In late February, Sonoma County California experienced intense flooding causing several hundred millions of dollars in damage. Fortunately loss of life was very low relative to the fires that ravaged the same region the year before.

In this week's podcast, we talk with Adam Parks, whom we've interviewed previously about sourcing and preparing sustainably-raised meat (he operates a meat CSA in Sonoma County). Adam's business in Sebastopol, CA was hit hard by the flooding, and he graciously paused his recovery efforts to give us a play-by-play account of what happened during the disaster and how Sonoma County is recovering from the floods.

This is a little different from our usual fare, but is an instructive reminder that disasters strike without warning, and that when they do, most people and businesses are caught completely unawares.

Click the play button below to listen to my interview with Adam Parks (38m:14s).

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Adam Taggart: The Peak Prosperity podcast. I'm your host, Adam Taggart.

This week we've got a special version of the podcast. As many of our listeners know, I live out in Sonoma County in Northern California, which just experienced fairly terrible flooding a few weeks back and have had a lot of people, towns, and merchants displaced by that flood.

Very real-world reminder of the precariousness of Mother Nature, how quickly disaster can happen and take people by surprise and the toll that it takes on local communities and the importance in resilience in recovering from disasters like this.

I'm joined today by Adam Parks. Adam Parks is the owner and operator of Victorian Farmstead. It's a meat CSA, local to the area here. I've interviewed him on the program in the past about his business and about sustainably raised meats, the health benefits of it, where to source them, et cetera.

That's a great podcast. If you haven't listened to it yet, we'll have links accompanying this podcast, so you can listen to it.

But I've asked Adam to come there today because he was right in the thick of the action during the floods. The town that we live in, Sebastopol, California, a number of the national news coverage during the floods was shot in downtown Sebastopol. The downtown area, specifically the area called The Barlow, which is a relatively new development in town, was flooded. Pictures of people wading or canoeing through the streets.

And Adam operates the butcher shop in Community Market in downtown Sebastopol. That's a coop, a grocery store coop, completely flooded out during the rains. So Adam has been directly affected as a merchant, was definitely present watching the rescue efforts.

We're going to talk a little bit about what happened, where the plans that were in place broke down, the aftermath of the floods, the impact that that's had on people's lives here and what the community is doing to pull together.

I've had a lot of folks in the Peak Prosperity community who are reading the updates that I was posting during the floods themselves inquire about how the community is fairing now, so that's what we're going to get from Adam here.

So Adam, thanks so much for joining me.

Adam Parks: No problem. Thank for having me.

Adam Taggart: So let's start with the flooding itself. It's been a very wet winter here in Northern California. That's generally very welcome, given the droughts that we've had in the past.

It is the rainy season, so we are used to rains at this time of year, but there were enough rains in a short enough period of time – we had one of those atmospheric rivers come in where the Russian River jumped its banks.

Where we live out there is Laguna, wetlands, that feeds off of the rushing river. That overflowed, and that's what hit downtown Sebastopol. So people really only had a matter of hours to react to the fact that the Laguna was jumping its banks.

Just bring us back to how quickly did the word go out, and what was the situation like when everybody started scrambling, trying to deal with the rising waters?

Adam Parks: It's tough to say because those of us that are local to the area that have lived here for decades knew this was going to happen days in advance.

They call it an atmospheric river now. It used to be called the El Nino or the La Nina or whatever.

Adam Taggart: The Pineapple Express.

Adam Parks: Yeah, the Pineapple Express. It seems like they keep rebranding it for modern nomenclature.

I've been through the '86 floods, the '95 flood, the '97 flood, the 2005 flood when my grandparents and parents lived on our property. So, it floods.

And we know that the place that we built our business and community market, whatnot, is in a flood plain. It is designed to flood. It has very specific protocols for when the Laguna gets to a certain level, x happens, and when it rises to another level, x plus y happens, and so on.

So, I certainly was paying attention to the flood levels. I wasn't overly concerned about it because we were given assurances over and over and over again that the plan was in place, and the plan was ready to be put in action.

Adam Taggart: So obviously, the plan failed. What were the reasons why things didn't go as hoped for?

