Refugee Farmers

When Seynab Ali flew to the United States, she tied herself to her children because she was afraid she would lose them in the air. Fear kept her awake the entire 20 hour flight from a refugee camp in Kenya to the United States.

Standing in the middle of her field surrounded by acres of quiet farmland, Ali laughed remembering that first flight. Her face happy and relaxed, it is difficult to imagine this strong, confidant woman afraid of anything.

In the early 2000s, fleeing an incredibly violent civil war, thousands of Somali refugees were granted asylum in the United States. Drawn by affordable rent, safe neighborhoods, and a growing Somali community, hundreds of refugees began settling in Lewiston, Maine.

These images are a selection from a larger project about refugee farmers building new lives, and their growing role in the future of American agriculture.

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