Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Know Your Farmer - Batula Ismail

Photo by Greta Rybus
Each week we profile one of the CSA farmers who grows your food. You can also get to know your farmer by visiting him or her at a farm stand or farmer's market, or by visiting our farm sites during a monthly Friday Farm Tour event (There's one this week! See below for details).

This week your featured farmer is Batula Ismail. Batula provides CSA shares for staff at Maine Health, Avesta Housing, and the Portland YMCA. She also provides CSAs at both the Kennebunk Farmers' Market, the Damariscotta Farmers' Market and at her daughter's farm stand at Whole Foods on Monday afternoons from 1:00p - 5:00p. For more information about our farm stands, click here.

In addition to selling at farm stands and through the CSA, Batula pools her produce with other Fresh Start Farms growers to provide wholesale quantities of vegetables for schools, summer camps, specialty markets, restaurants, food pantries, and larger distributors.

From Batula - I am from Somalia and came to Maine in 2005. I joined Fresh Start Farms in that same year. I am one of the three original Somali women who began farming in Lisbon and I have continued to support others in joining Fresh Start Farms, including my daughter, Asli. While my children are receiving an education and speak English, I believe it’s important for them to help out on the farm and learn this work because farming is the future. 

I learned much of my agricultural skills in Somalia, but I continue to learn because farming practices here in Maine are quite different and often more challenging and more involved than in Somalia. 

I dream about someday owning my own farm and land where my children and grandchildren can live and be safe, happy, and nourished. In addition to vegetables, I would also have animals, which were an important part of my life before moving to this country. 

My favorite part of my farming business is the community. I love being part of the community, working with the public, and having a role in the local economy. 

I would like to thank all of my customers (especially those who buy CSA shares) and all of the people in the state who support local farms. We have a good local food system and I’m glad to be a part of it. 

Photo by Greta Rybus
Monthly farm visits for CSA members and volunteers:
THIS FRIDAY, September 26 from 12:00p – 2:00p in Lisbon (Please note updated time)
Friday, October 3 from 12:00p – 2:00p in Lisbon 

RSVP with Ashley if you would like to attend: fsf@cultivatingcommunity.org & (207) 761-GROW.

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