If you think you might be interested in doing a project, story, or collaborating with us for a class or project, please read all of the information below.
Project Considerations and Guidelines
Thank you so much for your interest in working with the Transplanting Traditions Community Farm! The project touches on many topics of interest in our community; sustainable agriculture, child development and education, micro-enterprise development, the environment, refugee resettlement, food security, public health, cross cultural communication, language and so much more. We strive to make community connections, both as a benefit to the project at large, the refugee community, and the individual families who participate in the project.
The Mission of Transplanting Traditions Community Farm is to provide refugee adults and youth access to land, healthy food and agricultural education and entrepreneurial 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.
The project meets this mission through intensive agricultural classroom workshops, hands on workshops that occur bi-weekly at the farm and marketing and business support through a CSA (Community Supported Agricuture) and area Farmers’ Markets. Transplanting Traditions also operates a young children’s program as well as refugee teen program.
Please read the following considerations carefully and decide whether your project is a good fit for the Transplanting Traditions Community Farm (TTC Farm).
- Project staff is limited and therefore busy. This includes managing a 5 acre farm, marketing, organizing and teaching weekly on farm workshops, grant writing, publicity, record keeping, fundraising, budgeting etc. Please be patient and considerate of our time constraints.
- If your project needs to be completed quickly it will NOT be compatible with the TTC Farm. Please contact us a minimum of 7 days and preferably two full weeks or more before your project deadline especially if your project has special requirements. This is in order for us to consider your project needs, TTC Farm project needs and to make the necessary preparations. Also remember your deadline urgency is not our emergency. Some projects are simply not compatible with TTCF.
- During the growing season (February to November) staff is at the farm every Wednesday and Friday from 9:00—1:00. During these days we are teaching workshops and working with farmers so these are very busy days. However, these are the two days when you will be able to come out to the farm and we will do our best to find one of those days when there is a time window open. We generally do not work weekends.
- Please be clear about what your project expectations are, why you are interested in the Transplanting Traditions Community Farm and what you will be doing with your project results. It is important for the farmers to understand who you are, what you are doing and why you are doing it. If possible be prepared to explain this to the group at one of our workshops.
- Most of the farmers have only been in the United States a couple of years and do not speak English well or at all. We work closely with a interpreter for many of the project needs. Please do not assume that the interpreter can help you to reach your project goals. The interpreter is a paid employee of the project and is available to help TTCF meet its goals. If you wish to use the interpreter for a personal project you should consider appropriate compensation. If you wish to ask the interpreter questions for your project during a farm workday please okay this with TTC Farm staff in advance as generally the interpreter is busy working and often unavailable.
If you wish to work directly with TTC Farmers
Working directly with farmers adds a layer of complication to a project. If you wish to work directly with farmers please read the next section carefully. It is very important that you follow the guidelines below. If you step out of bounds, you are risking the integrity and trust we have built with TTC farmers.
- Please only use Transplanting Traditions Community Farm staff to put you in contact with farmers. If we find that you are contacting farmers directly we will have to ask you to end your project with us. This may seem harsh but after discussions with farmers it has become apparent that farmers are not always comfortable with being contacted directly. Farmers have expressed that hospitality is a cornerstone of Karen culture. This makes it difficult for Karen people to say no to a direct proposition even if it is something they truly do not want to accept.
- Participants all work demanding full time jobs outside the farm. Many work night shifts making schedule coordinating difficult. Most of our farmers also have young children. The amount of time they spend at the farm is also considerable. Some farmers are at the farm for several hours every day. Please be respectful of farmers time constraints.
- Many refugees have had traumatic experiences in either their home country or the refugee camps. It is not appropriate to ask questions directly about private and sensitive topics.
- If you are wishing to work directly with farmers without OCPYC staff presence and oversight, it is our policy to do a simple background check and you will be required to submit necessary information.
Cultural and Ethnic Differences
Because we are working with a group of people that have different customs, beliefs and experiences from our own, it is especially important to not make assumptions about what is and isn’t acceptable and to always interact in a respectful manner. The golden rule is always a good one to remember.
- Although this may seem obvious, although from a very different culture and country, remember that in most ways our farmers are very much like you or I. It can be easy to compartmentalize someone who is different as “other” which can negatively change how you interact with that person or group or even lead to objectification. Please consider whether an action seems appropriate by first imagining yourself as the subject.
- If you have any special requests please ask TTC Farm staff if something might be considered inappropriate or uncomfortable. We have built the project around grassroots participation and follow a model that includes a lot of participant input. Farmers also feel comfortable telling staff whether they are comfortable with a request where as they might not feel comfortable telling a stranger.
- Be sure to follow all appropriate rules regarding subject consent.
If your project doesn’t in and of itself benefit the TTC Farm or farmers we ask you to reciprocate in an appropriate manner. There are many ways that you can give back to us and we welcome any of your own ideas or contributions based on your particular skills. Some examples below:
- Printing copies of photographs taken to give to farmers. Allowing the use of photographs for possible fundraising activities. Allowing the use of photographs on our blog or facebook page.
- Sharing research or conclusions of your project. Especially if your research can help to answer questions that are relevant to improving the TTC Farm or to provide helpful data for grant writing and other fundraising purposes.
- Increasing publicity and excitement about the project. Mention the TTC Farm in your social media outlets. Help get the word out about fundraisers or other events.
- Navigating a new culture and country can be difficult for refugees. Ask refugees if they have anything they need help with. Accompany them to court for a speeding violation or help them with a job application. These are simple things that can go a long way.
- Helping with kids activities in the summer. We provide bi-weekly hands on activities with the children of the farm families during the summer.
- If there isn’t anything you can think of to help with in the moment or if you are too busy at the time, we will expect a rain check from you! This means if we don’t hear from you we will call on you when we need an extra volunteer hand.