New American Farmers
In the past decade, the United States has accepted hundreds of thousands of African, Middle Eastern and Central Asian refugees and asylum seekers to become lawful American citizens and productive members of society. The current administration has announced that it will slash the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. to just 30,000 in 2019 – the lowest cap set since the creation of the refugee program in 1980. In New Hampshire, 362 new refugees were resettled in 2017. In 2018, that number dwindled to just 150. Unfortunately, many of them are experiencing great difficulties in adjusting and relating to their new environment and community. Living in a state that is 93.6% white (New Hampshire) I found these migrant communities nearly invisible and often looked down upon by their new neighbors.
Several NGOs have stepped forward in the absence of government assistance and support to make sure these individuals and families are integrating into the fabric of America and have the means to support themselves and their families. The Organization for Refugee and Immigrant Success includes a collective of immigrant farmers called Fresh Start Farms. Since 2018 I have been involved with these farms on several tiers alongside my photographic practice. I strive to help make their work appreciated and supported using my large format camera and being engaged with their work and life on the farm on a weekly basis.