It’s Not As Easy As You Think Helping Refugees Start Farming In Vermont. Guess Why?
In 2000, the UN declared June 20 as World Refugee Day, this year marked by observations in over 100 countries. It might surprise you to learn that over 6300 refugees settled the state of Vermont over the past 30 years.
Many of them grew crops before they fled to the United States, but you can imagine how hard it is for them to find land and resources to start farming again.
New Farms for New Americans (NFNA) is a community-based organization with a mission to support Vermont’s growing refugee and immigrant communities. Farmers in the NFNA program come from over 50 countries so cultural needs vary greatly.
Right now this AWB grantee is partnering with NFNA to figure out what seeds the new Americans want to grow, whether those seeds would thrive in the new environment, if they can get the seeds they want, and whether they have any way to learn accurate information about farming conditions in Vermont.
Researchers will interview farmers, assess the soil health of the farm plots, try out different varieties of maize and beans, and eventually help NFNA establish a community seed bank of culturally appropriate, farmer-preferred, and climatically adapted seeds for Vermont.
Oh, and they don’t all speak the same language, either!
To bridge language barriers, art and illustration will be used in the outreach and education materials.
This AWB grant will help with the purchase of materials for the art, the painting of a mural, and printing educational posters.