An atmospheric river caused widespread flooding and landslides in California at the beginning of 2023, creating an estimated $5–7 billion of damage. Especially hard hit were farms in many rural areas adjacent to rivers that overflowed their banks, flooding fields, homes, and businesses. President Joe Biden approved a major disaster declaration for California, which triggered the release of federal funds to assist people and businesses affected by the damage.
For useful general advice on documenting and recovering from disasters, refer to this document created by Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI), Farm Aid, and Farmers’ Legal Action Group.
Here are regional, state, and federal flood recovery resources and links to affected organic farmers’ GoFundMe pages. CCOF will provide information on food safety and organic certification status of flooded land separately.
Flood Recovery Resources
Kitchen Table Advisors has created a webpage, Crisis Support for Regional Ag Communities, that links to many resources, including GoFundMe pages for affected growers and information on private relief funds, including support offered by Mandela Partners.
The Community Alliance for Family Farmers (CAFF) is opening its Emergency Fund to farmers who experienced flood-related losses. Visit their website for more information.
CAFF will host a bilingual Emergency Relief “Office Hours” event from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, February 6 at the Aromas Grange Hall to help small farms apply for state and federal flood relief. CAFF will offer hands-on assistance for writing grants. The Aromas Grange is located at 400 Rose Avenue in Aromas, California. Call (323) 423-7075 for more information.
Other regional resources include
- For residents of Pescadero, La Honda, San Gregorio, or Loma Mar, visit the Puente website, call (650) 879-1691, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- San Benito County
- Santa Cruz and Monterey counties
The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has posted a webpage of flood resources. This page links to state resources, including winter storms recovery resources offered by the California Office of Emergency Services and information on tax relief programs. This information is also available in Spanish.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers help to individuals and families. For more information on FEMA resources in California, call 800-621-3362, or visit their website. There is a list of Disaster Assistance programs offered by USDA’s Farm Service Agency, including livestock assistance programs, farm loans, and resources for farmland damage and crop losses.
Another route to find federal resources is to visit the DisasterAssistance.gov website to find specific resources for your area by entering your zip code.
Availability of federal disaster support often requires applicants to provide documentation of their legal status in the United States. Further information on eligibility is available in Spanish and English.
How You Can Help
Many affected farmers have turned directly to their communities for support by setting up GoFundMe accounts to cover the costs of damage. Please consider supporting these CCOF-certified organic farmers who have experienced devastating losses.
- Maria Morales, J.M. Farmers Organic, Farm Destroyed During California Floods
- Javier Zamora, JSM Organics, Help Me Feed Them So They Can Feed Us
- Catalan Family Farm, Emergency Flood Aid
- Maria Narez, Help Us Rebuild My Farm
- Pie Ranch, Storm Damage Recovery