Wed. Sep 20th, 2023
    Refugee and Immigrant Farmers Turn Passion into Business Through Farm Accelerator Program

    Mohammad Haji and Ricardo Diaz, both refugees and immigrants, have transformed their love for farming into a full-time business. They are among the few growers who have access to a community farm through the farm accelerator program run by Outgrowing Hunger, a Gresham nonprofit.

    Haji, who is from Myanmar, has a 2-acre plot where he grows various crops and raises halal chickens. He has also built a greenhouse filled with garlic and other vegetables that are staples in his home country. Diaz, originally from Oaxaca, Mexico, rents 2 acres from Outgrowing Hunger’s farm, where he grows traditional Mexican crops as well as produce common in the U.S.

    Both Haji and Diaz sell their products at local farmers markets and have become a vital resource for immigrant and refugee families who struggle to find culturally specific foods. Diaz made $35,000 last year from his farm, mostly from a grant that allowed local food pantries to purchase his produce.

    Additionally, in Gresham, there is a 3-acre garden plot run by African refugees from countries like Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The garden is one of many smaller community gardens operated by Outgrowing Hunger. The African growers cultivate crops that are expensive or difficult to find in American grocery stores.

    These refugee and immigrant farmers not only provide fresh and culturally specific produce but also reconnect with their cultural roots through farming. It gives them a sense of identity and allows them to share their heritage with the local community.

    – [source 1]
    – [source 2]