Agriculture is at the heart of our region’s history, and the culture of our local communities. As more farmers age out of the business, and many of their children choose other occupations, it’s vital to keep our local land in farming. Much like in the early 1900’s, when Polish immigrants took up plows and began cultivating the Pioneer Valley, today new immigrants stand ready to steward the land for a productive future.
Refugee and immigrant farmers in the Springfield area are building a food system by and for the community. They know intimately the needs and strengths of their communities and are working together to build a just local food system, one that is led by and serving some of our most marginalized neighbors.
Secure access to land is the number one barrier refugee and immigrant farmers face. Structural inequalities and wealth disparities bar these farmers from individually purchasing farmland, and land leases are often short-term. Kestrel Land Trust is working with our partner, All Farmers — a Springfield-based nonprofit — to find and acquire a piece of farmland for 60 of these multi-generational farm families. Kestrel has been partnering since 2019 with All Farmers to provide conserved farmland in Hatfield where the new Riquezas del Campo (“Riches of the Field”) Coop Farm has taken root.
All Farmers connects refugee and immigrant farmers with local farming networks to access the land, training, and resources they need to succeed. Their network is made up of lifelong family farmers from Africa and Asia who are committed to continuing their agricultural traditions here in the United States. The farmers currently supply produce to over 500 low-income families in Hampden County, and are seeking a permanent farm site on which to build their businesses and continue bringing healthy foods to our communities.
Do you have farmland that you want to keep in production? All Farmers wants to hear from you. You may contact Hannah Spare by phone at (413) 342-0064 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about this project, visit allfarmers.world/land.