New American Sustainable Agriculture Project
Contact Name & Title:
Amy Carrington, Project Director
52 Mayo Street, P.O. Box 3792
City, State & Zipcode:
Portland, ME 04104
NASAP was initiated in 2002 with a community organizing approach. It was founded under the umbrella of Coastal Enterprises, Inc. and in 2009 became part of Cultivating Community. NASAP was founded in response to a large population of Somali refugees moving to Lewiston, Maine – more than 5,000 Somalis have resettled in Lewiston over the past several years. The Somali Bantu community lived as subsistence farmers in southern Somalia and many are currently starting small vegetables farms in Lisbon, Maine. Many Sudanese refugees who were resettled in Portland, ME are growing culturally appropriate foods for their community in addition to growing crops for sale to American markets. This project also works with aspiring Latino farmers who produce vegetable crops for direct markets. NASAP has served hundreds of refugee farmers and gardeners, including 55 agricultural entrepreneurs in 2009 alone.
NASAP provides access to land through its training farm site program. NASAP partners with local farmers and land trusts to help refugee and immigrant farmers’ access land. NASAP also provide marketing assistance and facilitates collective sales to whole sale markets, including a CSA, restaurants, Bates College, and Whole Foods Market. Farmers also sell produce at farmers' markets and accept both WIC and EBT payments for low income customers as well as debit/credit payments. Although production to date has focused on vegetables and small fruits, the project plans to incorporate livestock, including poultry and goats. NASAP relies on strong partnerships with Extension, local farmers, and community based organizations.
NASAP believes that income opportunities that honor the skills and business experiences that immigrants and the refugees bring are vital for their economic integration. As well, there continues to be a need to highlight the contributions that refugees are already making in the community. By promoting the value of refugee-owned farms and helping refugees establish themselves as visible and respected members of the community through agricultural business ownership we will help refugee farmers achieve self-sufficiency.
Cultivating Community uses sustainable agriculture as a community development and food security engine for southern Maine, throughout the state, and across the country. We have a number of USDA funded agriculture development programs. Past experience, existing relationships, and ongoing collaborations are key to our organization’s success.
The long-term goal of the project is to help new Americans build sustainable farm businesses that are consistent with their culture, lifestyle aspirations, and individual goals.
Immigrant Communities Served:
African (Somali and Sudanese) and Latino (Guatemalan)
English, Af Maha, Af Maay (Maay Maay), Arabic, Spanish
Agricultural Crops & Products:
Over 50 varieties of vegetables, including okra, tomatoes, peppers, melons, squash, and greens
Areas of Expertise:
Anti-Racism Approach, Community Development, Low Literacy Training Curriculum, Collective Marketing, Incubator Farm Site and Land Management
Useful Resources and Materials: