Transplanting Traditions Community Farm

Transplanting Traditions Community Farm

TTCF specializes in creating solutions to the complex inequity challenges of resettlement and has worked over the last decade developing programs that are rooted in the farmers’ cultural traditions and strengths and is driven and led by the refugee community. TTCF participants and alumni have become engaged citizens, successful business

Transplanting Traditions Community Farm

TTCF specializes in creating solutions to the complex inequity challenges of resettlement and has worked over the last decade developing programs that are rooted in the farmers’ cultural traditions and strengths and is driven and led by the refugee community. TTCF participants and alumni have become engaged citizens, successful business owners, accomplished farmers, inspiring food justice activists, non-profit leaders and community educators. Because of the cultural and linguistic challenges that newly arrived refugee communities face, this tangible shift towards community leadership is unprecedented in the U.S. with TTCF being the only food sovereignty refugee-led organization of its kind. TTCF uplifts and invests in leaders in the refugee community to face the challenges of resettlement, including food insecurity, lack of culturally appropriate mental health services, economic and leadership opportunities, and education. TTCF is led by our Executive Director, Ree Ree Wei, a Karen ethnic from Thailand refugee camp. Ree Ree has been with TTCF since its inception, first as a founding youth member of the TTCF Refugee Youth Program, and more recently as a staff member. She is a Guilford College Bonner Scholar and has been an activist for the refugee community in NC. Ree Ree’s leadership is supported and complimented by a staff of 11 women, majority women of color who are refugees and immigrants, a collective of 5 governance committees composed of 20 alumni and refugee community leaders and participants, and a coalition of cross-sector community partners, volunteers and supporters. The expertise and knowledge of TTCF staff spans refugee resettlement, finance, non-profit and farm management, business and resource development, consumer relations and agricultural production, food justice, youth and children development, media and communications. TTCF is versed in developing cultural and popular education tools and strategies that are specific to the needs and skills of the refugee participants from Burma. It is nationally recognized among the small number of refugee and immigrant incubator farms for its unique grassroots approach which blends the strengths and assets from multiple generations, life experiences and cultures to create a beautiful web of support that is stronger and more resilient.

About the Organization:

TTCF specializes in creating solutions to the complex inequity challenges of resettlement and has worked over the last decade developing programs that are rooted in the farmers’ cultural traditions and strengths and is driven and led by the refugee community. TTCF participants and alumni have become engaged citizens, successful business owners, accomplished farmers, inspiring food justice activists, non-profit leaders and community educators. Because of the cultural and linguistic challenges that newly arrived refugee communities face, this tangible shift towards community leadership is unprecedented in the U.S. with TTCF being the only food sovereignty refugee-led organization of its kind. TTCF uplifts and invests in leaders in the refugee community to face the challenges of resettlement, including food insecurity, lack of culturally appropriate mental health services, economic and leadership opportunities, and education. TTCF is led by our Executive Director, Ree Ree Wei, a Karen ethnic from Thailand refugee camp. Ree Ree has been with TTCF since its inception, first as a founding youth member of the TTCF Refugee Youth Program, and more recently as a staff member. She is a Guilford College Bonner Scholar and has been an activist for the refugee community in NC. Ree Ree’s leadership is supported and complimented by a staff of 11 women, majority women of color who are refugees and immigrants, a collective of 5 governance committees composed of 20 alumni and refugee community leaders and participants, and a coalition of cross-sector community partners, volunteers and supporters. The expertise and knowledge of TTCF staff spans refugee resettlement, finance, non-profit and farm management, business and resource development, consumer relations and agricultural production, food justice, youth and children development, media and communications. TTCF is versed in developing cultural and popular education tools and strategies that are specific to the needs and skills of the refugee participants from Burma. It is nationally recognized among the small number of refugee and immigrant incubator farms for its unique grassroots approach which blends the strengths and assets from multiple generations, life experiences and cultures to create a beautiful web of support that is stronger and more resilient.

organizational budget

$100,000 - $500,000

existence for

6-10 YEARS

Organization benefits AAPIs residing in the following state(s):

