Introducing Numuna Farm
Meet Dil Barakoti, an avid gardener and Bhutanese immigrant from Nepal. His son sold produce this weekend at the Kingfield Farmers Market with great success. Thanks to all you shoppers!
Story by Sarah Beahan; Photos by Laura Hedeen
Dil Barakoti’s community garden was a marvel. By all accounts, it was so beautiful that people would stop on the street and take photos. Dil loves to grow things and it is clearly in his DNA. His whole family has been involved in farming in one way or another.
Dil is a Bhutanese refugee from Nepal. He spent 20 years living in a refugee camp in Nepal before coming to the United States in 2009. He was a carpenter in Nepal, but he came from a family of farmers. They farmed corn, rice and potatoes. Here in the United States, Dil has taken what he knows of farming from his family and embarked on a new farming experience.
“We never used chemicals in Bhutan. All of our crops were grown without chemicals, from livestock to the oranges and lemons,” Dil says. He continues to embrace organic farming through the Farmer Training Program. He feels good about this way of farming, because most of his crops are used to feed his family. And that is nothing to sneeze at—all told his family totals 40-50 people!
Dil hopes to continue to support himself and his fam
ily with what he grows. “This is my job. It pays the rent, supports my family,” Dil says. He sold much of the produce he grows at the community garden, but his involvement with the Farmer Training Program has allowed him to learn a great deal more about where and how to market his crops. He is learning that there are more places to sell what he’s produced than just farmer’s markets. Dil is growing onions, cauliflower, carrots, cilantro, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini and kale, but his favorite vegetables to grow are potatoes and tomatoes. He and his family prepare them in spicy curries and soup.
“This is my first year. I had no idea how hard it would be. But I am learning how to run the business,” Dil says. Between learning about irrigation, cultivating new crops and learning about the wholesale “This is my job. It pays the rent, supports my family.” market, on top of commuting back and forth to the farm, the learning curve has been steep. Dil continues to cultivate a quarter-acre plot at Big River Farms, maintains a community garden and also has a backyard garden.
“It is exactly as I imagined it,” Dil says. Despite the challenges, when he looks five or ten years into the future, he hopes to be doing the same thing. First a quarter acre, then a whole acre,then, who knows?”
Sarah Beahan is a volunteer writer for MFA.
Laura Hedeen is the Program Manager at MFA.