Houston News : Houston urban farmers devastated by winter storm


The state suffered from major power outages, which in turn led to a loss of heat, food, water and lack of access to resources. Unfortunately, crops and livestock were not spared.

Constant Ngouala lost 80 percent of his crop at his Plant It Forward site in Southwest Houston, per the Houston Chronicle’s Emma Balter. In Needville, Jennifer Plihal and Peg Turrentine of Three Sisters Farm lost nearly 100 percent of their crop and a number of plants that had to be moved from a greenhouse after the power died.

“With the extended forecast of below 20 degrees, we knew there was nothing we could do to save it,” said Plihal, as reported by Balter. “We didn’t even cover anything.”

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Plant It Forward president Liz Vallette said the damage they suffered is worse than when Hurricane Harvey hit in 2017, as reported by Balter. But it did help them prepare.

Thomas Garcia-Prats, operates Finca Tres Robles in Second Ward, an urban farm he says has “very little support or network,” according to Balter. He’s suffered from the loss of his entire crop before.

“USDA doesn’t have crop insurance for farms of our size,” he said. “According to the TDA and our appraisal district, I’m not even considered an agricultural operation.”

Stacey Roussel’s goats had six babies at All We Need in Needville during the winter storm. All of the goats remained in good health, but a 14-year-old sow named Mamma Pig died from the cold.

The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) is in charge of the State of Texas Agriculture Relief Fund (STAR) in times of disaster. They’ve currently raised $120,000 for farmers’ relief, but the fund is not designed for crop or animal loss, according to Balter.

in Houston

Source : chron.com