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DSC01746Kelly Owensby; Project Director: Kelly grew up in Asheville, NC and graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2004 with a B.A. in Cultural Studies.   She gained extensive hands-on agricultural experience by working with eight wonderful farms in the Piedmont of  N.C. In 2009, she began working with community gardens and gardening after-school programs through The Orange Co. Partnership for Young Children’s community gardens.

In 2010 she helped break ground for the Transplanting Traditions Community Farm which currently works with over 60 refugee farmers and 45 refugee youth on its four acre community farm.

Kelly is the project director of the Transplanting Traditions Community Farm and has spent the past four years working with immigrant and refugee families in community agricultural initiatives that preserve cultural heritage and create community space.  (919) 967-9091 ext 6


IMG_0395Nicole Accordino; Program Coordinator: Nicole hails from the tropics of South Florida and moved to Asheville, NC to attend Warren Wilson College. She graduated with a BA in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Sustainable Agriculture. It was there that she worked 4 years on the student vegetable farm and piloted and managed the college Community Supported Agriculture Program.

Since then, she has focused her energy on community food initiatives, mostly focused on youth gardening programs and nutrition education. From 2007- 2011 she worked with multiple Asheville City Schools to integrate school garden programming with public school curriculum and increase hands-on, outdoor education. She moved to the Piedmont of NC in 2011 to learn seed saving techniques and pursue registration in Horticultural Therapy.

She never ceases to be amazed at the knowledge, skill and passion the farmers share. She feels Transplanting Traditions Community Farm has a tangible impact on the refugee community; demonstrating a distinctive combination of food security, generational and cultural sharing, knowledge preservation and community cultivation. (919) 967-9091 ext 6


DSC01394Eh Tha Pwee; Cultural Liaison and Translator: Mr. Pwee is the Transplanting Traditions Translator and Cultural Liaison and a refugee from Burma.  He works with the project because he is happy to help refugees get access to healthy vegetables and fruits, both those that they already grew in Burma, and also those typical in the United States.  He is glad to support refugees getting a better place to grow food, which leads to fresh, healthy vegetables and better nutrients.

Mr. Pwee is also the organizer of Karen Community of North Carolina (KCNC), a nonprofit, refugee managed organization.  The mission of KCNC is to strengthen the Karen community in North Carolina and to improve the quality of life of Karen people living in North Carolina.  The objectives are to a) preserve the Karen culture, language and history; b) to provide services to the Karen community in promoting literacy, education, health and social welfare; c) to assist Karen refugees arriving in North Carolina with access to services and integration into North Carolina while retaining Karen culture and d) to collaborate with other organizations to better serve the Karen community.


BIGturnipVera Fabian, Assistant Farm Manager: Vera grew up in an apartment, right here in Chapel Hill, and always wished for a garden of her own.  Her mom grew up on a farm and she spent summers on the farm exploring cornfields and old barns.  In 2007, she graduated from UNC-CH with a degree in Anthropology and International Studies.

For five years Vera worked as a Garden Educator, first at The Edible Schoolyard in Berkeley, CA and then as a founding member of the Edible Schoolyard NYC team.  At PS 216 in Brooklyn, along with 500 elementary schoolers, she helped build a half-acre school garden and cooking program. In 2012, Vera left the city to learn to farm.  At Green String Farm in CA, head farmer, Bob Cannard, taught her natural process growing techniques including the use of crushed rock and weeds as nature’s cover crop.  At Eliot Coleman’s Four Season Farm in ME, Vera gained experience in season extension and greenhouse management for intensive, year-round vegetable production.

After all these adventures, Vera and her fiance have moved back to NC, where she hopes to put her love for farming and teaching to work for a thriving and equitable local food system. She still hopes for a garden (or farm) of her own someday, but in the meantime, is thrilled to be a part of a project that gives so many people a farming home and the chance to grow their own food., (919) 967-9091 ext 6