Little Jubba Central Maine Agrarian Commons
In June of 2020, we toured a prospective 104 acre organic farm in Wales, Maine as part of our journey to find a permanent home for our organization and land security for over 210 families who participate in the Liberation Farms program.
On August 24, 2020, just a few months later and with the support of the Agrarian Trust, we raised the initial $367,000 to acquire this land. We received contributions from individuals, businesses, organizations, and foundations all across the country. Some of the folks who showed up the most for us were fellow farmers here in Maine. We will always be grateful for everyone that made our dream of owning farmland a reality.
The Little Jubba Central Maine Agrarian Commons is connected to a rich collaboration and partnership among multiple organizations, including ourselves (the Somali Bantu Community Association of Maine), Agrarian Trust, Cooperative Development Institute, Land For Good, Land in Common, Maine Farmland Trust, and American Farmland Trust. Together, these organizations have supported us in addressing land access challenges, guiding us through a process of learning about land tenure options and land seeking. The decision to form this Agrarian Commons is the latest step in securing farmland tenure for generations of Somali Bantu agrarians to come. We chose the name Little Jubba Central Maine to describe our relationship to land, the Jubba River Valley being our ancestral farmland and Central Maine being our home now and the place where we can safely continue our generational farming practices.
For our people, food security is inherently tied to land security, hence the reason we started this land search. Since 200+ farmers in the Liberation Farms program can grow their own, culturally preferred foods, they have enhanced food security via better control of the source of their food. With a 99-year equitable rolling lease, the Agrarian Commons model is an example of working to counter the food insecurity that exists in the region by securing land for farmers to directly improve their food security.
Somali Bantu Community Association finds farmland
Little Jubba Central Maine Agrarian Commons Board Members
- Muhidin Libah
- Gamana A. Yarow
- Sahal A. Jimale
- Alivia Moore
- Ian McSweeney
- Ashley Bahlkow
- Lana Cannon Dracup
- “We’re trying to recreate the lives we had: the Somali migrants who became Maine farmers,” by Audrea Lim, The Guardian, February, 25, 2021.
- NPR: A Community Approach to Farmland
- Maine Monitor: Farming helps reduce food insecurity among Somali Bantu community in Lewiston-Auburn
- Mainebiz: New Mainers group raises $367K to purchase Androscoggin County farm
- Sun Journal: Wales land opens world of possibilities for Somali Bantu farmers
- FOX22: Farmers help Somali Bantu community buy community farm
- WGME (Video): Somali immigrants find dream farming land in Wales
- Civil Eats: Could Putting Farmland in the Commons Support Land Justice and Sustainability?
- Downeast Magazine: Maine’s Somali Bantus Are Reenvisioning American Farming
- The Legal Reader: The Grain in Maine (Milk and Veggies Too!)
- America’s Test Kitchen: The Somali Farmer Rises