By Lilly Kuhn, Teen Ag Crew Member
Last Friday, the Teen Ag crew traveled to the Packard-Littlefield Farm in Lisbon, ME. Cultivating Community’s New American Sustainable Agriculture Project (NASAP) is based out of Packard-Littlefield Farm and provides both land and training to refugees hoping to get involved in Maine agriculture.
Most participants start out with a quarter acre of land and can access more as they progress in the program. The growers at NASAP are responsible for a 300-member CSA, and in 2013 produced more than $150,000 of produce. While many participants have come to the U.S. with farming experience–often in Somalia–NASAP helps them learn the nuances of growing in Maine. NASAP’s goal is for participants to leave the program to farm independently.
Our time at Packard-Littlefield Farm started with a tour of the participants’ various plots of land. We met several of the farmers as they were planting beets, weeding and harvesting. On our walk, we just happened to bumped into Robert Packard, an owner of Packard-Littlefield farm, and he shared a brief history of the farm’s involvement with NASAP. Later, we divided up to work with different farmers. Maya and I worked with two teenage farmers weeding collard greens and carrots. The four of us talked a lot about their transition from a refugee camp in Kenya to life in the U.S. Richard and Lauren worked with a female farmer weeding carrots. Tom and Liane worked with another farmer, and learned a few Somali phrases. The one that has stuck with us, “Ba Sagru Es”, translates to “Go harvest weeds!”. We reconvened at the end of our time, excited to Ba Sagru Es in our own plot.