Adam Parks: Oh, man, that's a million-dollar question, right? And one of my great disappointments in this whole thing is how, at this point, I don’t know whether the flood plan that the building was built with, I don’t whether that would have actually worked. I assume it would have, and it would have been awesome to see if it actually held back the flood waters like it was supposed to, but we'll never know because it wasn't implemented.

The challenge is that when they tested the – our buildings are built with what's called flood bearings or flood logs. Each doorway in each building has specific set of logs. They have to be installed in a certain order, and they have to be installed completely because pressure's applied from the top down to seal everything. There's a series of gaskets and membranes and whatnot that interact.

So none of that was put into place. The few flood logs that got put up were haphazardly put up, and certainly helped in places, but they weren't installed as designed.

When this was all tested back in 2012, and there's a cute little video you can go and look up online that shows them implementing it – it was sunny December day, 50 people staged, ready to go, and they did it in 11.5 hours or something like that.

So, I guess what they didn’t take into account was the exponential need for people to be staged and how far in advance you would have to do that because people, when the roads are all flooded across the county, how are you going to get 50 people that know what they're doing to…

Adam Taggart: To one place at the same time.

Adam Parks: Yeah, to the danger area, the flood area.

Adam Taggart: Interesting. It's probably worth making folks realize that The Barlow, the area that we're talking about, it's a relatively new development in town. It used to be the blighted part of town from back in the old days when it was apple processing warehouses. Now, it's an upscale pedestrian, artisan series of blocks in town where there's farm to table restaurants and winery tasting rooms and fine meat counters at the local grocery.

As Adam was saying, when the new development launched, it launched with this flood response plan, which basically you're saying just didn’t get executed the way that it was supposed to.

Adam Parks: Yeah. It was vetted nine ways to Sunday, right. The city had to approve it. the county had to approve it. It was the big sticking point for building this development down in an area that classically flooded.

The mistakes that were made will all come out as we go through the recovery process. We're getting a lot of questions about what if, or what if this had happened, or what if this had been implemented properly? And I think most of the businesses down there focus more on what now. And what ifs will come down the road when we evaluate this.

I know that from our standpoint, there's a couple key things that I think should happen. I think that they flood barriers need to be – and as a business, I need to be more proactive. That's one thing, one of my big takeaways from this in terms of resiliency and preparing for the next time this will happen, because it will happen again, is I need to be more responsible for knowing my role in a disaster like this.

Where do my flood logs live? How do I get to them? Ours were stored for Community Market, the grocery store that I'm housed in, our flood logs, by the time they got to them, were under eight feet of water.

Adam Taggart: So they were stored in a place…

Adam Parks: Why are we storing flood logs in a place that floods? Why are they not in some rafter somewhere on the other side of town? Why are they not stored in a custom-built cabinet on our property where we can access them 12 hours before the flood waters even reach the street level?

There's a lot of those what-if questions going around right now. I'm concentrating more on making sure I'm paying attention to what could I have done differently to protect my business and my host business? We did everything we could.

Part of the problem – the other problem that we had was most of the damage was caused by water coming in from the inside. We had more damage from the flood waters backing up the drains and the vents in the floor. We've got probably 75 drains and vents throughout the store, and long before the water ever reached the doorways, water was bubbling up from the inside.

Adam Taggart: You guys had already backed up. Interesting.

Those what-ifs, and we'll get to them in a bit, but I'm sure there's going to be a lot of litigation trying to answer those questions, but let's put that aside for a minute.

Talk to me a bit about the actual turmoil during the flood itself in terms of both, I know you were down there – and this largely happened at night, right? The flood waters…

Adam Parks: Well, for Community Market it didn’t. Without getting too far spun out in geographics because your listeners don’t know the area, but basically, as it moved east to west, our buildings and parking lots were the western most and last place to flood.

So our flooding at Community Market didn’t take place until Wednesday, 10:30 – 11:00 was when it started to hit the sidewalks. The back parking lot…

Adam Taggart: 10:30 – 11:00 in the morning?

