Flooding ruins crops and wipes out community gardens amid already tight market

Flooding ruins crops and wipes out community gardens amid already tight market

It could take years for local farmers to recover from this year’s flood.

Damage to crop fields is visible just about anywhere there was flooding. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin said the water washed out crops and damaged soil.

Even though most fields are insured about 75 percent, Agriculture and Applied Economics Professor Paul Mitchell said this took profits from many farmers who are already dealing with a tight market.

“This is not the core of the problem,” he said. “The core of the problem is oversupply. The flood is just making a bad situation worse for the people that are immediately affected.”

Mitchell said the flooding also affects small community gardens that provide local produce, and any garden that was flooded shouldn’t be eaten.

John Carey manages the community garden in Shorewood Hills, which was covered in 2 feet of water in August flooding. The produce in his plot and most of the 50 other plots there is a total loss.

“Stuff happens when you garden,” Carey said, “The weather doesn’t turn out right. You get diseases, things like that, insects and everything. But (I’ve) never been wiped out totally like this.”

Mitchell said there are contaminants that come with floodwater that may have gotten inside the meat of the vegetables that can’t be washed off. Those vegetables and fruits should not be consumed or sold.