Archive for June, 2010

Loss at the Farm

Hello Community,

Some of you are more up to date on the Refugee Farming Project than others.  Briefly, we are doing well and have some beautiful crops coming up, as well as a fantastic sign donated from friends of the farm.  Of course, we also have challenges we are working through, and this morning added another one to the table.

Somali-Bantu farmers, our new sign, and stolen rototiller and hoes

Sometime around 4am, our farm was robbed.  The robbers took much of our very important farm gear including:

Two rototillers, hoes, shovels, work boots, seed corn, a new water pump, half of our gate, as well as some other

random but important farm equipment.

The farmers are upset and saddened that someone would burglarize our farm, but it has given us momentum to continue our work in another direction.  As the space was made more open, and we were without tools, we spent today cleaning the farm stand from a long retirement, and it is well on its way to being a great farm stand once again.

This is both an update and a request.  If you are in possession of tools or equipment that you are not using, or know someone that is in that position, any and all help would be greatly appreciated.  You can contact Jennifer Thacker at for information on how to donate or for more information.

We will still have a great farm season!

Thank you for your help and care,

the Farmers


Oh the weeds…

Everyone on the farm is hoping solstice has brought the end of these cool, wet spring days.  Neighboring farmers say they haven’t seen a year this wet for thirty years and our farm has felt what that means.  Plant starts that would be strong any other year did not have the warmth or the energy to come out and grow, so some crops had to be planted twice.  This is the same situation for many farmers in the Puget Sound.

But the days are definitely warmer!  Last week was a great with several sunny, warm days that made the crops and the farmers, much, much happier.  Oh, but not only the crops and the farmers.  This better growing weather is also better for…. the weeds…

As any farmer on a new farm knows, the first year in a place is the hardest.  Learning what the soil needs, which resources need to be developed, and developing appropriate infrastructure are all challenges they must face.  But along with these, the farmer must deal with weeds that have been able to establish themselves when the fields were not worked.

Our farm land has not been farmed for several years now, and the crabgrass is loving it!  Even after a good tilling, and a really good preliminary weeding, the crabgrass is being stubborn.  The farmers are right now spending a lot of time trying to gain control over these weeds so the crops can use all of the sun and soil themselves.

Before and After

On June 24th, twenty Highline Community College economics students came to put their hand in to help.  They are partnering with the Burundi farmers to help market their crops on the college campus for a new market, and the students will be able to learn with a developing business.

Are you interested in volunteering also?  I am helping develop a volunteer list to keep people informed and involved with work party opportunities.  If you would like to be included, please send your email and phone number to me, Lydia Caudill, at    Thanks and Happy Solstice!

Photo Journal

Somali-Bantu farmers preparing the ground together

Augustine weeding the onions

Amin is preparing holes to plant the starts in

The Burundi beds are both ready to plant and planted!

©Francis Zera/