Adam Parks: In the morning on Wednesday, where Morris Street, which is the easternmost edge of The Barlow, flooded overnight Tuesday night. I think the waters started hitting Morris Street at 2 AM, if I hear it correctly.

So for us, it was happening in slow motion right in front of us. We're also alongside a state highway, Highway 12, and that had already backed up. And so we could watch the flood waters approaching straight down the highway.

And people were already canoeing and all that kind of stuff. No clue as to what was in the water. I was in waders and couldn’t believe watching people paddle board and canoe through this stuff.

Adam Taggart: So you're in this big grocery store coop. You realize at some point, okay, look, it looks like the grocery store is going to get flooded. You have to go into action, start trying to save your inventory, your machinery, and I assume the larger grocery store is having to do the same thing, right?

Adam Parks: Yeah. It was a total team effort. We had a bunch of grocery store employees there as well as a couple of my guys, including my nephew. And it was all hands-on deck that could get there. You still had problems with getting employees there and all that.

Adam Taggart: And you're doing what, just throwing everything you can into a car and try and get it to dry ground? What's…

Adam Parks: Like I said, it's really slow moving. It's not like an approaching fire where we went through in October where it's five miles away, and you're wondering if you have 15 or 20 minutes to get out of the way. The flood comes much, much slower than that. So we were in constant debate as to what to move and how fast to move it.

Probably, for my business in particular, it was a huge benefit that the power went out at about 10:00, because once the power goes out the refrigeration's down, now I'm concerned about my stuff. Now I've got to move it regardless of whether we flood or not because there's no power.

At that point, the parking lot was still accessible. It was only about a foot deep at that point. And I got a taller truck, so we got the truck in, and took the first load out, took the second load out. In between the first and second load of meat that got out of there it probably was a foot deep the first time, and then it was up a foot into my door the second time. So it had risen about two feet within an hour, an hour and a half in the parking lot.

And then the last load, I started to pull into the parking lot and just didn’t feel like the truck was going to make it, that it was going to stall out. So I moved the truck to higher ground, and we walked it out on carts from there.

Adam Taggart: Got it. I walked down there the day after when a lot of the merchants were accessing the damage, in many cases, for the first time. But before we get there, is there anything else about the actual day of the flood itself in terms of what was going on around the rest of The Barlow? What was the --- was it just chaos with…

Adam Parks: No, it was funny. It was [laughs] if anything, it was – this is going to be a weird way to say it, but it was very surreally serene. Can I say that?

If you look out over the Laguna from the grocery store down Highway 12 west to east, it was really beautiful. And somebody posted on Facebook a picture of the 1800s where that was actually a lake, and people boated on it with parasols and big flat broad brimmed hats. And you could see that happening.

In this case, it was kayakers and people taking pictures with their cell phones while I was wading in knee deep water trying to save my product, so it was super frustrating. But I could see the beauty in the moment at the same time, so it was really, really annoying.

[Laughter] I don’t know that it was chaos. It was frustrating to have so many people gawking while we were trying to save the business.

Adam Taggart: Was the community, at that point, down lending a hand?

Adam Parks: There was. I mean, it was every story you hope to see on the 10:00 news of strangers coming up to say what can I do to help? People coming and moving sandbags.

We ended up, once we knew that we couldn’t get to our flood logs, I took my truck and trailer an hour and fifteen minutes round trip out of the way to go to a local landscape place and get sandbags. And the guy there was an old friend of ours, and he got his big truck to haul another 200 bags for us. So we were able to sandbag Community Market pretty readily. And people pitched in and helped.

That's one of the things that you hope for as a business and as a member of the community, both as a business member and a long-time resident of the community, is that when your turns in the breach, you’ve earned that help, that respect, that people are going to pitch in and help you out, and that's what people did down there. It was great.

Adam Taggart: I definitely saw a lot of that kind of in the day after, all the businesses that had been destroyed. We're talking about dozens of businesses here. Everybody pitching in to help with just carrying out merchandise that had been destroyed by the flood.

Once the water gets into these places, it's really not a cleaning operation. It's a deconstruction operation. You got to just rip stuff out and throw it away because of the mold risk and what not.

