Kilimo Minnesota offers a three to five year training program that includes hands-on organic vegetable farming, marketing and sales experience, group classes, networking with other farmers and one-on-one business mentoring. The program, founded by and for farmers of African descent, is uniquely situated to give emerging farmers an opportunity to learn growing techniques and business skills in a new climate, country and culture while in a comfortable peer setting.
We started the program two years ago with 13 farmers, which quickly grew to 19 the following year. We have now grown so much that we are leasing additional land in Lino Lakes and Corcoran, Minnesota. We are excited about this new space, which will ease some transportation barriers for farmers commuting from the Cities up to our farm in Cambridge every day, but this new land lacks essential farming infrastructure.
Right now our biggest challenge is financing infrastructure for our new communal farm sites. We would like to raise $30,000 by the end of May 2022 to prepare the land in Lino Lakes with basic amenities crucial to farming.
We would like to invest in:
--Deer fence to protect organic vegetable crops from thousands of dollars of damage caused by deer and other pests each season
--Refrigeration unit to improve produce quality and keep fruits and vegetables fresh after harvesting. Refrigeration also improves farmers’ quality of life, allowing us to harvest and work more regular schedules, rather than harvesting late at night when it’s cool or in the early morning before farmers markets
--Packing shade for washing produce on-site
--Well and irrigation (2021 was a bad year for farmers who had no irrigation)
Thank you in advance for your contribution! Any amount you contribute goes a long way to support us. Please remember to share your love for local, organic farming by sharing this fundraiser with family and friends!
When Lonah and I immigrated to Minnesota from rural farming communities in Kenya, we observed a common path for newcomers in the United States was to settle in communities where other countrymen had settled and to take jobs that others before them had taken, often in urban centers. In this, we saw a risk of losing their connection with the land and, consequently, their cultural roots. We decided to stick with farming and are now passionate about creating a community to help others do so too.
Learn more about our story, and the need for our farmer training program by visiting the Kilimo Minnesota website.
We also accept:
Tax exempt donations through our 501(c)3 fiscal sponsor, Renewing the Countryside
Photos from Selena Salfen