NH refugee organization seeking to purchase Dunbarton farmland
DUNBARTON - A local group that supports refugees settled in New Hampshire is launching a fundraising campaign to purchase farmland and support farmers working toward self-sustainability.
The Organization for Refugee and Immigrant success (ORIS) has helped 14 farmers develop a plot of land in Dunbarton that has allowed them to grow produce and sell it at local stands and farmers markets.
"Self-sustainability means that they're able to get off social services and provide for them and their families," said Wendy Stevens, ORIS Program Manager.
The farmers are now American citizens who want to purchase the land. The current owners have been invested in the project and with the assistance of The Russell Farm & Forest Conservation Foundation the plan is to purchase the 56.8 acres for about 40 percent of it's current value, Stevens said.
According to a press release the farmer entrepreneurs represent the Somali-Bantu, Bhutanese, Burundi, and Congolese communities, as well as other ethnic groups all permanently relocated to America through our established legal process and review.
The campaign hopes to raise $20,000.
Some who are close to the immigration community are concerned whether President-Elect Donald Trump will enforce his hard line on immigration laws. Stevens and her colleague said it's important to remain optimistic.
"We want to do everything we can to help refugees, even more than from last week so we're just trying to keep it positive," Stevens said.
"People from New Hampshire or New England in general should get behind the things that they think possibly may be changing to a different direction with the new administration," said Tom Paulsen, Farm Manager.
To donate to the project, click here.