Transplanting Traditions Community Farm
- North Carolina
Transplanting Traditions Community Farm envisions a world in which all people have access to healthy, affordable food, land, education, satisfying work and a space to celebrate culture and build strong, resilient communities.
Our Mission is to provide refugee adults and youth access to land, healthy food, and agricultural education and economic opportunities. The farm provides a cultural community space for families to come together, build healthy communities and continue agricultural traditions in the Piedmont of NC.
* First and foremost, we uphold the needs and goals of the community we work with as the foundation of our programs.
* We advocate for refugees and immigrants to have the autonomy to decide how to re-create home. The farm provides a space for participants to maintain their culture of origin and to resist cultural assimilation in the ways they know best.
* We value equity in our food system by authentically working to include the farmers and consumers that represent our multi-cultural community.
* We uplift and support the adult and youth leadership that emerges within the refugee and immigrant community we work with.
* We strive to be intersectional in our work and recognize how cultural identity, ethnicity, class, gender and educational background must be considered in programming.
* We invest time in building accountable and trusting relationships with program participants in order to create meaningful grassroots change.
* We believe an abundance of resources can support multiple organizations and that shared efforts can lead to greater impact.
* We believe that stewardship of the land is inextricably linked to community health and must be upheld in our farming practices.
Transplanting Traditions Community Farm began on one acre of land in 2009 as a project of the Orange County Partnership for Young Children (OCPYC). Since then the farm has grown to eight acres with a diversity of programs that aim to create an alternate food system that encompasses sustainability and includes the voices and needs of all members of our community. These programs include agricultural micro-enterprise development, youth food justice and food access.
Transplanting Traditions works specifically with the community of refugees from Burma in Orange County with 33 families growing, selling and sharing almost 93,000 lbs of food each year (that’s the equivalent weight of seven T. Rex Dinosaurs!) into our local foodshed. Over the past seven years, the project has helped refugee families earn $340,335, which has impacted and transformed families’ lives.
For families at Transplanting Traditions Community Farm, farming is a way of life. It is a means of connecting to their past, present, and future in one place. Through farming, families can grow traditional foods that are hard to obtain in the U.S. and lower grocery costs in the process. Farmers build skills to help them continue their way of life into the future and provide much needed income for their families by selling vegetables. And they can also reconnect to their past and agricultural heritage despite relocation far from home. All of the farmers at TTCF were farmers in Burma, and an innate connection to the land is part of their heritage and history. Now, despite the distances traveled and cultures traversed, they seek to retain and build upon that heritage here in the U.S.
Transplanting Traditions offers agricultural economic opportunities and access to healthy food through land-based education that uplifts cultural traditions for refugee adults and youth. Our programs seek to create equity and sustainability in our food system by authentically working to include the farmers and consumers that represent our multi-cultural communities. An understanding of social justice is crucial to the work of Transplanting Traditions. The role of staff is to support and advocate for program participants to achieve their visions for themselves and their communities as they navigate unfamiliar dominant western cultural systems that are often disenfranchising.
We see the farm as providing a triangle of support at Transplanting Traditions in these three integrated areas:
- Supporting refugee farmers to fill their fridges and pantries with culturally meaningful food grown at Transplanting Traditions. Food access is an issue that most refugee families face upon arrival in the U.S. The farm’s partnership with local food pantries provides farm-grown food to the broader refugee community.
- Providing culturally meaningful economic opportunities for refugee farmers through direct to market farming including a 160 member CSA, farmers markets and restaurant sales.
- Cultivating the farm as an integral community hub that families use to celebrate culture, share information, support one another, and create a sense of home. Families talk about the farm as being a safe refuge that facilitates both physical and psychosocial well-being. The farm is also the heart of our youth food justice program.