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Somali Bantu farmers put down roots in Maine

Somali Bantu farmers put down roots in Maine

A story by Muhidin D Libah

Halima Mohamed, Ahmed Baraki, Hassan Barjin, and Muhidin Libah, Lewiston, 2017

Bantu people fled Somalia to escape war and genocide. We were eager to settle in Maine, and to continue our agricultural heritage. Since 2005, the Somali Bantu Community Association has trained and educated refugees to find employment and security in Maine, including growing healthy, chemical-free, and culturally appropriate foods.

We started the Community Farming Program in 2014, which supports 135 farmers. Farming is an integral part of the Bantu’s cultural heritage and each farmer is adapting generations of agricultural knowledge to Maine’s unique landscape.

Most farmers are growing food for their families, but approximately 30 farmers distribute and sell produce at farmer's markets, food pantries, and to colleges and schools across Maine.

Sowda Dakane and Maryan Dakane, Lewiston, 2017
Working in the Lewiston gardens, 2017
Working in the Lewiston gardens, 2017
Working in the Lewiston gardens
Working in the Lewiston gardens