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The Daily Tar Heel
Town Talk

Farm for local refugees hosts first market

Though some of the produce might look exotic, it’s grown right here in Chapel Hill.

On Friday, the Transplanting Traditions Community Farm had its first farmers’ market of the year at the Carrboro Human Rights Center. The farm allows Burmese immigrants and refugees in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area to grow and harvest their own produce while learning about sustainable agriculture.

Last year, the farm started the vegetable subscription program, which brought in $11,287 to directly benefit the refugee farmers.

And this year, residents of Chapel Hill and Carrboro can continue to get weekly produce from the farm due to a recent $8,000 grant from the Resourceful Communities Conservation Fund. The farm will use the grant to fund the farmers’ market and other programming.

Each week, participants will be able to pick up a box of seasonal produce at the Human Rights Center or the Transplanting Traditions farm. Each box costs $20, and the program runs for 20 weeks.

Farm members also sell produce at the Chapel Hill and Carrboro Farmers’ Markets.

Among the crops produced by the refugee farmers are gourds, ginger, lemongrass, tumeric, sweet potatoes and radishes. The farm grows a mixture of native North Carolina crops and over 20 crops native to Burma.

Created in 2010, the farm now works with over 140 refugees — all of whom were farmers in their native Burma.

The farm is located on 269 acres in west Chapel Hill, three of which are used for an educational farm to teach farmers sustainable practices. Organizers also accept volunteers who want to work with the children’s educational programs or assist the refugees on the farm.

Katie Kline, a graduate student in the UNC School of Public Health who came out Friday to pick up a box of produce, said she heard about the program through a friend who had volunteered with Transplanting Traditions.

“I’ve never done the program before, and I thought it would be a neat way to support them and to get fresh fruit and vegetables,” Kline said.

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