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Carrboro farm growing community connections for refugees

Posted July 14, 2015

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— At a farm in Orange County, refugees are adapting to the Triangle climate and landscape, learning to connect their old and new culture through cultivation.

Tri Sa is one of about 1,000 people driven from her home in Burma to the Chapel Hill area by years of civil strife and persecution. She arrived in the United States in 2007 and a few years later began farming in Carrboro with help from Transplanting Traditions.

On the five-acre community farm, 33 refugees, who might otherwise be unable to find employment in the U.S., sustain themselves through the crops they grow and sell throughout the community.

"This farm is an opportunity to transfer those skills they already have to their new life here in North Carolina," said Nicole Accordino, manager of the program.

The growers sell vegetables on their own, at farmers markets, to restaurants and through a subscription program.

"People pay up front for the vegetables directly to the farmers, and in return they get a box of beautiful vegetables every week," Accordino said.

She estimated that the produce yields about $50,000 in supplemental income for the families involved.

Sa plans to use some of that money to help put her daughters through college.

"I'm selling more vegetables, getting more money. I have no stress right now," she said.

Tri Sa is reaping what she's sown at the Transplanting Traditions Community Farm.

Transplanting Traditions Community Farm is among the innovators seeking solutions to the problem of hunger in North Carolina that will benefit from the second annual HungerFreeNC mediathon Thursday, July 16. Join WRAL-TV and Radio One Raleigh all day for information and inspiration.

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