Finding a Home in Farming
By Hamadi Mganga, he/him
Alam is Providence Farm Collective’s newest incubator farmer. Providence Farm Collective, or PFC, is a nonprofit organization located at 5701 Burton Road that provides access to food and farmland to under-resourced people. He originally comes from Bangladesh which is an agricultural country. When he immigrated to the United States, Alam had a sense of homesickness and missed the foods he used to eat. It was very difficult to find long squash, bitter gourd, amaranth, or taro from back home.
After finding out about Providence Farm Collective, Alam was able to grow long squash, ginger, specialty squash, and green chiles on the ¼ acre he was provided. He also receives technical training and shared farm tools that would be otherwise inaccessible.
He emphasizes how farming is a full-time commitment. It requires a great deal of time, patience, and physical labor. The climate and weather are other layers of hurdles that create uncertainty about the success of your efforts. This year’s unusually dry weather hindered the growth of his crops which he intended to sell at the farmers’ market. Despite this, he finds there is a therapeutic aspect to the work. He is comforted by the quiet, solitary moments where he can self-reflect. Being alone in nature yet among a larger community of support, growing the foods he used to eat at home, gives him peace. Alam shares, “At the end of it all, harvesting what you sowed with your hands gives you a sense of pride that is unmatched.”
Hamadi Mganga is Marketing Coordinator at Providence Farm Collective. He inspires to highlight the stories of farmers in WNY.