As the 2024 growing season approaches, Amjambo asked some farmers to share plans for the upcoming season.

Cultivating Community

Omasombo Katuka: “The big challenge is to find more land, for me and others in the community. Government programs are needed to help both customers and farmers. More funds will allow farmers to grow more vegetables and sell them in affordable ways.”

Liberation Farms

Fadumo Libah: “We had a lot of rain in 2023 that made the whole season difficult for growing. One thing we had as an advantage was growing under the hoop house. This was a great learning experience for our community of refugees. In 2024, we are planning to use even more hoop houses, so that we start the game early on and continue later.”

Habibo Salat: “I was very unlucky to have a spot that was flooded this year. All my crops washed away and I could not get the same sales as the previous years. Going forward, I will be careful about where to put my cash crops so that I won’t lose it all like in 2023.”

Hassan Mohamed: “In 2023, there was a lot of rain. We never realized that water can damage. There is an extent to which water can be harmful to plants. We have seen corn roots that rotted in the ground, and some plants dead as a result of water going over the plants. Going forward, we have plans to make changes. In 2024, we need to make waterways for the water to go through to the streams. We will not plant in all the low-lying areas that could be damaged by water. All tomatoes and corn and other heat-loving plants will go on high ground. 2023 was an eye-opener for us, and  will forever affect our growing plans here in the future.”

Hassan Mohamed

Maryan Mohamed: “2023 was my first growing year in the Iskashito program, so I don’t have another year to compare. I was happy and earned money. Of course, I had the rain and flood experience, but I appreciate the resources the program gave me and the willingness the staff provided.”

New Roots Farm

Maryan Mohamed, Hassan Mohamed, Habibo Salat

Mahamed Sheikh: “We had issues with climate last year and struggled to meet market targets (especially kale and peppers). This year we hope to have up to 18 high tunnels but will need help building them (hopefully from Bates students). The tunnels will help extend the season and prevent rain and drought from influencing production. We are also bringing in two more farm members. There is a great demand for African vegetables, like amaranth. The farm is becoming a popular hub for newcomers to Maine, and the farmers have a very successful Tuesday market at Kennedy Park. There is some talk of livestock additions to the farm enterprise, which may attract younger people. My management skills have grown with the help of Omar Hassan.”