New York’s Ever-Growing Family Farm grew it’s first-ever commercial rice crop using West African farming traditions in 2015.
The Ulster Park-based farm is run by the husband and wife team Nfamara Badjie and Dawn Hoyte, who bought a house and six acres in New York State in 2013.
Nfamara Badjie is originally from a small Jola tribe village in Gambia, who are renowned in West Africa for their rice-growing expertise.
Eager to continue that rice-farming tradition in New York State, the husband-and-wife team joined forces with Moustapha Diedhiou, a cousin from a Jola village in Senegal, and began exploring the idea of growing rice on their land, that can flourish in New York State’s shorter, cooler growing season.
Ever-Growing Family Farm started with a few tablespoons of seed they got from a rice farmer in Vermont, as well as a tiny amount of seed from the USDA Seed Bank.
Among the varieties of rice they grow include red rice, black rice, sake rice, risotto rice, nanatsuboshi rice, and koshihikari rice.
During the harvest, Ever-Growing Family Farm and a team of volunteers honour the bounty by playing traditional African drums in the field to celebrate.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living