Tools and Technology

Since 2007, 60 Burundians moved into the greater Seattle area, which includes families that were settled by Lutheran Relief Services in the Everett area and families settled by the International Refugee Committee in Tukwila.  These were the first Burundi refugees to settle in King County and share their stories of living in the refugee camps since 1972.

Another memory of their time in the refugee camps from Augustine:

IN REFUGEE CAMPS, I STARTED FARMING WITHOUT ANY HELP FROM ANYONE. USING MY IDEAS, INTELLIGENT, I DEVELOP MYSELF, WORKING HARD BECAUSE I HAD NO RELATIVES. TIME BY THE TIME, I FARMED A GROUP OF TEN WHO DO NOT HAVE RELATIVES, AND WE DID GOOD JOB… EVERYONE BOUGHT A BIKE, AND FEED HIS FAMILY, PAY SCHOOL FEES FOR OUR KIDS. STARTING IS HARD, BUT SLOWLY, YOU REACH WHERE YOU WANT TO GO. AFTER THIS GROUP OF TEN PEOPLE, OTHERS CAME AND A BIG GROUP OF FARMERS IS FORMED, UNTIL WE GOT A HELP FROM CANADA.  ALL ACTIVITIES WERE DONE BY HANDS AND THERE WAS NO GOOD TECHNOLOGY APPLICABLE WE USED. THAT IS WHY, HERE IN USA, SEE HOW THE TECHNOLOGY IS ADVANCED, AND HOW MODERN TOOLS ARE, WE HOPE TO SUCCESS.

Right now, with seeds in the ground, the farmers continue to explore the balance of using their African farm knowledge and American tools and soil.

Alternating Seedling Starts

The farmers have learned to use their tractor to prepare the soil and have purchased a mechanical seeder to do direct seeding.  This year is the first time for many of them to use a greenhouse to start plants for transplanting because they were not needed in Africa.  But within these greenhouses, they are integrating their own techniques, starting seeds right in the soil and alternating crops to get the most use of their space.  This farm is an incredible learning opportunity for everyone involved.

Transplanting and Documenting the steps; Francis Zera

Finally, we want to welcome Francis Zera into our community.  He is a Seattle-based professional photographer that will be working with the farmers this growing season, helping document the growth of the farm and provide photographs that we can use in our promotional material.  Thank you so much for your time and energy, Francis!

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