US (WA): Immigrant farmers revive dormant greenhouse

A group of immigrant farmers is bringing life back to a campus of dormant greenhouses south of Seattle, growing a variety of vegetables seldom found in American supermarkets.

Inside one of eight climate-regulated greenhouses, and flourishing alongside the radishes and onions, is row after row of spider plants and amaranth—“ethnic vegetables,” the farmers call them, the newest superfoods.

The first harvest will be available at the East Hill Farmers Market in the city of Kent. The market, which opens Friday and runs through the fall, is operated by Living Well Kent, a grassroots collaborative led almost exclusively by immigrants, refugees, and people of color.

“Some of these are produce we as immigrants use at home,” says David Bulindah, a Kenyan native who heads the farming enterprise “We planted the radishes for this [American] market, but we also wanted to create a new market with ethnic vegetables, knowing that with their nutritional value, many people would enjoy those, too.”

The farmers expect to grow at least 10 different kinds of greenhouse-produced vegetables, from tomatoes to cucumbers, cowpeas to spinach, not only for sale in the farmers market, but also to donate to area food banks.

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