Ep 138. Zachary Couture and Firmin Ntakimazi on Helping Former Refugees Have Thriving Farm Businesses

Who makes sure that the refugee farmers thrive too? 


Today on the Thriving Farmer Podcast we have with us Zachary Couture and Firmin Ntakimazi of Lutheran Services located in Des Moines, Iowa. Zachary is co-leader and developer of the Global Greens Program which reconnects former refugee farmers with the land as they build their new life in the U.S. Through Global Greens, farmers access space to grow food, learn more about U.S. agriculture, and start their own business by selling produce at farmers markets and through CSA. They connect former refugee families to small garden plots near their homes. Hear how theyi do all that they do!

In This Episode:

What Lutheran Services all about 2:11

About Lutheran’s training program 5:20

The scope of the community gardens 11:20

How many farmers work in the program 15:46

The main messages Firmin Ntakimazi needs to convey to these new farmers 20:05

What crops the refugees typically like to bring over 26:23

What has changed about agriculture in Iowa over the last 10 years 33:23

About the Guest:

Zachary Couture is a passionate farmer, teacher, and advocate whose experiences obligate him to positively transform our human communities and ecosystem. He is currently Land and Production Supervisor at Lutheran Services in Iowa, where for the last ten years he has co-led and developed the Global Greens Program into a successful model to incubate beginning New American vegetable farmers through production education, land access, strategic planning decisions, and market access. 

Firmin Ntakimazi is a translator for the program. He’s been involved in the project from its inception as a community leader helping bring the idea to Iowa, and now is an interpreter for the program.

Resources and mentions

Website – https://lsiowa.org/refugee/global-greens/

​​Resources – https://nesfp.org/new-american-resources

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/LSIGlobalGreens/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/lsiglobalgreens/

And if you want to keep the conversation going, join us in our Facebook Group to connect with us and other farmers looking to grow their business!

We also have six free eguides to help you be more effective on your farm (Winter Growing, Pastured Poultry, Washing Shed Efficiency, Profitable Farmers Toolkit, What to Look for in a Farm Property, etc), which you can download here.