Wednesday, August 3, 2011


This summer, Dave and I are mentoring a young man who is part of the sustainable food production program at the local college in Fergus Falls. Hashi lived the first twelve years of his life as a nomadic goat herder in Somalia. The next fifteen he spent in a refugee camp in Kenya. His dream is to manage a farm. Right now, he lives in an apartment with his wife and four children and works part time for us when he isn’t in school.

Hashi’s memories of goat herding in Somalia include searching for water, leading the goats to food, and protecting them from lions, tigers and hyenas. In Pelican Rapids, he has learned to repair gates, kill thistles, drive a tractor and haybine, and perhaps most importantly in a garden on our farm, has learned what plants grow well in west central Minnesota. His children don’t like the lettuce that has grown so spectacularly this summer. He’s not sure what to do with the broccoli, romanesco, and cauliflower even though I’ve given him recipes, because his wife has never cooked from written recipes. They are really looking forward to the tomatoes and the melons and squash in the fall.

About the time he harvests his first American squash, we will add ten South African Boer goats to our flock, and next summer, Hashi will help us sell kids to Somalis as well as lambs to the Bosnians as he teaches us how to be goatherds.

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