So just watching all the different business people helping each other. But people like myself, who are from the community who just showed up to say hey, look, I care about you guys, what can I do? Definitely a really inspirational moment like that.

But I'm curious, since you were one of the folks directly affected, to folks that are listening and just something like this happens in their town, was there any particular thing that you saw where you were like that is a great thing to do as a citizen responder during an emergency like this?

Adam Parks: I think the thing that stuck with me the most, and this was a weird disaster for me – that sounds kind of weird to say, but my mom has been with the Red Cross and has gone all across the world helping in disaster situations from Katrina to Andrew to all kind of things.

And the thing that I think is the biggest struggle is so many people want to help, and at some point, there's just not that much to do. And particularly, with a flood like this where you're dealing with what they call grade three water, which is essentially the same water that comes out of your toilet, it's the same classification, it's not everybody grab a mop and let's mop it up.

First of all, anytime a building floods, if you look around even your house, you probably have four-inch baseboards around your perimeter walls. Once water gets above that four inches, assuming those are sealed off, it hits the drywall. The drywall acts like a wick in an oil lamp, and that water just shoots straight up your wall.

So it doesn’t matter if you flood six inches or four feet as far as the drywall is concerned. It's still going to go as high as it's going to go. We had it in the grocery store up to 18 feet in some spaces, moisture content in the wall. So all that's got to come out. It's all hazardous waste.

So there's not much that I could do other than get my stuff out, bet my equipment out that hadn't been affected by the water, sterilize my stuff, and move it someplace that I could make use of it.

From a community standpoint, I think the biggest thing you can do as a community member in a disaster situation like that is to look to your local first responders, especially in a small community like ours. I make it a point anyway to know who our police chief is, who our fire chief is, who our local cops are, who our fire. I know all those guys because I've been around for a while, but I make it a point to meet them anyway so that when something like this happens I can either be helpful or get help. I think that's a really important step. Know your neighbors.

There's people in The Barlow that I just met because of this. Other business owners that I've never taken the time to meet because I didn’t have a reason to. And shame on me. That's something that I will definitely remedy in the future.

Adam Taggart: In terms of community response teams, were there organizations there, police, fire, whatever, that were calling the shots and helping to coordinate volunteers? Or was it a little more chaotic than that?

Adam Parks: Like I said, I don’t know that I'd say it was chaotic. I don’t remember, other than in my mind…

Adam Taggart: Or maybe unmanaged?

Adam Parks: Yeah. I really wasn’t because, again, it's such an easy area to quarantine, right. Don’t go in the water. And you still had all these people that were paddle boarding and kayaks and there was no rules or regulations for that at first.

The fire department did an outstanding job, but they were dealing with fast water rescues. Part of the issue was that this flood came up through our low-income housing development in town, which is down in the Laguna, and there were people that refused to leave there. So they were all night, Tuesday night, Wednesday night, rescuing people that wouldn't leave. You’ve got those situations.

In terms of managing the chaos, it was kind of stand around and wait. You can't do anything. Once the water reaches a certain level you just kind of get out and wait for it to recede. And that's just torture.

I mean, going through the fires back in 2017, it happened, and it lasted a day or two or whatever, but when an area burnt out it was done, right. And then you let it cool off and you can go in. With the floods, you just got to wait for it to recede and it doesn't make any sense. the next day is all sunny, and you can't get in. What the hell?

Adam Taggart: And then it rains again.

Adam Parks: Exactly.

Adam Taggart: Let's bring it towards a close by talking about the aftermath community response. I know that you’ve been a) for yourself trying to figure out, okay, how does my business continue on, since we've lost our physical point of presence. I know that there's been a ton of community meetings with all the impacted businesses, and I know you just came from one of those meetings right before this interview.

So I'd love to hear what is the community doing to rebuild? What are the individual businesses doing to try to carry on? And how is the community coming together in constructive ways to support?

A know there was a benefit. I know there's been several benefits, actually. But there was one this past Friday that tried to rally the town to come by, and most of the proceeds went to businesses like yours and a number of others.

