DUTCHESS COUNTY, N.Y. -- Joe Gingrande, or "Joe the Grower," could not believe it when he saw that one of his greenhouses had collapsed from too much snow last Friday.
Gingrande, who has battled for several years to keep his small Poughquag growing business up and running says the collapse was kind of the end for him.
"I can't afford to do anything," he said. "I'm at the bottom of funds and life. I have no plants or anything."
Once the owner of a vibrant little set-up where he was well known by locals for his donuts and pies, brightly-colored flowers, tomatoes, and bundles of firewood. Then came the hard times with the names Hurricane Irene, super Storms Sandy and Irene, and 33 inches of snow from multiple blizzards that destroyed his greenhouses.
He replaced the greenhouse that collapsed with a USDA grant of $6,5000. Now he's facing the same problem all over again. But this time he also is battling with the local authorities to keep his farm in the agriculture district and has major money problems from borrowing to keep the farm up and running.
He has one greenhouse left but it doesn't offer the room needed to fill his stand with the once abundant vegetables and flowers that buyers are used to.
After last year's disaster, Gingrande set up a GoFundMe page but only raised a little under $2,000. He's hoping some of his customers, or those who love natural gardening and small business owners will pitch in again to help him replace his greenhouse.
"I can't believe I didn't get through the year with the new greenhouse," he said.
To help Joe the Grower, visit his GoFundMe page here.
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