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August 31, 2020

New Mainers group raises $367K to purchase Androscoggin County farm

photo / courtesy Sijie Yuan Gamana Yarow, of Lewiston, works a plot of land through Liberation Farms, a community farming program of the Somali Bantu Community Association.

After last week completing a $367,000 crowdfunding campaign that included over 1,500 donors, a Lewiston-based group of New Mainers plans to purchase a 104-acre farm in the nearby Androscoggin County town of Wales.

The Somali Bantu Community Association will lease the organic farm, which an affiliated nonprofit trust, the Little Jubba Central Maine Agrarian Commons, plans to purchase by the end of September, the groups said online Friday.

The purchase will expand the SBCA's Liberation Farms community farming business, providing more land for members to sustainably produce vegetables and flint corn to support themselves and to sell within the Lewiston-Auburn area.

The purchase price is $430,000, according to the association, and includes a house and barns. Other details were not immediately available.

The association, founded in 2005, provides advocacy and transitional services for Bantu refugees from Somalia, a minority group with about 3,000 members in the area.

Among the donations to the campaign, two-thirds were from individual Mainers, who together provided 38% of the funds or an average of about $140 apiece, according to the SBCA. Also contributing money or other resources were over 70 agriculture-related business partnerships, including the Maine Farmland Trust, Maine Organic Farming and Gardening Association and Slow Money Maine.

The campaign launched two months ago with initial hope of reaching its fundraising goal by Dec. 1.

SBCA Executive Director Muhdin Libah said in a statement, “Home in our community means a place that is safe and secure, where we can farm freely and where we can exercise our cultural traditions. Getting this property will check all the boxes and for the first time we have a place we call home.”

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August 31, 2020

This is a wonderful story and I am delighted for the SBCA!

August 31, 2020

Beautiful! May you be successful in your new land!!

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