Mediatrice is a first-year farmer in the New Roots for Refugees program.
Mediatrice is from Africa. It is the place where she learned about farming. It is also where she became a refugee.
Originally from Burundi, Mediatrice and her family lived in a refugee camp in Tanzania. She was resettled by Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas five years ago. She came to the United States, along with her husband and two children.
Although her journey was hard, it was made a little easier with the support of Catholic Charities. The agency helped with the necessities of housing, food and clothing. In 2019, she joined the New Roots for Refugees training program, which empowers refugees to start farm businesses. For Mediatrice, it was an opportunity to continue a profession that she loves.
“I want to encourage people to love farming, like I do,” she said. “It is a really good job where I have met so many different people from so many different backgrounds.”
Mediatrice grows and sells African vegetables. She does that in part so that her children do not forget their African culture. She is also embracing her new culture by taking English classes at Kansas City Kansas Community College. She is very proud of how much of the language she has already mastered. The idea of someday taking other classes excites her.
“In my country, there is no opportunity for a mother to go to school. A mother has to take care of her family,” she said. “But here, a mother can still take care of her family and get an education.”
Her greatest hope for the future is to leave a legacy for her children.
"I want to be able to leave my kids their own house. A house which I bought myself."
Support Refugee Farmers like Mediatrice
The New Roots for Refugees program empowers families to start farm businesses growing produce according to organic standards. For the past decade New Roots for Refugees has supported families from the refugee community in establishing their own farm businesses primarily selling through farmer’s markets, CSA (community supported agriculture), and wholesale to local restaurants.