So what's going on right now, and what lessons could maybe people listening take to say okay, when there's disaster in my neighborhood, maybe we could do something like what they're doing here in Sonoma County?

Adam Parks: I think the response is everything you'd hope it would be. Government officials are being very proactive. Our local county supervisors have been very proactive.

The problem is what does proactive mean and selfishly, what does it do for me as a business owner? That's something that – I actually reached out to our county farm bureau office, and I called the executive director there, and I said, hey, you asked me how you could be helpful, here's how.

One way is to compile all the various services that are available to a business affected. There is so much information out there. Some of it is correct, some of it is not. But the problem is, I don’t have time right now to assimilate it. I don’t have time to collect it, figure out what makes sense, what doesn’t make sense, what's right for my business.

Doing that for a business, whether you're a county official or whether you're a concerned citizen or whatever, helping with that kind of minutia is invaluable. Because right now, all I'm doing for the past two weeks is trying to figure out how to get my product to my customers because that's the only revenue I've got right now.

Adam Taggart: And you're having to communicate to your customers about this audible, the change that you're making to your business. You're trying to figure out how to distribute from places that are not your normal place of operations.

First there's the shock, right. Then you're in survival mode. You don’t have a lot of opportunity to lean back and survey calmly what you full option set is. You want someone to come to you and say, hey, here's a checklist of things you could benefit from, which of these do you want?

Adam Parks: I think that's invaluable. The other thing is, I think – how do you say this right? Patiently reaching out to the businesses that you support in your community. I write a newsletter for our business, and that's my primary means of communicating with my customers.

And so, as I found time, in the first couple of days, to write some kind of an update to let people know what was going on, the response was overwhelming.

We did put up a Go Fund Me page, very hesitantly. Both my wife and I hated putting it up there but were highly encouraged to do it. I get why it's there. And we are so grateful to the people who have supported it because it keeps my guys paid.

The reality of it is I much prefer the gift certificates that we have on our website where people can buy a gift certificate today for future purchase. That feels better to us. We even offer a ten percent bonus…

Adam Taggart: Because it's not just a pure donation, you're tying it to delivering a service?

Adam Parks: Yeah. In fact, you're getting a benefit, a ten percent bonus, for doing it, with the exception of the guy that bought the gift certificate and then used it the same day.

The idea of buying it today and then using it in a couple of months when a business is back on its feet is super helpful. And stretching that out so that you're not hammering that business.

One of the things we concern ourselves with is okay, we've sold, whatever, $10,000, $15,000 worth of these gift certificates. Let's just hope they don’t all come in in June because we didn’t have the time to set up and stagger them or say please don’t use this until then or whatever.

But our customers are awesome, and I have every confidence that they will be judicious in using them and nobody's going to look to beat us up. They were overly generous.

People have adapted to the audible, as you called it. We're kind of back to where we started. We're having people come to the farm to pick up meat, and we've been given space at the other branch of Community Market in a neighboring town.

And so it's very adaptive. It's probably a good idea to know, to have a plan for what happens if your store – I did not have a plan for what happens if the store shut down, never occurred to me. That's something that we will definitely be addressing now that we know what happens.

Adam Taggart: You’ve been friends with me, and you didn’t have a backup plan for a disaster. [Laughs]

Adam Parks: Shame on me. In fact, it didn’t even occur to me that I didn’t have a plan until I just said those words.

It's crazy, but we really didn’t. And luckily, like I said, we're pretty adaptive, and we do farmers markets, and we've been able to use those to move our product. And we've had competitors offer us space to store meats. We've had competitors offer us counters to cut in a licensed facility so that we were sticking to what we were supposed to be doing.

You don’t get that unless you have good relationships that you’ve built over the time. So we're fortunate.

Adam Taggart: And a good, supportive community. Wow, that's great.

I want to thank you for you time, and be sensitive that you’ve got places to be to continue interacting your business here.

First of all, I want to ask, we've been talking a lot about Sebastopol and The Barlow and that's the action that we had front row view too. Obviously, there are lots of other towns here in Sonoma County that were affected, towns like Granville where particularly the entire town was under water.

