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Over 100 refugees will begin farming through a Utah program

This farm here in Draper, through the New Roots program is one of four like it across Utah. And soon there will be two more… all aimed at helping those families grow and sell food.

Farming this piece of land…is far different from what Nigariuria Bashire knew in Burundi

“Many things I grow, I like,” Bashire said. “In Africa, it’s kind of different weather…no, it is summer and uh…yeah, only summer.”

But with the help of the New Roots program, through the International Rescue Committee, Bashire has been farming here for more than ten years. Similar organizations help refugee and indigenous farmers, across four similar farms… with now two more on the way.

Doctor Kynda Curtis, says the Utah State University Extension obtained the grant… made possible through the USDA’s beginning farmer and rancher development program.

“Many of them come from areas that are was-torn,” Kynda Curtis, Professor said. Those that come in with those skills, it’s something that helps them to…it’s kind of treatment for the effects and the things that they’ve been through.”

The grant brings in about six-hundred thousand dollars over the next three years.

“Trying to implement good health, trying to implement food availability, economic opportunity is important,” Curtis said.

Much of what they grow helps feed their families… but it’s also sold at local farmers’ markets. They get access to land, equipment… and help from staff to both grow and sell.

“I grow too many things are different; corn, beets, carrots, green beans,” Bashire said.

And Bashire says it’s remained an important piece of helping his family start over.

New farms will be set up for Native American communities in Bluff and Mexican Water.

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