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A Return to Farming: Pine Island Farm

Chuda Dhaurali, a Bhutanese refugee in his thirties, lives in Colchester at the end of Pine Island Road, a mile-long lane with fields on both sides.

Traveling there on a summer day, you’ll pass an enclosure, within which young goats nibble at the grass and at each other’s forelegs. Ever curious, their eyes follow each passer-by.

Chuda lives on Pine Island Farm with his wife, Gita, and their daughters. A sign in front of the farmhouse reads: Vermont Goat Collaborative.

The collaborative is even younger than the goats, and is the first endeavor taking place on the farm as part of a partnership of VLT and the Association of Africans Living in Vermont (AALV).

The project will expand on an AALV program called New Farms for New Americans (NFNA), whose mission is to help new Americans with agricultural backgrounds find garden space and resources, and to help those who are interested in becoming independent farmers. The program has served more than 100 households whose members come from Africa and Asia.

When VLT purchased the farm at auction in 2012, neither the Goat Collaborative nor the NFNA program was on its radar screen.

“We just knew it would be a mistake not to try to buy it,” said VLT’s Siobhan Smith.

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