Sebastopol, on a relative basis, very fortunate compared to a lot of these other places. So there's a lot of folks that got hit a lot worse than we did. But I wanted you here because you had front row access to the action that a lot of us have seen on the news.

What are they predicting right now in terms of when most of the affected merchants are going to be able to be back up and running? Are we talking weeks? Are we talking months? Is it completely TBD at this point time?

Adam Parks: It's 99% TBD. We don’t even have power yet. It's been two weeks today. And so the power to Community Market – I'm fortunate in that we are – Community Market is the biggest anchor tenant that's a public entity in this development. so we are getting all the support of the owner of the property because he needs a win, he needs us open, he needs his rent checks, and he needs to show that there's some vibrancy down there. So we're getting a lot of attention of which we're very grateful for.

But until we have power, I can't access equipment damage or refrigeration damage or any of those things. So that's the first step. And I'm told that that'll be handled sometime between now and Friday. Once we have power back on, then we can access the rest of the damage.

I've heard anything from we'll be open next week to some time in June. So really, it's so far out of my control right now that my job is just to maintain what we're doing and build on what we're doing, and keep everything at an even keel until we know what to expect as far as the shop opening back up.

Adam Taggart: And you are fortunate in the sense that a, you're part of Community Market and they're at the top of the list here. B, you have legacy operations that you can fall back on like selling out of your farm like you used to years ago.

How many other of the merchants in downtown are not so fortunate? In other words, I guess the main question is how many may not make it?

Adam Parks: You know, that's my fear. And I'll say it's half altruistic and half selfish. So it's a very expensive development, and the people that vend there, that sell there and rent there and whatnot, I think a lot of the smaller businesses, particularly the restaurants, put everything they had into this dream of being – you know that old adage about buy the lousiest house in the best neighborhood. And I think that's what a lot of them did. And so they sunk every single dime into this one thing. Now what do you do? You've lost everything.

There's a little clothing store there, Tamarind, I think it's called, and their entire inventory was in the store, didn't get out in time, flooded five feet deep throughout their store, lost $150,000 of inventory. That's all their inventory. I mean, that's everything that their business was built around was in that little 500 square foot, 700 square foot shop. So what now.

Adam Taggart: And sorry to interrupt you, but I think there's informing folks too that yes, this was on a known flood plain, but from all the merchants I've talked to, I don’t know if I've talked to one merchant yet that had flood insurance.

Adam Parks: Not a single one. And here's why, to give you the numbers real quick. If Community Market had purchased flood insurance it would have cost roughly $300,000 a year. We've been there six years, so that's $1.8 million. The damage to the store is probably, we're guessing in the $1.1 to $1.2 deal.

Yes, it would be wonderful to have flood insurance and to have an insurance company to call and say come fix everything right now so we can open back up. But we still lose money doing that. The store is still down $700,000 over six years, and then going forward with increased premiums.

So everybody knew the risk going into it. Everybody knew we were in a flood plain. Everybody knew that we weren't going to be able to afford flood insurance. Everybody relied on the plan approved by the property management, property owner, and approved by the city.

So does that help today? No. It might down the road when this gets litigated or whatever. But for right now it doesn't really matter.

Back to the question about who survives. There's a number of stores and places there that have already committed to rebuilding. There's a few of us that have alternate sales arms of our business. For me it's farmers markets and wholesale. Village Bakery has another location in Santa Rosa and are desperately looking for another production facility. Community Market has a separate location in Santa Rosa, and that location's up 45% since the flood. So our customers are going to find us elsewhere.

Adam Taggart: And is that largely because the community is rallying and finding your products?

Adam Parks: Kind of a really funny story. This involves somebody that we both know, a guy that works for me, Hogie, who also happens to run the smoothie bar at Whole Foods. And he said, I was talking to him today, and he said since the floods, Whole Foods, which is a block away from our grocery store, has been an absolutele madhouse with people coming in to shop.

He said the problem is they're all bitter angry about having to shop at Whole Foods because Community Market is shut down and the Nectary is shut down where they get their smoothies. So they're all there, and they're all pissed off, and they don’t want anything to do with being there. They just don’t have any other choice. So I thought that was kind of funny.

