City of Boise making room for refugee gardens

Posted at 4:38 PM, Jul 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-23 20:11:53-04

The City of Boise is demolishing two homes they have deemed uninhabitable to make room for more gardening space for the nonprofit Global Gardens.

"What we do is help refugees grow their small farm businesses. We give them access to some land that is owned by the city at least by us for that purpose," said Katie Painter the Project Manager for Global Gardens.

Right now, the Global Gardens on Pond Street sits on roughly 4 acres of land in about 2 1/2 of it is in cultivation.

"It was definitely a great addition to our program to find this much continuous space that we can garden," said Painter.

Six farmers are growing just about everything you can imagine.

"We have squash, zucchini, and kale," said Abdikadir Chimwaga, a refugee farmer.

"Usually when they come here to Boise, they are re-settled into an apartment complex where they don't have room to garden or grow," explained Painter.

Chimwaga takes advantage of the space that Global Gardens offers him, growing on roughly 1 acre of the land. He sells all of his products at the Capitol City Market and through a subscription service which he said allows him to really set his roots here in the Treasure Valley.

"To do this is like surviving. You get money and you have food. You don't have to go to the grocery store to buy food or anything," said Chimwaga

He said he used to have another job but then the demands of the garden became too much especially since he doesn't use any chemicals. His products are completely organic so they require a lot more TLC.

"Tuesday I have to harvest. Wednesday I have to take them to Meridian for CSA members. Friday I have to harvest. Saturday I take them downtown to the Capitol City Market," said Chimwaga.

He said the other three days of the week he's planting, growing, and making sure everything is coming up correctly.

"Soon maybe we are going to be a big company," said Chimwaga.

He said he can't put into words how much he appreciates everything that Global Gardens has done for him. Now with the addition of the land from the homes, Global Gardens hopes to help even more refugees.

"They love being downtown at the market and integrating into the wider community. They love talking to Boise born customers about their experience and their farm in their products so it's all very rewarding," said Painter.