During the month of September, Grass Roots Farmers’ Cooperative will donate 10 percent of its ecommerce sales to Heifer International’s relief work in Nepal.
Last month, Nepal was devastated by flooding that killed 141 people and destroyed more than 60,000 homes. As a result, the country is facing a severe food shortage as more than 80 percent of the agricultural belt of Nepal was submerged. This disaster occurred shortly after most farmers had planted their seasonal rice crop. Additionally, thousands of head of livestock have disappeared.
Grass Roots is a cooperative of small-scale farmers who produce pasture-raised, GMO-free, grass-fed and hormone-free meats. Early on, the co-op was influenced by Nepalese farmers working with Heifer.
“Though our farms are geographically thousands of miles from this disaster, the stories of the impact on the lives of the Nepalese people are deeply felt in the Grass Roots community,” said Cody Hopkins, Grass Roots co-owner and farmer at Falling Sky Farm. “As farmers, we understand the tragedy of losing resources and livelihoods. But this situation is even more personal because Grass Roots’ origins are rooted in a visit to the very same communities now suffering.”
In 2013, Hopkins traveled to Nepal with a group of farmers from the Arkansas Delta and Appalachia. Heifer organized the trip to share the work of building collaborative agricultural systems and to facilitate cross-cultural conversations. The group visited several villages around the country and connected with farmers working in cooperatives. Inspired by the success of this cooperation, Hopkins returned to Arkansas and began organizing small-scale farmers from around the state.
“Grass Roots was established, with the support of Heifer, in no small part because of the influence of Nepalese farmers,” Hopkins said. “And it’s in this same spirit of cooperation that we want to contribute to the relief work assisting these villages rebuild their homes and their livelihoods.”
In the days following the flooding, Heifer worked with local governments and cooperatives to distribute relief supplies to more than 11,000 families. The next steps will be to rebuild homes, infrastructure and to restore agricultural systems. Grass Roots’ donation will support the 21,000 farming families in southern Nepal that lost crops and livestock as they work to restore their livelihoods.
To support Grass Roots’ September fundraiser, shop in their online store.