The Yazidi are an ethnic, non-Muslim group from the northern region of Iraq. They have faced persecution many times, most recently by ISIS in August 2014. Hundreds of thousands of Yazidi were forced to flee their homes and many have found their way to Lincoln, Nebraska.
The first Yazidi family moved to Lincoln in 1997, and since then the population has grown to about 3,000, the largest in the U.S. From the beginning, the refugees have faced many challenges: learning English, overcoming trauma, and finding new jobs and ways to keep their culture alive.
The agricultural foundation of Lincoln’s good life is familiar to the Yazidis, as many come from generations of farmers and the majority of Yazidis have family gardens.
Community Crops wanted to get back to our roots and help this community thrive in their new home – the Yazidi Farmer Outreach and Education Project is the best way to do that. As part of the local food economy, why not invite others to join us?
The Project hopes to offer Yazidis the chance at financial freedom, a healthier lifestyle and satisfaction in their job. Most Yazidis came from a home where gardening was a vital part of their life. This project will allow them to hone their innate skills and learn how to convert them into an income-generating small business or a career.
We at Community Crops support local farming, food accessibility and the creation of sustainable business.
The Yazidi Farmer Outreach and Education Project will be headquartered at Prairie Pines and will include classes, training, technical assistance and land access so that the Yazidis have a starting blueprint. The end goal is for the Yazidis to enhance and strengthen their farming skills and eventually start their own farming business.
The Yazidi community is already familiar with growing crops native to their culture. As a result, a large part of their diet is vegetables. Yazidis love their native varieties of tomatoes, parsley, cucumber, eggplant, potato, peppers, swiss chard, zucchini, radish, fava bean, apples, and watercress.
Below are few recipes you can try from the Yazidi culture. This summer, you’ll find their produce available at the Veggie Van and other locations soon to come!