Meet local farmers and tour their farms, learn more about local food in the Triangle and visit us on the 18th annual Piedmont Farm Tour this weekend!
The farm tour is also the launch event for our IndieGoGo online crowd-funding campaign. Funding for this project runs out this September and with the help from supporters like you we hope to raise $15,000 and beyond in one month! Contributions will help this project continue into the future. This means more on farm programming for new and continuing farmers, accepting new farmers, expanding youth programming and making healthy culturally appropriate food more available and affordable to the refugee community. For more info link to our page by clicking on the indiegogo logo below
This is our 2nd year on the tour and we have so much more to show this year. We have expanded the project with 31 families farming on 4 acres, a true example of community farming at its best. Come learn how expert farmers grow tropical crops adapted to our temperate climate and grow in community.
- Kids activities – face painting, bubbles, chalk drawing and more!
- Plant sale – tomatoes, flowers, basil, peppers and more!
- Rows of lemongrass just went into the ground. Eight varieties of gourds, winged bean, herbs and trees are growing in the greenhouse. The soil-building cover crop is about to be tilled in for the future rice field. Chicken tractors adapted to raised beds and concentrated space are in process.
Also, please help spread the word about the project and Indiegogo by “liking” us on Facebook and inviting your friends. Help us get to 400 likes !
Lately, I have been thinking back to the Fall of 2010 when our first group of refugee farmers met us out at the Irvin Nature Preserve to scope out the grassy tawny pasture that would soon become the Transplanting Traditions Community Farm. None of us knew what the upcoming years would bring or even if this project would actually work. Almost three years later it is Spring again and we are all gathered for the first planting of this year. Huddled in the warm greenhouse for announcements and a workshop I look around and see the same faces from that first prospective meeting in Fall of 2010 as well as over 25 new faces. Outside, over 3 acres lay in a beautiful clover/rye cover crop or freshly tilled. The greenhouse is full of broccoli, lettuce, cilantro, kale, cabbage, etc. and everyone is excitedly starting seeds, carrying trays of plants out to plant and smiling, laughing, talking. There is a visible familiarity, ease, relief expressed as people emerge from winter, from small cramped apartments to the sun, sky and dirt of the Farm. Although all of our farmers were farmers in Burma, there is so much for them to learn here in N.C. The four seasons that we take for granted are completely unfamiliar to our farmers, most of whom had never left their tropical villages until they had to flee to refugee camps in Thailand. In Burma, farmers tilled land with water buffalo (similar to an ox) and grew mangoes, rice, sesame, hibiscus, snake gourd, etc. They never had seen a greenhouse, made seedling soil mix or experimented with season extension. Marketing was a completely different ball game just as they found most everything was upon arriving in N.C. But to see how much farmers have learned from the over 150 hours of workshops and classes they have attended at the Farm over the past 2.5 years is one of the many things that I love about this project. Ask almost any farmer what the NPK on the bag of fertilizer stands for and even what each nutrient does for our plants and they could probably tell you. Or watch them seeding cover crop, working in the greenhouse or suckering a tomato and you will know. Really, to watch the bounty of beautiful fruits and vegetables harvested throughout the year and to see the jungle-like farm rising to the sky a bit each day and I know that this project is really really working. To top everything off, we have two new exciting bits of news that we hope you will share. One, is that Tri Sa has been accepted to the Chapel Hill Farmer’s Market and will be selling every Tuesday from 3-6. She will be selling all the NC fruits and veggies that we are most familiar with as well as the crops native to Burma that she is most familiar with. The second exciting bit of news is that the farmers have been talking all winter about wanting to start their own market, that best fits their schedule and needs. As a result, we have partnered with the Human Rights Center on Barnes Street in Carrboro and will be selling fruits and veggies every Friday from 5-7 starting in late April. Stay tuned for more info and please come out and support our refugee farmers at these two markets. We’ll let you know when those markets open.
Look for Tri Sa at the Chapel Hill Farmer’s Market on Tuesdays this Spring!!
The weather on Wednesday seemed to be a planned backdrop for the task of harvesting bamboo. A warm, overcast day with humid tropical winds, confirming the impending storm. As soon as we arrived at the bamboo grove, the farmers were out of the cars with machetes and ready for the task at hand. The bamboo was falling in seconds and everyone took to different tasks of cutting, cleaning branches off and dragging bamboo out to the road. There was also some mushroom foraging in between. Thus began my education on what makes good bamboo.
I have been told that the bamboo in Burma and Thailand is typically twice the diameter of the bamboo we normally see growing in the US. I was told that this is the kind of bamboo you want to use for building a house. Among the harvest on Wednesday there were 4 pieces that were at the perfect age, size, and shape for building a house. I learned that bamboo houses are typically deconstructed and rebuilt every 2-3 years.
