AKRON, Ohio — One neighborhood in Akron is proving to be a welcoming place for resettled refugees, and a place promoting the agricultural heritage and customs of immigrants and refugees who call Akron’s North Hill neighborhood home.
Started in 2017, Shanti Community Farms is an educational urban farm project that aims to provide a space where resettled refugees and immigrants can showcase their farming methods and traditions to the Akron community. The farm also partnered with North High School to provide a farm-to-school summer camp for 40 kids who learn gardening, how to run a farmer’s market and pick up any tutoring lessons when needed.
Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, students were able to get outdoors and learn how to grow vegetables and sell them at a community farmer's market.
"Where else can you go see Congolese dancers at a farmer’s market? It embodies what North Hill is all about," said one of the co-founders of the farms.
The Early Learning program at North High (nursery school) also partnered with Shanti's farm-to-school program to raise chickens in their classroom.
Shanti Farms also runs an outdoor work crew division with trained youth to work on city vacant lots, churches and local businesses.
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