Community Supports Local Farmer

201

by Terry Rogers

 In April, Nash’s Veggies suffered a severe economic blow when extremely high winds destroyed a greenhouse on the farm. Video of the storm shows Josh Nash, the owner of the farm, cutting into plastic on what he calls his “Hoop House” in an effort to keep the entire structure from being destroyed and in an effort to protect the plants growing inside. However, the efforts were only partially successful.

“That was a rough one,” Nash said. “The storms that came through ahead of the cold front ended up being the worst one of the day. Dominant south winds which I haven’t had to deal with in any strength, which didn’t even have an easterly or westerly component, just a really hard south wind, I wasn’t prepared for it. But, I know the failure point and I know what to do next time I build a tunnel to try to ensure that this doesn’t happen again. Tomorrow, I have a couple friends coming over who reached out to me to help me take it down. I’m going to get started really early in the morning, come out and mow a spot, bring a couple loads of mulch back to give us a place to lay the parts where weeds are not going to be growing all summer long.”

After watching the video, Kim Cahill, who met Nash at the Milford Farmer’s Market, knew she had to step in and help.

“I am a natural-foods based eater and local food advocate,” Cahill said. “You could tell right away his passion for not only farming, but farming the right way, dedicated to quality and nutrition, a far cry from your mass farms. I have gotten to know him a little over the years, buying from him and he and his business partner are just good people. He finally made the leap this year to go full time with the farm and leave the stability of a traditional day job to back it up. I follow his farm updates on Facebook and he’s had some tough punches this year, but he is always the kind of guy that says “oh, that sucked, let me get better.” He is so inspiring that way.”

In an effort to help Nash with the damage caused by the storms. Cahill set up a GoFundMe in order to raise $6,000 that would allow him to rebuild his Hoop House. She felt that giving the community a way to rally around Nash would not only help him rebuild but also lift his spirits as he saw support for what he was doing.

“For the first time, I saw his spirit break after this,” Cahill said. “Yes, he says at the end of the video that he learned from it and he’d rebuild, but this time you just felt the sadness in your soul of someone just feeling like “give me a break, I’m trying my best.” I teared up. I thought, what can we do to just cheer him up? We can’t rally and show up because of the virus, so I hopped on and created my first GoFundME thinking I could raise a few hundred bucks and say “Hey, Farmer Josh, your customers are rooting for you, you aren’t alone.” Once I reached $2,500, I finally told Josh what I had done.”

After two days, Nash reached out to Cahill and asked her to shut down the fundraising site as the donations had exceeded what he needed. Overall, the GoFundMe raised $6,595.

“I just want to thank everyone for their generosity and support,” Nash said. “We’re energized and hopeful for the upcoming season and with this support behind us, we can conquer anything. Your contributions exceeded the replacement costs of our Hoop House and have opened the door for thoughtful expansion. Things like upgraded electric and hot water in the pack shed along with additional measures to improve produce safety. Also, we move forward with planting a windbreak along the gardens and structures. The greenhouse, Hoop House, high tunnel, whatever you want to call it, will be replaced in time for fall planting.”

Cahill is thankful to be a small part in supporting local farmers.

“We need local food sources now more than ever,” Cahill said. “What a beautiful reminder that, no matter how small you think your gesture may be, kindness has a way of having a ripple effect. During these daunting times, who can’t feel a little better knowing you have helped someone.”