Category Archives: disasters

Farm Aid

David Cram and his partner, Anna Coloutti, run the Stone Village Farmers’ Market just north of Chester on Route 103 in southern Vermont. They lost 18 acres of produce when the Williams River flooded from the rains of Tropical Storm Irene last August. Cram is one of 177 farmers who have received aid through the Vermont Community Foundation’s Farm Disaster Relief Fund. VCF has so far awarded $1,576,300 of the more than $2.41 million in total contributions received or pledged to aid Vermont’s farmers in the wake of Irene and has just finished accepting a new round of grant applications.

An earlier post about VCF’s flood relief work is here.


Also posted in black & white, Hurricane Irene, People, Vermont, water, Weather

Picking Up the Pieces

When Tropical Storm Irene swept into Vermont in late August, Kara Fitzgerald and Ryan Wood Beauchamp prepared for the effects of high winds on their five-acre field of vegetables. They picked tomatoes and otherwise battened down their small produce farm tucked into a bend of the Mill River on Route 103 in Cuttingsville, VT. But they weren’t prepared for what the normally placid river had in store for them. Rampaging from Irene’s downpours and running higher than it does in spring runoff, it changed its course and ripped across their crops, destroying everything and leaving them with a rocky field and nothing to harvest.

Above, Kara and Ryan stand in the only piece of green left of their summer’s work. Below, they walk across the stony rubble that was their vegetable farm, past what remains of a new irrigation system.

Now they are looking for new land to farm. But they are heartened by aid that has come from sources such as the Vermont Community Foundation’s Farm Disaster Relief Fund,  Northeast Organic Farmers of Vermont and Pete’s Greens’ Vermont Farm Fund. They have also received an outpouring of support from their Vermont neighbors in the form of contributions and encouragement.  One of their customers cried when they returned to the Rutland Farmers’ Market with the remnants of their crop. A fellow farmer gave them use of an acre and a half to grow fall greens. By mid-October they were ready to offer their community-supported-agriculture customers a produce pick-up. It wasn’t big, but it was something.

Information on the Vermont Community Foundation’s flood-relief work, part of which I am documenting, is here. 

 Or click here for a few more photos and some information about recipients of VCF flood-relief grants.

Visit Evening Song Farm here.


Also posted in Hurricane Irene, People, Vermont, water, Weather

Flat Out

After nearly a week of working to clean up flood damage in Waterbury, VT, a workman took a short break Saturday afternoon. In the flooded areas of Vermont, everybody else probably felt about the same, but the work went on and will be continuing for weeks and months to rebuild homes and damaged infrastructure around the state. It was a Labor Day weekend full of labor.

Also posted in Hurricane Irene, Vermont, water, Weather Tagged , |

Got Mud?




Yes, Waterbury, VT, has mud, more than it can use, all of it deposited  by the flooding Winooski River courtesy of Hurricane Irene. But residents, their neighbors and volunteers came out Thursday to help get rid of it. Above, volunteer Leslie Ferrer of Waterbury shovels mud and water out of Dave Rogers’s basement on Main Street. Click here for a gallery (mouse-over the thumbnails at the bottom of the gallery page for captions). Below, starting from the top picture:

• Green Mountain Club employees, usually caretakers of Vermont’s Long Trail, were taking care of the clean-up at the Whalley mobile home park;

• Vermont Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Deb Markowitz removes files from her flooded office in the state office complex;

• photos to be saved at Terri Christie’s house, Main Street;

• at  the Alchemist brew pub on Main Street, Jerry Michie carries pieces of the bar out to a dumpster;

• a volunteer mans the mud bucket brigade.

Volunteers checked in with the volunteer center behind the Thatcher Brook school to get assignments, or they just walked off the street and asked what needed to be done. Basic equipment: mud boots, gloves, face masks and a willingness to work and get dirty doing it. Piles of soaked and ruined belongings rose outside houses and businesses up and down the low-lying main streets of the village. Prized or useful a few days ago, they were headed for the landfill. Dust from drying mud hung in the air. There were free lunches handed out by volunteers and the ever-popular Ben & Jerry’s truck dispensed ice cream to all comers. People were hurting, but they worked hard and they were heartened by the outpouring of help.

Vermont has been battered, but the spirit of the those in need and those willing to help is unbelievably strong. I helped shovel too.



Mud bucket brigade, Waterbury, VT

Also posted in Hurricane Irene, Vermont Tagged , , , , |

Irene Aftermath


The flooding from Hurricane Irene isolated towns across Vermont from the rest of the state. One of them was Rochester on the White River in Windsor County in central Vermont. Combined town, state and utility work crews worked Tuesday to reach Rochester and other towns. Above, crew members gaze into the huge gap cut by floodwaters in Camp Brook Road, which goes over Rochester Gap, connecting, in good weather, Bethel and Rochester. Below, three Rochester residents who had been out of town over the weekend began the 14-mile hike over the gap with detours into the woods to try to reach their homes. Next, Route 107 below Tozier’s foodstand in Bethel had been ripped apart. In the distance, the White River looks like a wilderness stream and Route 107 is gone without a trace. Bottom, Ian Gile removes flood debris and ruined belongings from the family house next to the Dog River in West Berlin, VT. I was out of town when Irene hit Vermont, but today I’ve been catching up. More flood images are here. (Caption information will show when you mouse-over the thumbnails in the gallery.)


Also posted in Hurricane Irene, Vermont Tagged , , , |