Seedlings and Somali refugees: An unlikely, but sustainable partnership

Little bitty seedlings are bringing two communities — separated by 100 miles — together to help alleviate hunger and increase access to local food in Maine.

BDN file photo

BDN file photo

During the coming months, students in the sustainable agriculture program at Unity College will grow seedlings for Cultivating Community, a Portland-based nonprofit that helps teach farming sustainable living to resettled Somali refugees. Students will grow the plants at Half Moon Gardens, a multi-faceted greenhouse donated to the school in December 2013.

Seedlings grown for the program will then be planted at a community supported agriculture farm in Lisbon.

Unity College Assistant Professor of sustainable agricultural enterprise Mary Saunders Bulan said the partnership with Cultivating Community is the type of project the school wants to work on at the greenhouse and accompanying McKay Agricultural Research Station.

BDN file photo

BDN file photo

“Through projects and partnerships such as this one with Cultivating Community, students learn invaluable business management and administrative skills to operate a successful agricultural business, while providing the community with healthful foods and meaningful work,” Bulan said said in a statement.

It’s partnerships like this one that Homestead is all about covering. If you know of a unique partnership that helps increase access to local food, let me know in the comments.


Natalie Feulner

About Natalie Feulner

Natalie Feulner is a journalist and “semi-crunchy” cloth diapering momma to a rambunctious toddler named after a county in California. She drinks too much tea and loves to climb rocks but not at the same time.