and closed for three months it was local green grocers, food delivery services, farmers markets, butchers and independent grocers who filled the gaps.

Academics describe what happened at Food Connect last week and in Victoria over six lockdowns was the result of agile short supply chains, but there’s more to it than that cold descriptor.

What actually gets food from growers to eaters are relationships borne out of years of sticking with each other through seasons, of knowing what coming through means, not just to each other’s businesses, but to our families and the people we work with.   

This is the flotilla that saved people from drowning in their houses in Lismore. This is neighbours checking on neighbours during the lockdowns. This is volunteers replacing kilometres of farm fences after the fires.

After all that we have been through it’s becoming clearer and clearer that the best insurance we can have begins with getting to know our neighbours.

Have a great week

Chris

Antoine and Kell

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