Adam Taggart: It's funny you mention that because I was talking to Hogie when somebody – when Community Market person came up and had their rant about having to shop at an Amazon owned store.

Adam Parks: That's funny.

Adam Taggart: It's heartbreaking in many ways that there are a lot of merchants there, particularly the smaller ones, that may not make it. I'm just reinforcing this point because I don’t think there's anything unique about Sebastopol. Small businesses, a lot of them have to kind of fly on a shoestring, hoping that they're going to make it someday. And that just makes them a lot more vulnerable to setbacks like this.

And like you, I think most small businesses also don’t have a real predefined disaster plan, right. Their plan is, I'll just deal with it when it comes up.

So in closing, I want to let folks listening who are coming to the Peak Prosperity seminar next month in April, it's the last weekend in April, I've been in close contact with a lot of these merchants. A lot of them are merchants that we are interacting with during our weekend seminar where we're having our kickoff party, where we're having our farm to table dinner, where we're having some distillery and winery tours, where we're having our big party the last night.

And it's about 50/50. About half of them survived the floods. They were high enough elevation where it didn’t impact them, and then about half of them just got clobbered. Crooked Goat made a lot of newspapers because you’ve got the pictures of the guys in the kayak basically mid-level with the flood waters inside Crooked Goat.

From what I've talked to, almost all of these vendors, every vendor I've talked to has said yes, we will be in operation in some way, shape or form. So, whether we interact with them at their location in The Barlow, if it's back up and running or whether we interact with them at an off-premise place, I just want to make it really clear that we are continuing to support those people.

And those of you that are coming out here, we initially did the first Peak Prosperity seminar out in this area last year to help local economy recover from the big fires that you all heard about in Sonoma County. Very sad to say, a year later we're pretty much doing the same thing because of the flooding.

But your support, your dollars, your presence here is every bit as appreciated, is going to be every bit as appreciated as it was last year in the wake of the fires. So, in advance, thanks to everybody.

All right, Adam…

Adam Parks: We're already planning for locusts for next year, so you guys will come back, have your seminar here next year, too.


Adam Taggart: That's probably a pretty good business to get into right now is this locust protection nets for a lot of the vineyards out here.

Adam, thank you very much. Again, really appreciate you taking the time to come in and do this.

I'm sure we're going to get people asking, after listening to this, hey, we'd love to know how I can help Adam and Victoria and Farmstead. As I mentioned earlier, we did a podcast about a year and a half ago or so where we went really deep into the whole sustainable meats part, which I think is absolutely a very worthwhile eating style to support and food model to support.

So, for folks listening who eat meat, want to eat healthy meats, and want to help support this local economy rebuild, what would your advice to them be?

Adam Parks: In fact, I think we talked about this when we did the podcast a while back that we were just starting to explore shipping meats in the Western United States, and we actually launched that about a month before the flood happened.

So, we are happy to have the support. So appreciate the opportunity to talk to your audience today.

The two ways that you can stay informed about what's going on with our business and, for that matter, what's going on with the flood recovery and whatnot, on our website, which is Then if you scroll all the way to the bottom of the homepage, there's a little place there where you can type in your email address and that gets you our newsletter.

That'll get you the updates on our flood recovery and what's going on with our business. And I hope I do a decent job of talking about how The Barlow in general is doing because I've had a lot of questions from my following in that regard.

In terms of supporting our business, getting meats out to you, that's our lifeblood right now. So any support is super appreciated. We do have the ability to ship overnight for about $25. We offer free shipping if it's more than $150 order. You could order directly through our website. There's a full-blown web store.

We beg your patience as our offerings are not as complete right now as we would normally be because we're limited in space and so on. So sometimes it takes a little longer to get an order out depending on what we need to acquire for it. But we are busy every single day packing orders and getting them shipped out.

For those of you in the Bay area, we do farmers markets. They're all listed on the website. From San Jose to Moraga, East Bay, et cetera.

And if nothing else, if you can't find the information you want, my phone number is 707-332-4605. That's my cell and our only business number. Feel free to give me a call, and I'm happy to help any way I can.