National • Alabama • Alaska • Arizona • Arkansas • California • Colorado • Connecticut • Delaware • District of Columbia • Florida • Georgia • Hawaii • Idaho • Illinois • Indiana • Iowa • Kansas • Kentucky • Louisiana • Maine • Maryland • Massachusetts • Michigan • Minnesota • Mississippi • Missouri • Montana • Nebraska • Nevada • New Hampshire • New Jersey • New Mexico • New York • North Carolina • North Dakota • Ohio • Oklahoma • Oregon • Pennsylvania • Puerto Rico • Rhode Island • South Carolina • South Dakota • Tennessee • Texas • Utah • Vermont • Virginia • Washington • West Virginia • Wisconsin • Wyoming

organizational budget

$100,000 - $500,000

existence for

6-10 YEARS

Organization benefits AAPIs residing in the following state(s):

National • Alabama • Alaska • Arizona • Arkansas • California • Colorado • Connecticut • Delaware • District of Columbia • Florida • Georgia • Hawaii • Idaho • Illinois • Indiana • Iowa • Kansas • Kentucky • Louisiana • Maine • Maryland • Massachusetts • Michigan • Minnesota • Mississippi • Missouri • Montana • Nebraska • Nevada • New Hampshire • New Jersey • New Mexico • New York • North Carolina • North Dakota • Ohio • Oklahoma • Oregon • Pennsylvania • Puerto Rico • Rhode Island • South Carolina • South Dakota • Tennessee • Texas • Utah • Vermont • Virginia • Washington • West Virginia • Wisconsin • Wyoming

The Issue:

Since 1962, ethnic minorities from Burma have faced ethnic genocide and forced relocation. Over the past decade, refugees from Burma have been the largest Southeast Asian refugee group to be resettled in the US. Today, the U.S. refugee community from Burma has reached close to 200,000 and families from Burma comprise one of the largest refugee groups in North Carolina, reaching over 9,000. In Orange County, where Transplanting Traditions Community Farm (TTCF) is based, refugees from Burma represent 90% of the refugee community and youth from Burma are the largest youth minority in Chapel Hill.
Upon resettlement, refugees face enormous economic, health and education barriers, making successful transition challenging. Low literacy, limited formal education, language barriers and unfamiliarity with US norms and expectations, refugees are often only able to access low-paying hospitality or service jobs. As a result, many refugees from Burma live below the poverty level, with little opportunity for upward mobility. These economic challenges further limit access to health and education impacting overall wellbeing and food insecurity. Combined with the inability to easily access culturally relevant Asian crops often contributes to chronic health conditions. Cultural bereavement from the loss of traditions, behaviors, and traditional work like farming also compounds mental and physical health issues in the refugee community. Youth and children are significantly impacted by these issues struggling to adjust and reducing social and education outcomes.
Despite these challenges, refugees from Burma have immense agricultural, business and leadership skills and a desire to give back to the community, when cultivated and nurtured these skills can be used to achieve economic self-sufficiency, cultural appreciation and quality of life for themselves and their families.

The Solution:

In response to the influx of refugees from Burma and to address the complex challenges of resettlement, Transplanting Traditions Community Farm (TTCF) began in 2010, originally as a community garden to support refugees from Burma to re-establish their food, farming and cultural traditions in the U.S. Since then, the work has evolved to uplift food sovereignty in the refugee community through access to land, education, and leadership opportunities. The farm provides a cultural community space for refugee adults, youth and children to come together, recreate home, heal from trauma, foster a healthier community and maintain valuable agricultural traditions as they build new lives in the Piedmont of North Carolina. In addition to being a significant NC cultural center, TTCF is home to a collective of sustainable farm businesses, owned by 13 Asian refugee women farmers, working together to co-create solutions to resist assimilative forces that face their families and the larger community. All of the individuals that participate in TTCF programs are refugees from Burma, majority women and girls, representing 2 minority ethnic groups, Karen and Chin, speaking four distinct languages - Chin, Burmese, Poe Karen and S'gaw Karen, in addition to English.
TTCF envisions a world in which all people have access to healthy affordable food, land, education, satisfying work, a space to celebrate culture, and a place to build strong, resilient communities. As a pioneering, community based organization, TTCF achieves its mission by investing in three interconnected areas. The Food Sovereignty initiative 1) facilitates access to low-cost agricultural land to refugee farmers to grow food for their families and 2) farmers sell ethnic Asian-specific crops they grow to food pantries who distribute to other food insecure refugee families. The Economic Development initiative, ensures long-term food sovereignty by supporting refugee women farmers to develop successful agricultural businesses to increase household income and overall economic mobility. The Leadership Development initiative cultivates adult, children and youth leadership and builds capacity for self and community advocacy while shifting institutional and community power and resources to the community of refugees and immigrants throughout central NC.

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