Meet the Farmers:
2019 Growers at the Incubator Farm
In 2019, the farm is filled to capacity supporting 11 farming operations, with approximately 30 individuals including partners and family directly involved in the growing. This year, 8 of the 11 enterprises are refugee-owned and specialize in producing Southeast Asian vegetable varieties. Growers have 1/8 - 1/2 acre in production. Through this program, growers benefit from (1) launching or growing their business, (2) gaining supplemental income through sales, (3) feeding themselves and their family, and for the refugee growers, (4) selling/sharing culturally significant foods with the community that are otherwise not available locally.
Poe Htoo & Paw Beler
Poe Htoo and Paw Beler are in their 3rd year in program. Poe Htoo has a deep love for working the land and built a greenhouse at his home for seed starting and growing heat-loving crops. He sells at a pop-up farmers market in Buffalo, NY and preserves a lot of his produce.
Eh De Wah
Eh De is the newest farmer at the Incubator, and works with his wife Si Si and his mom. They plan to focus their 1st year on improving their growing techniques.
Flowersmith Farm focuses on sustainably-grown, specialty cut flowers for flower lovers all over the Finger Lakes Region. You can find their bouquets at Greenstar Cooperative Market. Owner, Alison is entering her 3rd year and growing on 1/8-acre.
Khin Khin and his wife have been growing on 1/8 acre at the Incubator Farm for several years. Besides growing beautiful vegetables, Khin Khin often supports the other farmers and the Farm Manager via language interpretation.
Paw Pha has been growing at the Incubator for 5 years, and played a major role in recruiting and supporting the other refugee farmers. He grows Southeast Asian veggies which he has sold via CSA, wholesale, and at market.
Sea Nee Sow
Sea Nee Sow and his wife Gaw Paw are entering their 3rd year with Groundswell. Sea Nee Sow grew up in a farming family growing rice, beans, vegetables, fruit, peanuts, sesame seeds, and raising cows and chickens. He worked in sawmills while in refugee camps in Thailand and now in Ithaca.
Ability in Bloom
Ability in Bloom is a social enterprise program of Challenge Workforce Solutions. Through 1/4 acre flower production, they provide work skills training for a dedicated group of 20 adults with barriers to employment. They sell through a 40-member flower CSA.
Eh Say & Ka Leet
After several years at the Incubator, Eh Say has expanded into a new plot and is working closely with family friends. She grows vegetables and also has a love for flowers.
William and his wife Naw Poe Htoo moved to Ithaca in 2007 and have three young children. Entering his 2nd year, he plans to grow food for his family and markets in Buffalo. William is especially interested in learning to grow vegetables in greenhouses and high tunnels.
Eh Hser grows Southeast Asian crops on 1/4 acre (year 4). Most of his produce has been for consumption and preservation by his family, but he is interested in selling his vegetables as well.
Ti Hla does not have her own plot at the Incubator Farm but is out working in the fields nearly every day supporting her family members who grow at the Farm including her sons Khin Khin and Paw Pha (2 of Ti Hla's 16 children), and her brother Poe Htoo.
Surik was the first Incubator Farm graduate. He grows vegetables, fruits, and nursery trees at his home in Ithaca and on various small leased plots around town. In 2019, he planted a 75-tree orchard at the Incubator Farm!
Gil's Honey Bees
Gil’s Honeybees is a small, family owned apiary in Ithaca NY, managed by Naama and Gil Menda. They have beehives at several EcoVillage farms, including the Incubator Farm. Although they are not enrolled in the Groundswell Program, their bees support a healthy pollinator ecosystem that benefits the crops.
Taylor came to the Incubator Farm with a background in biodynamic farming and permaculture. She grew herbs and vegetables on the farm for two years and is still actively involved locally in land-based pursuits. We're always happy to see Taylor at Groundswell events.
Ye Myint grew up on a 2-acre grapefruit farm in Burma. While at the Incubator Farm, Ye was a Sushi chef and grew vegetables for his business.
As a child, Damon was exposed to farming via his family in Bermuda. When he moved to Ithaca in 2004, he worked on several local farms, started a fresh veggie juice business, and ultimately founded Roots Rising, a gardening education program for kids.
Jenn was only enrolled in the program for one-year but used that time to experiment with veggie crops which she now grows on her homestead / farm Heritage Haus Farm in Berkshire, NY.