Batula grew up in Somalia within a province called Berbera. She worked as a farmer for decades in Somalia before leaving because of the civil war. Reflecting on the ways farming differed in Somalia compared to her current farming in the United States, Batula emphasized the the difference of seasons. She explained that back home in Somalia there are two growing seasons, whereas here there is only one. As a result, she thinks that here, when farming in the United States, right when you feel that you are doing good, and moving forward, the snow comes. Batula is a farmer with New Roots, which is cooperative farm based in Lewiston, Maine that she has established with other farmers initially from Somalia whom she met during her time in refugee camps. In the United States, the relationships among the New Roots farmers built. Batula’s goal for New Roots is to have successful farming and business to support themselves and others in the community. Considering the community culture in Somalia versus here in Lewiston, Batula remarked that back home people are connected and interact practically all the time. People frequently share resources at their farms, in the village, or at markets. In her experience, people are more isolated here, socializing only when bringing kids to buses, or when attending classes or community service centers. In contrast, the farming that she is doing in community brings people together. Batula has nine children and hopes that they will continue the practice of farming,although she is uncertain whether all of them will.
April 25, 2018
Hi Batula, I appreciate your hard work and delicious produce! Look forward to seeing you at the Kennebunk Farmers Market.