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    Program ID - bo012506

    Road to Recovery: Gulf Coast Farms

    When Eric Morrow, an eighth generation strawberry grower, returned to his Ponchatoula, LA farm after Hurricane Katrina passed, he compared the damage to the impact of a nuclear bomb.

    A barn and cooling sheds were lost, tomato and eggplant crops were destroyed, electricity would be out for weeks and he had to cut a path back into his house through the blown down trees using a chainsaw.  Morrow still considers himself lucky.

    Louisiana’s farm economy suffered  an estimated $1.6 billion in damage.  So far, very little aid has been offered by federal agencies.

    Join host Jerry Kay, as we hear first hand from Louisiana small farmers about the damage they’ve suffered, their rebuilding efforts and a small relief fund that’s become a life preserver in a sea of government indifference.

    This Week's Guests:

    Copper Alvarez — Executive Director, Baton Rouge Economic and Agricultural Development Alliance (BREADA)

    BREADA is a non-profit organization that encourages the local production and sale of food as means of improving the local economy, creating new jobs, and fostering stewardship of the land and people of Baton Rouge and throughout Louisiana.  This effort includes the development of a system of farm markets, a community garden project organized through churches, schools, and civic leagues, a regional sustainable agricultural initiative and training and development programs for area farmers. In September 2005 BREADA created the Louisiana Small Farm Survival Fund to assist small family farmers who suffered storm damage with relief money for rebuilding.

    Warren Smith — Owner, Smith Creamery

    Smith has been a dairyman for 38 years.  Smith Creamery bottles all of their own milk from cows on the Smith Dairy Farm, a 250 acre pastureland farm named after the farm’s original founders. The farm and creamery are located in Washington Parish between Franklinton and Kentwood and are one of only two dairy producers/processors/retailers in Louisiana.

    Eric Morrow — Owner, Morrow Family Farm

    Morrow is an eighth generation strawberry grower in Ponchatoula, Louisiana.  In the 1920’s Louisiana was the nation’s leading strawberry producer supplying most of the Midwestern market.  Morrow grows strawberries on about 25 acres of his farm south of Baton Rouge. Only about three or four hundred acres in Louisiana are devoted to strawberries.  He also grows eggplants, tomatoes and before the Gulf Coast hurricanes, maintained 30 acres of timber on his family’s property.

    Dr. Owusu Bandele — Professor of horticulture, Southern University

    Dr. Bandele has teaching, research and extension responsibilities at Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Much of his work has involved identifying and evaluating alternative crops and cropping systems for limited resource farmers.  Dr. Bandele served as Crops Committee Chairman on the National Organic Standards Board, an advisory panel appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture to assist in establishing national  standards for organic crops and products in the U.S.  In 1997, he and his wife established the Food for Thought Organic Farm in Baton Rouge to encourage more small-scale farmers in the South to grow organically.

    More information:

  • 2005 Complete Guide to Hurricane Katrina Disaster – US Government
  • Hurricane Katrina: The Storm that Changed America – Time Magazine editors

  • The Christian Science Monitor - Tough Row to Hoe in Lousiana
  • Slow Food - Terra Madre to the Rescue

    Web Resources:
  • Louisana Small Farm Survival Fund
  • Smith Creamery
  • Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center

  • Resources for Journalists:

    Journalists who are interested in researching stories related to any Beyond Organic show topic are encouraged to contact Straus Communication for additional resources, including trend data, background materials, experts, statistics, images and more. The service is free.

    Please contact Michael Straus at 415-777-1170 x 302 or email for more information.



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