Post-Irene Update

Thank you to all our friends who have called or emailed over the past few days to check on us at Yestermorrow after Irene hit Vermont on Sunday. The Yestermorrow campus survived relatively unscathed (only some minor erosion around the stream and pond). We postponed classes for a day to allow students time to travel but resumed normal operations on Monday evening.

Unfortunately, much of the Mad River Valley was hit hard. Many of our friends and neighbors were flooded, including our partners right across the street, Small Step Farm and Kingsbury Market Garden. Both had complete losses of their crops and fields. Pretty much all farms in the heart of the Valley along Route 100 were devastated. (Photo: Small Step Farm 8/30/11. Courtesy Robin McDermott)

Our kitchen staff has been deeply affected as well. Lisa Barnes had 5' of water flood her brand new house in Moretown village, where floods took out the bridges on both the north and south side of Rte 100. Brandon Lanich is in Hancock where access has also been cut off since Sunday; although he was able to hike out enough to get cell phone signal and let us know he's OK. Heidi's church was completely flooded in both Moretown and Waterbury, and she's been working to help clean up there.

Many local businesses and homes in downtown Waitsfield, Warren and Moretown were destroyed or damaged. Volunteers are needed to help clean up and rebuild. If you'd like to help and want more information, one good resource is a Facebook page that has been set up to coordinate volunteer efforts: (Photo: Bridge Street in Waitsfield, 8/28/11. Courtesy Jeff Knight).

Road access to most of the Mad River Valley is now open, and volunteer crews will continue throughout the week and the holiday weekend. If you can come to help and need a place to stay, call us the office at 802-496-5545 and we can help you find a place. Bring tools, trucks, mud boots and lots of energy.

If you want to donate to flood relief funds, there are a couple of good local options:

• The MRV Community Fund has been reestablished to help Mad River Valley residents, businesses, and farmers recover. Donations are also accepted via Paypal.

• Text FOODNOW to 52000 to donate $10 to Vermont Foodbank. The Foodbank will turn each donation into $60 for families in need.

• You can also donate to the American Red Cross of Vermont and the New Hampshire Valley. The Red Cross set up shelters immediately after Irene hit for flooded-out families to stay in.

• The VT Irene Flood Relief Fund is raising money to help people and communities affected by flooding. 100% of all donations will be distributed to businesses and families.

The MRV is also open for business and major Labor Day weekend events including the Mad River Valley Craft Fair and the Green Mountain Stage Race are ON, so don't be a stranger- your business helps the whole Valley to recover and rebuild. This will require a major community effort, over the next weeks, months and years.