We announce with sadness that Ascentria’s New Lands Farm ceased operations as of December 31, 2016. This refugee farming cooperative in Massachusetts started in 2008 with the mission to empower refugees through agricultural opportunities. At New Lands Farm, new Americans were able to earn supplemental income, honor food traditions from their home country, and enhance the food system in their community with locally sourced produce.
Last year, New Lands Farm lost a significant grant from the USDA. The loss of this funding prompted many conversations and brainstorming sessions. New program designs and potential funding streams were explored but did not yield the results that were necessary to ensure that New Lands Farm could be self-sustaining. As a result, the very difficult decision was made to phase out the operations of this program.
We have been working closely with staff, community partners and the refugee farming community to help farmers find access to alternative farming and land opportunities and help them connect with the resources they need to continue farming. We have also been diligent in ensuring that our obligations are met and agreements with funders and community partners are fulfilled.
The closing of this program is truly a loss for Ascentria and the community. Many of you have embraced the program with enthusiasm and provided support whether it was donating a tubtrug filled with gardening supplies or assisting with work days on the property. New Lands Farm became a centerpiece program by which individuals were able to learn more about Ascentria and connect with refugee farmers in a meaningful way.
New Lands Farm was just one component of Ascentria’s Services for New Americans program. Ascentria will continue to operate a robust refugee resettlement program that offers English language training, job placement, microenterprise start-up assistance, and legal services to assist new Americans.
To learn more about our New Lands Farmers transition plans, click here
. If you are interested in volunteering for or learning more about our Services for New American’s program, please click here
Thank you for your support and for your understanding.