University of Vermont

Cultivating Healthy Communities

New American Farmer Project

Preparing the Pipe for the Solar Water Pump

Our Vision:

Vermont's resettled refugee and immigrant farmers will have access to the resources they need to pursue their goals with skill and confidence. As integral members of the Vermont food system, they will be able to continue rich farming legacies, common threads between their new home in America and honored culture of their homelands.

What We Do:

Our support is of three main types:

Food Security

Growers can increase the quality and quantity of food they produce by developing food production and processing skills, and gaining access to resources such as land, equipment, infrastructure and support services. We've helped community gardeners at the beginning of the season with greenhouse production, made regular visits to garden plots during the season and hosted food processing workshops toward the end of the growing season. In 2015 we will be conducting research on food security within resettled refugee communities to arrive at a new approach for assessing food security. Our goal is to help community organizations to better understand and more effectively address food security with New Americans.

Enterprise Development

Being situated in an urban area presents many niche market opportunities for growers. During the winter we've met with growers to develop enterprise and production plans. We have provided marketing coaching for growers and have facilitated market connections between growers and buyers. During the growing season, we have provided hands-on production and land stewardship training on a host of topics including but not limited to:

  • season extension
  • cover cropping and resource conservation
  • soil fertility management
  • solar water pumping
  • irrigation systems repairs/maintenance
  • integrated pest management
  • succession cropping
  • land access
  • fencing
  • insurance
  • post-harvest handling and food safety
  • weed management
  • greenhouse management

Cultural Awareness

We honor cultural diversity at the center of our work. We do so by listening to and learning from the farmers with whom we work, and support culturally important farming practices, food production and processing methods. We have provided resource assessment and business education for members of the Vermont Goat Collaborative, a coop of Bhutanese farmers producing goat meat for local New American families. We have trained rice farmers on greenhouse management and water systems development to flood paddies for rice, one of the most culturally important crops. In an effort to increase cultural awareness and provide education in a culturally appropriate manner, our staff have been trained in Nepali and Kirundi languages, the languages of Bhutanese and Burundian resettled refugees.

Program Partners

Contact Us

Ben Waterman at 802-656-9142 or ben.waterman@uvm.edu.

Last modified October 13 2014 01:09 PM