Transplanting Traditions Community Farm is a non-profit educational farm that seeks to address the challenges of food insecurity, healthy food access and economic well being inequity in the refugee and immigrant community. Transplanting Traditions believes that increasing the self-reliance of communities in providing for their own food needs is key to creating a more environmentally sustainable and socially responsible food system. Currently 31 refugee families farm at the 5 acre site and 100% of these refugee farmers were farmers in their native Burma The farm showcases a mixture of native N.C. crops and over 40 crops native to Burma. At Transplanting Traditions, gourds, turmeric, bitter melons, ginger, taro root, medicinal herbs and lemongrass mingle with heirloom tomatoes, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, arugula, beets and radishes and many more N.C. and Burma vegetables and herbs.
The Mission of Transplanting Traditions Community Farm is to provide refugee adults and youth access to land, healthy food and agricultural education and micro-enterprise opportunities. The farm provides a cultural community space for families to come together, build healthy communities and continue agricultural traditions in the Piedmont of N.C.
Transplanting Traditions provides the following to refugee farmers and their children:
- Access to land
- Vegetable marketing outlets and training through Farmers’ Markets, CSA and Restaurant sales
- Year round agricultural and business education
- A cultural community space for refugees from Burma to come together, strengthen community and preserve agricultural and cultural traditions while simultaneously transitioning to new lives in N.C.
- Teen programming that focuses on job building, communication and leadership development
- Young children’s pr0gramming that focuses on outdoor education, nutrition and physical activity
Transplanting Traditions Community Farm supports the refugee community by providing educational opportunities and space to grow and market healthy, affordable and culturally appropriate foods. We strive to create innovative marketing activities that mutually benefit new American refugee farmers and low-income consumers.
In 2010, in order to increase its ability to serve the growing refugee population, and better meet the needs of families and children in Orange County, the Orange County Partnership for Young Children received a grant from the Office of Refugee Resettlement to expand its’ Growing Healthy Kids community gardens project to include the Transplanting Traditions Community Farm specifically to train refugees in sustainable agriculture.
The Partnership expanded this project with the refugee population because of the desire expressed from our current refugee families. One woman explained her family’s involvement in the farm as a continuation of past tradition. She said, “We want to be farmers because our lives all depended on farming in Thailand and Burma before we moved to America.” Another woman expressed her passion for farming when she said; “I want to become a successful farmer one day. I want to own more land and farming machinery. I will not only grow vegetables but also rice, and raise chickens, cows, turkey and other farm animals. But right now I have nothing to start.”
With the goal to engage the entire refugee family, we provide youth programs based in food justice and leadership development, encouraging youth to make positive changes in their own communities.
Refugee and immigrant youth growing up in the U.S. face unique challenges but have the potential to develop into leaders and ambassadors for their communities. Our programs strive to teach refugee and immigrant youth culturally appropriate leadership development skills and the importance of engaging in a socially equitable and sustainable food system.
Transplanting Traditions believes that supporting a community means supporting and protecting that community’s environment and therefore uses all sustainable agricultural methods and practices protecting local waterways, encouraging biological diversity, pollinator health and healthy ecosystems.
Families participate in on site weekly agricultural workshops in everything from soil fertility and pest management to seed saving and food preservation. Families also participate in “Growers’ School”– 8 weeks of classroom trainings over the winter. The project seeks to honor the agricultural traditions that the participating families developed in Burma as well as to supplement with sustainable agriculture techniques specific to N.C. At the farm families grow many of the crops native to Burma as well as just about every vegetable that can be grow under the N.C. sun.
To date, Transplanting Traditions has brought in over $70,000 dollars in vegetable sales directly to its refugee farmers.
This money is earned through Transplanting Traditions CSA as well as the Chapel Hill Farmers’ Market and the Carrboro Farmers’ Market. Farmers also sell directly to their neighborhoods and communities with their own order and payment systems. You can support our aspiring farmers by shopping at these markets or signing up for our CSA. You will get amazing sustainably grown and chemical free vegetables and fruit in return. A win-win!
Triangle Land Conservancy
The Transplanting Traditions Community Farm is a collaboration between the Orange County Partnership for Young Children and the Triangle Land Conservancy. The farm is located on a 269 acre former farm managed by the Triangle Land Conservancy called the Irvin Nature Preserve. The site was donated in 2007 by the estate of Elinor Moore Irvin with the request that the farm continue to be used for educational farming activities. The partnership between the Triangle Land Conservancy and Transplanting Traditions is a unique partnering that supports local agriculture.
Transplanting Traditions is non-profit project that couldn’t exist with community support. Check out Our Generous Supporters for more information or if you would like to make a donation directly contact Kelly Owensby at KOwensby@OrangeSmartStart.org or (919) 967-9091. You can also donate using the donation button on the side bar of the website.
Thank you so much for you support–Transplanting Traditions is a community supported project.