Friday, September 20, 2013

Save the date: Harvest Festival!

Hello friends!

You are all warmly invited to our annual Harvest Festival on Thursday October 24th at 7pm. This year, we're hosting it in Portland (instead of at the farm in Lisbon) so it's easier to attend!

Come to Mayo Street Arts, right around the corner from our Boyd Street Urban Farm to:

  • celebrate the Fresh Start Farms growers (Esperanza, Batula, Seynab, Mohamed, Jabril, Hawa, Khadija, Mekhan, and Hussein) who are graduating from our farmer training program this year;
  • view a photo exhibit of Fresh Start Farms growers' portraits, taken by professional photographer Amy Temple during her years of volunteering at the farm;
  • meet our Youth Growers and Culinary Crew members: high-schoolers who are learning how to be growers, leaders, chefs, and contributors to our community;
  • get a sneak peak at the Grow Cart: a tricycle-powered mobile farm stand built by MECA graduate, Hannah Merchant, which will debut next spring;
  • purchase Cultivating Community's brand new cookbook, "Beyond the Vegetable" hot off the press for our official book release;
  • sample a delicious multicultural feast and enjoy music and dancing!
A more formal invitation will follow. Feel free to bring family and friends. We hope you can come!

Learn a little bit more about Jabril, one of the graduating farmers, and visit Jabril on Thursdays at the Redbank/Brickhill farm stand in South Portland (584 Westbrook Street).


“I was a farmer when I was young, and now I am a farmer again. I will always be a farmer. If anybody says that farms and farming is no good, they are wrong, and they will know that when their stomachs are empty.”
        Jabril has been farming his whole life. When he arrived in Lewiston, he was told about the project and joined some of his friends out in the field. He already had knowledge, and familiarity with farming, it seemed natural for him to start planting seeds. Although the soil that he digs in here is different, and more consistent than the soil in Africa, which, in places, is red, white & brown.”
Although he has sold his product before too, here it is different: “Here you put everything out on the table, you have to advertise yourself” instead of just letting your product speak for you. That makes it hard to market here, but his children are involved with his business, especially the marketing end of it. When I asked him what his favorite part of his business is, he saw it all as interchangeable. He plants the seeds, he invests so that he can give at the markets in exchange for financial support. “I am happy to be at the market selling, it means that my investment is working, and people are lining up to support me.”
Lettuce, spinach, broccoli, potatoes, tomatoes, are his favorite, and most are new to him, but he knows that if you don’t have those on your table, customers won’t come by. “If my customers come to my farm, I know they will be happy with what they see. I would love it if my customers would tell their friends about me, and about our program. Let people support us, because even if you have nothing, you can put seeds into the ground.”