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The Project

Transplanting Traditions Community Farm provides agricultural and entrepreneurial education to limited resource refugee farmers at its 4-acre incubator site. We believe 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.

Transplanting Traditions Community Farm seeks to support the local 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. 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.

This non-profit project seeks to address the challenges of food insecurity, healthy food access and economic well being inequity in the refugee and immigrant community. The project also recognizes that 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.

The project also believes that supporting a community means supporting and protecting that community’s environment and therefore uses all sustainable agricultural methods and practices thereby protecting local waterways, encouraging biological diversity and healthy ecosystems.

The project seeks to prepare refugees and immigrants to become successful sustainable farmers by providing growing space at the educational farm site as well as culturally appropriate agricultural, business and marketing workshops.  The project also aids farmers in finding outlets for agricultural products.  In addition the farm is an important community space for the refugee and immigrant community to learn, share ideas and preserve cultural agricultural heritage while simultaneously transitioning to new lives in N.C.

Currently, over 140 adults and children from Burma grow fruits and vegetables at the Transplanting Traditions Community Farm. 100% of these refugee farmers were farmers in their native Burma and the farm showcases a mixture of native N.C. crops and over 20 crops native to Burma.   This 3 acre educational farm program trains refugee families in sustainable agriculture techniques and methods. Families participate in on site weekly agricultural workshops  in everything from soil fertility and pest management to seed saving and food preservation.  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!  Gourds, turmeric, bitter melons, ginger, taro root and lemongrass mingle with heirloom tomatoes, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, arugula, beets and radishes (to name a few).

2012-07-10 11.15.19

In 2012, TTCF supported a 26 member CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) vegetable subscription program and in 2012 brought $11,287 in income directly to the refugee farmers involved in the project. The project works with the whole family providing business, marketing and agricultural workshops for the adults as well as physical activity, outdoor education and nutrition activities for refugee youth.

The farm is located on a 269 acre former farm managed by the Triangle Land Conservancy.  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 Transplanting Traditions Community Farm is a collaboration between the Orange County Partnership for Young Children and the Triangle Land Conservancy who manages the Irvin Nature Preserve. The project is funded by the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Additional funding comes from Blue Cross Blue Shield of N.C. Foundation, Cannon Foundation, Highland Vineyards Foundation, Strowd Roses, Inc., The Chapel Hill Service League

Photo by Vanessa Patchett

Photo by Vanessa Patchett

The Organization

Kelly Profile 3The Orange County Partnership for Young Children is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that every child in Orange County arrives at school healthy and ready to succeed. We focus on the early years of a child’s life—from birth to age five—which is the most critical time in a child’s development.

The Partnership works collaboratively with the community to identify issues and create solutions to the concerns facing young children and families. We design and fund model programs to ensure children and their families have the resources they need to get off to a smart start. Our programs focus on early childhood education, child health care, early intervention, parenting education and family support.