Adam Taggart: Hey, we really appreciate it. I don’t want to put you on the spot here, but if people have questions about just the larger recovery efforts, ways to help in generally in the community, whatnot, as well, mind of they reach out to your for directions here. Because I know you're pretty plugged in to the community that's dealing with all this.

Adam Parks: No. I am happy to talk about it. It's actually – I mean, just doing this podcast, like I said, it never occurred to me to have a disaster plan for something like this. I happily will talk about with anybody that wants to because every time I talk about it, it's somewhat cathartic just to get some of the crap out of my head and onto the table, so to speak.

But any discussion brings up new ideas, new ways of dealing with things. You had asked me earlier about what people can do to be resilient and prepared, whatnot. And I think it always starts with a dialogue, right? You can't do anything until you start talking about it and flushing out ideas and bouncing them off other people with like interests. So that's probably the start of it.

Adam Taggart: All right. Well, wise words.

So Adam, we're going to be seeing you at the seminar as well? You're going to come back as normal and give samples of your foods to everybody during one of our breaks, which is always a highlight.

In the interim, folks listening, if you want to help, again, Adam can direct you to different ways to help within Sonoma County. And if you want to help his business particularly rebuild, sounds like just buy some of their product. And if you live in California or several Western states, you can actually get the product shipped directly to you?

Adam Parks: Yeah. Anywhere on the West Coast. I believe it's California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Arizona all falls under that $25 thing. And if not, I'll work it out with you.

Adam Taggart: Great. All right, Adam. Well, look, best of luck, and we look forward to seeing you at the seminar in late April. And hopefully, by then you'll be back up and running in your Community Market center.

Adam Parks: I hope so, too. Thanks for the opportunity.

Adam Taggart: Thanks for coming.

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  • Sat, Mar 23, 2019 - 8:31pm



    Status: Member

    Joined: Mar 08 2019

    Posts: 20


    Elephant in the room

    I'm about to listen to this. Thanks for putting it up. I do hope that Adam Parks mentions the link to climate. For every 1°C the global temperature rises, another 7% more water (moisture) is absorbed into the air (atmosphere). So basically, as the world warms, it becomes more humid. And more humidity means more floods, more huge precipitations, and even more snowfall (anyone noticed the gigantic snowstorms recently?)
    Welcome to the new planet: "Eaarth" (not Earth), as Bill McKibbon calls it.

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  • Tue, Mar 26, 2019 - 11:29am



    Status: Silver Member

    Joined: Apr 30 2009

    Posts: 681


    and yet...

    The drought in the Southwest has improved significantly.

    Does anyone remember how bad this map looked early last year?

    Professor Valentina Zharkova, of "Grand Solar Minimum" fame, points out that people have blinders on... only see their pet concern.  
    My personal issue with the climate change emphasis, is that it is so pervasive that it draws attention away from "minor" things like the "anthropogenic sixth mass extinction" and the worsening global fresh water problem and many other issues.


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  • Wed, Mar 27, 2019 - 6:10am



    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Feb 06 2013

    Posts: 630


    How to secure sewage lines...

    So, there was a section of this podcast that reminded me of one big hole we have in our preparation here at Chateau Snydeman. We live on a hill and our basement is very dry. However, we have had two sewage line back ups that luckily were caught in time, but I imagine that if power was cut and the area pumps no longer working, having water back up into our basement is a real concern. We have two openings in the basement I'm worried about: the spot where the utility sink is, and the spot where the washing machine line drains. 
    Any good ideas on how we could/should plug these up when/if TEOTWAKI happens?

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  • Wed, Mar 27, 2019 - 11:07am



    Status: Silver Member

    Joined: Mar 19 2011

    Posts: 272


    Perhaps Something Like This ?

    I don't have any personal experience with these or the installation but it may be something to look into.

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  • Wed, Mar 27, 2019 - 11:41am



    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Dec 10 2013

    Posts: 371


    Which crops will be effected?

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  • Wed, Mar 27, 2019 - 11:46am



    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Dec 10 2013

    Posts: 371


    Bomb Storms Chaos in Nothern Hemisphere

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