April Paw demonstrated how to make a floor or wall by splitting the bamboo along the circumference into long thin strips with a machete, while still leaving the strips attached.Mr. Pwee demonstrated how to separate the outer layers from inner layers to make strips for baskets, mats and ties for securing bundles.
split bamboo, the first step for a floor or wall
Like rice and many of the tropical plants farmers are figuring out how to grow in North Carolina, bamboo is familiar. While harvesting they expressed multiple times how good it felt to be among bamboo, comfortable. Wednesday’s bamboo harvest was reminiscent of days at the farm in the middle of summer, when the farm was a jungle of tropical crops and farmers were lingering in the shade of the gourds comfortably.
trucks loaded and ready to go! We made it back to the farm just before the rain
Most of the bamboo harvested on Wednesday will be used for trellising plants on the farm and building a shade structure for events that will double as a gourd trellis, cutting the cost of off-farm purchases. If you have any good-sized bamboo at your house that you need cleared or know a spot please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
divided and delivered
Please take a moment to explore the beautiful work of Vanessa Patchett. She spent the summer with Transplanting Traditions farmers and compiled a photo essay project along with commentary based on interviews with farmers. To view the photo essay go to Stories and click on Raising Burma. In her description of the project Vanessa explains, “This documentary essay seeks to demonstrate this complex relationship that Karen peoples have with the land. It is a beautiful and powerful thing, full of intensity, hope, and life. It is also a relationship of struggle and overcoming. Ultimately, this project seeks to better understand what the garden means to the families at TTCF, and tries to see this place through their eyes.” If you haven’t visited the farm or met the farmers this is the next best thing, it truly captures the essence of the place and spirit of the space. Also take a moment to check out the rest of the website to lean more about the local Karen community.
Though the farm is still sleeping under a warm green blanket of cover crops, we are still active in mind and body… maybe less body and more mind. January is a time for making plans. Growers School, Transplanting Traditions 8-week intensive of fascinating agricultural topics occurs every Friday morning. We began on last Friday January 4th with full attendance.
We discussed Marketing options for the small farmer in the US; farmers markets, CSA, wholesale and how Transplanting Traditions farmers can stand apart and find a niche market that embraces their skills and knowledge. We ended the class with a farmer feedback meeting discussing options for marketing in the coming year that fit into farmers schedules, time commitments and interest. Looking forward to the next 7 weeks of soil health, seasons, planting techniques, season extension, crop planning, disease and pest management, risk management, and chickens. More to come!
Also Sat. January 5 was the Karen_New_ Year_. The Karen community gathered a Carrboro Elementary School for food and festivities to bring in the new year.
We just finished a lovely sunny winter December workday. We added two new compost stations to the encompass our growing farm, dug an irrigation ditch to drain our very wet lower field, got all of our drip tape rolled up and stored and checked on our strawberries and garlic. We also found the time to snap this picture as we want to say THANKS to everyone who supported the farm this year. We have had so much amazing community support through CSA members, restaurants, volunteers and so much more. This project wouldn’t exist without all of your help so thanks from all of us at Transplanting Traditions. We hope everyone has a lovely holiday and we’ll see you next year.
Despite many obstacles (hurricanes, car wrecks, laryngitis) all of us at the Farm feel like the Fundraiser was a great success and we want to thank everyone who came out to support the project. We would especially like to thank Vimala and Rush of Vimala’s Curryblossom Café for opening their arms and doors to us after Hurricane Sandy de-railed our original fundraiser date. Also thanks to The Lantern restaurant for their amazing raffle donation as well as Barbara and Rike Peevey for their Asheville Rose vacation getaway donation. Additionally the staff and board members of the Orange County Partnership for Young Children.
As many of you know, this non-profit project has less than a year of funding under its current grant from the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Over the next 10 months, we will be doing our best to seek additional funds in order to keep this amazing project thriving. Please let us know if you have any ideas. We really can’t let this work go unfinished.
Vanessa Patchett’s farm photo documentary project will stay up at Vimala’s for a while so if you haven’t seen the pictures, go get a bite to eat and check out her beautiful photos (all the photos on this posting are hers). I feel that her pictures do an excellent job of catching the spirit of the farm and she spent a lot of time at the farm this summer documenting. Also, let us know how you felt about the traditional Karen Burmese food served at the Fundraiser. I am guessing it was for most, the first time eating Karen food. I know that our amazing farmer cooks were very proud to not only grow the food that we served but also to cook and share a piece of Karen culinary culture with their new community in N.C. We will put the recipes up soon, so stay tuned.
Thanks again everyone, your support really meant a lot.
Tags: black sticky rice with coconut, farm to fork, fish paste, fundraiser, karen burmese food, lantern restaurant, photo documentary, pumpkin curry, vanessa patchett, vimala's curryblossom cafe, watermelon and daikon radish salad