Providence Farm Collective offers grassroots farm programs aimed at meeting the expressed needs of and empowering refugee, immigrant, BIPOC, and low-income communities.
PFC’s programs are intentionally unique in many ways. They honor the inter-generational ways our communities organize and work, as well as support culturally- and linguistically-relevant ways of learning. PFC’s programs also uplift community-led autonomy, embracing the different ways its farmers tend the land, grow produce, and raise livestock.
”“Farming at PFC has lots of benefits for me; enjoying exercise and time outside spent at the farm; earning money to support my family; getting more experience farming; and being able to teach my grandchildren about farming and our history in agriculture”MageneyMgambo Farm
Incubator Farm Program
PFC’s 3-year Incubator Farm Program provides farmers the opportunity to start their own farm and develop a business. Each farmer receives a 1/4 acre of plowed, fenced, and fertilized farmland. In addition, farmers receive access to agricultural and business workshops, 1-on-1 technical assistance, marketing opportunities, tools, seeds, and plants.
Community Organization Farm Plots
PFC’s Community Organization Plot Program provides community organizations with 1-acre plots of prepared farmland. Participating organizations also receive access to agricultural resources and educational opportunities. Community organizations focus on building food security and increased access to traditional foods within their communities.
Demonstration Farm Plot
PFC runs a demonstration plot for training purposes and program income generation. Hands-on training takes place on the plot throughout the growing season. PFC’s demonstration plot promotes food security by selling to wholesale outlets focused on serving communities in need of fresh food access.
”“The kids have a great connection to each other, they built relationships with each other. The Summer Youth Employment Program helped build relationships within the community between the youth and elders, too. They did not know how to farm, so they got a lot of experience, especially with the crops so they got connected to farming. Also, they brought income home which helped with school supplies and clothing which helped the kids and the family.”AliSomali Bantu Community Organization
Each summer, Providence Farm Collective (PFC) hosts up to 80 youth from its refugee and immigrant communities—including Somali Bantu, Liberian, Congolese, Karenni, and Burundi communities—at PFC’s 37-acre farm for 8 weeks of summer programming in July and August.
Teens work directly with members of their communities to learn about sustainable farming practices and traditional African and Asian crops. They also assist with planting, cultivating, and harvesting in their community plots. Each day, farm-to-table lunches are prepared for and with the help of the teens, solidifying the connection of the farm to food. Teens also participate in agrarian cultural celebrations—such as Kulimbula, the African maize harvest festival—and related workshops, such as indigo dyeing with Stitch Buffalo.
Through their hands-on experiences with farming and food, youth develop knowledge of and connections to their culture, plus respect for the heritages of their peers. As a result of exploring and celebrating their culture and connecting with their community, young adults develop self-acceptance, confidence, dignity and a sense of belonging.
Produce Aggregation for Local Food Pantries
When harvest began in 2021, PFC partnered with regional foundations to introduce a unique, grassroots, and community-led solution to bolstering food security with dignity and take action for change, not charity.
Farmers sold crops to PFC for aggregation and donation to food pantries based in and directly serving their own communities in Buffalo. Farmers received fair wholesale prices, plus an organic premium for their crops to reward them for the good stewardship of the land and to value their labor.
PFC staff then worked to coordinate availability and harvests with farmers and the food pantries, aggregate the produce, and deliver the produce at no cost to West Side Community Services, Community Action Organization, Salvation Army, and Friend of Night People. Additionally, FeedMore WNY purchased produce from PFC at low cost.
The food pantries then distributed the freshly harvested, culturally relevant produce for free to refugee, immigrant, Black, and low-income individuals and families facing food insecurity.
Not only are the farmers excited by the opportunity to earn fair income while feeding their community members, the food pantries and recipients are thrilled to have equitable access to nourishing, fresh food with dignity that meets diverse traditional, religious, and dietary needs. With income earned through their farms, farmers are actively increasing their financial stability, as well as reinvesting in their communities and the local economy. This is the grassroots change that is required to uproot inequity and insecurity on our food system.
”“The community members are happy to get the fresh food because they are supporting their community members who grew it. The community members like our food because they know it's organic and they know that we, their community members, grew it and how we grew it. Health wise it’s very good. The farmer gets health benefits and so do the consumers. We are glad that PFC provides everything that we need.”Soe RehOur Lady of Hope, Karenni