Help California Farmers Impacted by Flooding

Farms across San Benito, Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties have all been impacted by recent flooding. Like Oya Organic, many of the affected farms are Airmart merchants. We want to do everything we can to help them recover and protect their livelihoods.

That’s why we’re inviting affected farms to add themselves to our list by signing up here. Farms can include how the flooding has affected operations, fundraising links and other ways people can help out. We will share this across all of our social media channels and encourage everyone to help spread the word.

We’re also offering sales and fulfillment support, so farms can focus on recovery. Let’s stand together and support those who need it most. Sign up here.

Oya Organics’ Story

Marsha and Modesto never expected their Hollister, California family farm to flood. They have been farming the 100-year floodplain bordered by Los Viboras Creek for the last 10 years. Los Viboras is a seasonal creek that drains the Diablo Mountains east of the farm. According to a neighboring farmer, it has not flooded in over 50 years. Until now.

100-year floodplains like the one Oya Organic sits on have a 1% chance of flooding in any given year. But with climate change bringing unusual and more volatile weather patterns, that flood risk is increasing.

“We are putting ourselves and our livelihoods in a pathway of greater risk from natural disasters,” Marsha stressed.

The Oya Organics family

Flooding damage on California farms

California farmers take advantage of the normally mild climate to plant harvestable crops during the winter and early spring, in order to provide fresh local produce and keep their farmworkers employed year-round. Farms often try to plant just before the rains to take advantage of natural irrigation.

In Oya Organic’s case, they had just planted four acres for spring harvest when the flooding began a few days ago.

The soils in the mountains were already saturated from the previous rain storms and couldn’t absorb any more water, so the continuous rains quickly drained to Los Viboras creek.

The rising creek then jumped the bank and rushed into the fields, washing away the new plantings, irrigation pipes, and lines. The roots of the new crops were not yet developed and couldn’t hold onto the soil.

Broccolini, various lettuces, onions, leeks, bok choy, mustard, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, beets, peas, and radishes were all washed away by the gushing flood waters.

The creek also flooded Oya Organic’s packing and storage area, soaking or washing away supplies, storage crops, and seeds.

The rushing waters eroded the creek bank and washed away all the trees and plants in a newly completed stream bank riparian forest planting project, designed to grow and stabilize the creek bed and prevent erosion and flooding.

How you can help

You can support Oya Organics Flood Recovery GoFundMe and other California farms impacted by the flooding by donating to their GoFundMe fundraisers, purchasing CSA box subscriptions for future harvests, and sharing this story.