The New Entry Sustainable Farming Project (New Entry) trains the next generation of farmers to produce food that is sustainable, nutritious and culturally appropriate. New Entry works to make sure this food is accessible to individuals regardless of age, mobility, ethnicity or socio-economic status.
One of New Entry’s main programs provides small-scale, limited-resource farmers with skills they need to scale up their farm enterprises. Recently, they worked with 11 farmers to provide microloans. One farmer who received technical assistance and a microloan was Phalla Nol, who is originally from Battambang, a western province of Cambodia. While still very young, Phalla recalls accompanying her father—the mayor of their city—to his potato farm. Phalla’s father was one of New Entry’s first growers. She says, while she didn’t feel farming was always in her blood, it was her father who inspired her to dig deeper. After he passed, she honored his legacy by continuing his farm. Cultural food traditions are the heart of any community, and Phalla helps keep these alive by growing and selling popular Asian vegetables. Market goers crowd around her stands, drawn by the display of uncommon delights, from bitter melon to pumpkin vines and amaranth leaves.
Phalla was able to receive technical assistance from New Entry’s expert staff to produce, harvest and sell produce at five markets in the greater Boston area, and she was one of the most prolific suppliers for New Entry’s World PEAS Food Hub in 2014. Phalla paid off her microloan early in the season, allowing her to earn a healthy income from her sales for the remainder of the season.
Farm Aid grants help New Entry develop sustainable programs with both short-term and long-term benefits. In the short term, funding allows the organization to establish and grow programs that are important to farmer success. In the long term, they can provide one-on-one assistance to farmers in order to best utilize the resources and services available. “Farm Aid is of the few funders with expertise, focus and passion for farmers and farming issues. Farm Aid understands the realities of farming and challenges facing the small-scale farmer. Farm Aid understands what we do, and why we do it. This mutual understanding translates into direct benefits for New Entry farmers.”