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MISSION

World Farmers’ mission is to support small farmers in sustainable agricultural production and successful marketing practices to connect culturally relevant produce to viable markets. World Farmers provides mentoring, training, and hands-on assistance when working with each farmer to build the capacity needed to operate individual farming enterprises. We enact our mission through various initiatives, the most prominent of which is the Flats Mentor Farm program.

Since 1984, Flats Mentor Farm in Lancaster, Massachusetts has provided the space and infrastructure for small immigrant and refugee farmers to get started. The farmers at Flats Mentor Farm produce over 55 acres of ethnic specialty crops; supplying to wholesale and retail markets throughout New England, including over 40 farmers’ markets and dozens of small scale direct-to-consumer outlets in and around Massachusetts. Participating farmers are skilled producers who come from agrarian backgrounds and seek to make a new life for themselves while preserving their cultural identity. In order to contribute to their success in the new culture and climate of the Northeast, World Farmers’ Mentoring Program offers regular trainings in agricultural production, business development, and marketing. All programming is performed in a respectful environment of cross-cultural co-learning among farmers, World Farmers staff, and our interns and volunteers.

Many of the farmers at Flats Mentor Farm have told us that they never believed there would be an opportunity like this when they came to this country: access to land, trainings in new growing practices for this climate, and support in building a business in farming have made a huge impact on their ability to adapt and thrive. Just as important as our programming and services is the simple access to a safe space to learn from their neighbors, feed their families, heal, rebuild their cultural foundations, and teach the next generation all that agriculture can provide.

IMPACT

For the past 30 years, beginning immigrant and refugee farmers have learned about the opportunity to join Flats Mentor Farm solely through farmer-to-farmer word of mouth. The ethnic makeup has changed to reflect patterns of migration over the years: in the mid-90s, there were over 140 Hmong families and just 2 African immigrant farmers working at Flats Mentor Farm. Today, over 200 African farmers have plots at the Flats, while the Hmong population has decreased.

To date, of the over 1,200 farmers who have had plots at Flats Mentor Farm, 30% have gone on to farm their own land, 60% of whom are women. These independent farmers have established their operations across the country, from North Carolina to California.

In 1999, Flats Mentor Farm was identified as a national model by USDA and has served as a model for many beginning farmer programs nationally.

IN THE NEWS

World Farmers’ programs and and farmers have been featured in many articles over the decades.

These articles highlight our dedication to implementing a program that works with each farmer as an individual, support the success of their independent enterprises, and weave a new social fabric. Ultimately, we know that it is the farmer’s willingness to learn and passion for farming that is the true secret to success in this program.

BLOG SERIES

Acreage Reports and Crop Insurance Woes

August 1, 2016

Acreage Reports and Crop Insurance Woes By Sam Mitchell, Nashoba Regional High School Summer Intern The powerful mid-summer sun bore down with searing rays of bright light. The alluring fantasy of a drifting breeze was the only tantalizing respite as a stinging, salty sweat dripped arduously into my eyes and dribbled from my sunburnt neck…

Jerkfest 2016

July 27, 2016

Jerkfest 2016 By Immaculate Nyaigoti, Marketing Intern The summer heat has been brutal this year, so you know that you’re somewhere great when the heat is far from your mind. On June 25th, I had the opportunity to go to Boston JerkFest and deliver produce for the chef demos/cook offs as well as table for…

The Brexit, Immigration and Identity

July 13, 2016

The Brexit, Immigration and Identity By: Nicole Huang, Communications Intern Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, known as the “Brexit,” has been making headlines lately because of its huge political and economic implications. The resulting turmoil defies simple explanation. However, I want to call attention to one important piece of the puzzle–the fact that,…

Well-Wishers Campaign for Water

July 12, 2016

Well-Wishers Campaign for Water Somali-Bantu Community of Lewiston, ME: Partner Update By Julia Wachtel, Nashoba Regional High School Summer Intern World Farmers is proud to highlight the work of our partner: the Somali Bantu Community Mutual Assistance Association, a nonprofit organization that works towards helping Somali Bantu refugees in Lewiston, Maine. The Somali Bantu community…

Bob’s Turkey Farm Fire

July 12, 2016

Bob’s Turkey Farm Fire By Julia Wachtel, Nashoba Regional High School Summer Intern The World Farmers community wants to extend its sympathies to Richard Van Hoof and Susan Miner, for their recent loss. On June 30th they were struck by tragedy as 7,000 baby turkeys were killed in a barn fire at Bob’s Turkey Farm…

CROPS & RECIPES

Here at Flats Mentor Farm, we grow many different kinds of vegetables hailing from all over the world. The extensive selection of crops grown reflects the farmers' cultural ties and their communities' needs. Explore some of the more common crops grown at Flats Mentor Farm.

VIDEOS

Disclamer: World Farmers is not an incorporated educational institution. We do not have the authority to grant certificates, diplomas, or any other federally-recognized proof of qualifications. We are not a federally-approved lending institution, and as such do not provide grants, loans, or other direct monetary or financial support.