Grow North Farm offers fresh produce for the season
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A farm in Mountain View that welcomes refugees from all over the world had its opening day of the season on Thursday.
Grow North Farm, located at 3701 Mountain View Drive, operates a farmers market every Thursday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. offering produce and hot foods on site. It also features a produce stand that’s open every weekday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Grow North is a joint project between Catholic Social Services and the Anchorage Community Land Trust. It started three years ago with the goal of giving refugees space to grow and sell their own produce, and begin their own businesses.
“I think what’s cool about Grow North Farm is really connecting people without spaces to spaces without people,” said Land Trust CEO Kirk Rose. “You know, this was a vacant lot in Mountain View and look at it today. There’s businesses launching out of it, there’s money being made, there’s wealth being generated. It’s an amazing testament to the talents of this community and just a little bit of opportunity.”
CSS Refugee Agriculture Coordinator Keenan Plate said most refugees begin in a cooperative farming program called Fresh International Gardens or FIG.
“We teach newly arrived refugees about growing food here in Alaska and then we sell that food at farmers markets and contracts with restaurants,” Plate said.
Refugees split the profits according to how many manhours they’ve put into the program. Plate said interested refugees can take the next step and start their own businesses by leasing a plot at Grow North Farm. The Anchorage Community Land Trust can help with marketing and other more advanced business skills.
Plate said the money farmers make helps their families get by or is put toward bigger goals, such as saving for college or a first home. The community, he said, also has a benefit — fresh produce straight from the farm.
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