Resilient Communities Foster a Resilient Food System

The heart and soul of which are local farms and gardens. As a result of Harvey, farms at our farmers market experienced everything from loss in crops to minor property damage to flooded fields, homes and loss of livelihood. Given Urban Harvest’s role in helping over 40 local farms earn a living, we were in a unique position to support farms so that they could continue their important work of growing healthy food for all of us.

We provided direct relief by covering farmer’s fees and consulted with groups like TOFGA, Farm Aid, and Southern Smoke to get relief funds in the hands of farmers. We were also able to redirect proceeds originally ear-marked for Urban Harvest from the annual Butcher’s Ball event to five local farms through the Piggy Bank fund, which targeted relief for ranchers.

One of the farmers affected was Van Wheldon from Wood Duck Farms in Cleveland, Texas. Van started raising pastured pigs in 2007 with Brian Caswell, the Houston-based restauranteur. It started as a hobby that has since grown to include pig races at his annual fall festival, selling whole pigs to restaurants, and bacon and sous-vide ready pork chops at Urban Harvest’s Saturday Farmers Market.

Van’s losses were significant in Harvey. He lost feed, many pounds of product due to power outages, and seventeen newborn piglets that likely floated away and drowned as a result of flash flooding on the property. The money received from the Piggy Bank will help Van not only replenish his losses and buy feed, but plan for the future. He intends to buy an adjacent forested property that has acorns for the pigs to forage as well as high spots for them to seek refuge during future rain events.