“In Burma, I lived in a village. Life is so risky inside a Burmese village,” Pa says. “Here, we can go to any area. We are free.”
All ethnic Karen refugees at Transplanting Traditions Community Farm were farmers in their native Burma, but there they grew food primarily for their families. Here, they’re selling the fruits of their labor, grown in the stubborn clay soil that requires an extra bit of muscle. They have found a four-season climate that is often unreliable, killing the lemongrass they planted on an unseasonably warm day in February. They begin working in the fields in the late morning after working a third-shift housekeeping job and before going to English-language classes.