Hello out there! Hope you all see the end of winter on your horizons as we amp up for our farm year. Lots of changes have happened during the “hibernation” of winter and we’re really excited about them, naming this new project the United People’s Farm. Many of the farmers from last year decided to continue with this project so don’t be surprised to see familiar faces along with the new. Seattle Tilth has taken this project under their wing and their support and expertise promise to take this project to great new places. A little about them from their mission statement:
“Seattle Tilth inspires and educates people to garden organically, conserve natural resources and support local food systems in order to cultivate a healthy urban environment and community.”
With these new changes, a new blog is in order. Please follow us this year at http://unitedpeoplesfarm.wordpress.com/
Thanks for your interest and support, and have a great year!
The season is over! We have finished with our markets and are making our farm and farm stand winter-ready.
On Monday night, we had a party to celebrate the amazing work the farmers did this season. It was a chance for the farmers to eat their vegetables (some had still never had one of their own beets!), thank the people that worked so hard to help them, and enjoy each others’ company without dirt on our hands. The Burundi farmers, little did you know, are also amazing singers, and brought their music and choir to the event creating the perfect atmosphere for a celebration. It was a great night for everyone who participated.
As for this blog, unless something changes, this will be the last post. It has been my pleasure to keep you informed and share visuals so that you could follow the farm and farmers through its season.
What next, you say? Well, keep your ear to the ground, great things are planned for the year to come, many that are still in the making.
For more information please email Njambi Gishuru at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for following us, and don’t forget to cover-crop your piece of earth for the winter!
Adelina and the babies
Speaking of the year's highlights
That’s right! A mobile market in Seattle. Thanks to Michele Savelle and Wayne Journee, unincorporated Seattle has a mobile market bringing fresh produce to an area with limited food access. Fresh N’ Fruity, the name of the stand, partnered with the Refugee Farming Project as a way for our produce to go into the same neighborhoods that some of the farmers live in. As their project is in its first year, much like ours, it was an experience that we could both learn from. They learned how to price produce, market, and purchase appropriate quantity. We learned a different market, how to sell at whole sale prices, and prepare a different kind of order.
Michele and Wayne just finished their second weekend and have already heard the sweet words, “See you next week!” With our season coming to an end soon, we hope to have one more week working together, but regardless, we have created a relationship that can be carried into next year.
They were located at two different locations. One was at a large, multicultural housing development, and you can find them inside the Creston Point Apartment complex. The other is at a busy intersection, a vacant lot at the intersection of 76th and S Renton Ave, across the street from the 7-11.
As the market continues, we all hope to better understand the different cultures that live in the areas so that we can provide the most culturally relevant produce for them to enjoy.
It is, officially, fall. It has felt like fall for a few weeks now at the farm and the farmers are more and more discussing what their next year will look like. We are doing reflections of this year to best understand what next year will look like. To do this, we are looking at what went well this year, what didn’t go well, and what we want to change. Some of the things the farmers learned this year were hard won lessons. The hardest of all is that they learned farming in Seattle is very, very different than farming in Africa.
Like many farms in the area, the tomatoes have gotten blite this year, a foliar fungus, due to the rain and cold but also because they were not staked. The tomatoes were left on the ground which is the way they are grown in Africa. They have also learned the importance of using greenhouses in an area with such a short hot growing season.
The Somali-Bantu farmers are happy to say that they now better understand the importance of keeping a budget and how to do that. Their meetings have become more organized and they have a schedule for everyone to work the different markets. The importance of farmers’ market stall presentation has become more and more understood and they feel good about how they sell their produce. And, they have learned that Americans really like a story! It has been important to be able to share their story with their customers.
This is just a little of what we talked about yesterday. Our season has a few more weeks but this information will help the farmers as they begin to plan for next season.
It has been a good year!
Little did you know, but there is another group of farmers Burst is working with. Allow me to introduce the Somali Bantu Society of Washington. This group of elders, with a few younger Somali Bantu supporting them, have been farming in Kent this summer.
The Kent Community Garden, located at W James St and 64th Ave S., has been kind enough to give these farmers a larger piece of land to garden as a community. They come with years of experience and farmed their whole lives up until recently when they moved to the United States.
Burst is helping with the intention to fold them in our refugee farming program and offer more support in next year’s farm season. Until then, we are introducing the ideas of what it means to market in the United States and have purchased basic items needed to sell their produce to their neighbors. The farm is surrounded by apartments and condos, so we are providing them with good produce and learning how to market.
Please come visit us outside of the community garden, and get fresh vegetables at this new site!
Carrot with Personality!
Kent Community Garden Farm Stand
We are very pleased to announce another great connection that has come our way. These last weeks, the Hope Burundian Cooperative has been making connections with a local berry farmer in Auburn, at T & M Berries. Because of how his farm’s cycle is set up, this is not a good year for him to market his berries, so he made a connection with King County Ag and through King County to us. What does this mean? The farmers now have raspberries to harvest and sell to their markets! He is allowing us to pick what we can, and weigh it so that he is aware of what they are producing, and then sell at no cost to the farmers. It really is an incredible opportunity.
View from inside: Fresh picked Berries!
The farmers have never picked raspberries before. Asking some of them what they think, some of the farmers like raspberries, others do not. They say that in their home countries they saw berry bushes, but no one ate them. Another new food that Americans eat! Now, look for our berries or call to order some as well.
Celestine lost in the Raspberry bushes
Early morning picking