Helping hands aid green thumbs

Generations of farmers have earned a living from working the fertile bottomlands along King County's Snoqualmie River. Many of those riverside livelihoods were wiped out last November as widespread flooding inundated farmlands and ruined crops.

  • Thursday, October 2, 2008 9:28pm
  • Business

Generations of farmers have earned a living from working the fertile bottomlands along King County’s Snoqualmie River. Many of those riverside livelihoods were wiped out last November as widespread flooding inundated farmlands and ruined crops.

Among the hardest hit by the flooding were Hmong flower growers, who lost more than $1 million in plants, bulbs and machinery during November’s record flooding.

The King County Agriculture Commission and the Washington State University Extension is teaming with local nurseries to help Hmong farmers by scheduling a dahlia tuber drive this spring.

“Our hope is that home gardeners can donate a few of their extra dahlia tubers from their flower beds to help Hmong flower growers get back on their feet,” said Nancy Hutto, chair of the King County Agriculture Commission.

The nonprofit group Hmong Farmers Relief has also been assisting relief efforts. Several dozen volunteers gathered at a dahlia farm between Carnation and Duvall March 10-11 to clean and sort donated flower bulbs. Volunteer Heidi Bohun of Duvall estimated nearly 3,000 tubers and $35,000 had been raised by mid-March. Donations are still needed as the contributions are a small portion of the losses actually suffered by the farmers, she said.

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