Whether as a contributor, strategic storyteller, editor or content writer, I identify and communicate “the story” in relatable and compelling language that engages and enlightens readers.

The African Alliance of Rhode Island brings pop-up markets to underserved communities

STATES OF FARMING: Another n a series of occasional stories looking at BIPOC farmers in New England. By Jocelyn Ruggiero Globe correspondent, August 3, 2021 PROVIDENCE — It’s a sticky 91 degrees on a late Friday afternoon in July, and although the chalk-decorated A-frame sign announces “Pop-Up Market,” the sidewalk outside the Urban Greens Food Co-Op in the West End feels more like a block party. A DJ moves in rhythm as he blasts Michael Jackson’s “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin.” Pedestrians pause as women in colorful African fabrics lift produce from vehicles parked curbside and pile it high in orderly rows of wicker baskets on three long plastic folding tables covered in floral vinyl tablecloths, under which hangs a banner that reads “AARI Bami Farm,” the African Alliance of Rhode Island. The eldest of the women, 63-year-old Garmi Mawolo, wears a blue and yellow head wrap. She settles into a plastic folding chair and waits for customers. Read Full Article

Alongside a career in IT, Robert Chang forges a new life as a farmer, while advocating for farmers of color in Southern New England

‘I want to help them and others find a way out of no way’ Another in a series of occasional stories looking at BIPOC farmers in New England. By Jocelyn Ruggiero Globe correspondent,Updated June 29, 2021 WOODSTOCK, Conn. — Echo Farm was exactly what Robert Chang and his partner had spent two years looking for. Situated on Route 169, a National Scenic Byway in the state’s northeast corner, the historic 1880 farmhouse was in perfect move-in condition. And unlike so many other properties they had seen, its 14 acres of fields weren’t overgrown with forest. But although its listing price had recently dropped, at $370,000, it was still way above their uppermost budget of $300,000. And so they made a bold move: a lowball offer accompanied by a letter to the sellers: “We told them we were looking for an antique home . . . a place where we could farm . . . cherish the history, the property, and the house. We said, please don’t be offended by this low offer. We see the value of what you’re selling, and we appreciate that, and we wish we could have done better.” To their surprise, the sellers responded positively, and the parties soon reached an agreement. Read Full Article.

Forty years after coming to the United States as a refugee from Cambodia, her produce business thrives

WESTFORD — It was 3 a.m. when 13-year-old Phalla Nol snuck out of her family’s bamboo and thatch shelter at the Mak Mun refugee camp, or “Old Camp,” on the Cambodian border with Thailand. After she and some of the boys from the camp slipped past the guards and into Thailand, they walked along the road in the dark. They knew there were hostile Vietnamese, Khmer Rouge, and thieves all around. They hid when necessary, taking whatever path they could until they reached their destination: a small market filled with stalls. As she moved from vendor to vendor, Nol bought cookies, cupcakes, and candy. Once she was safely back at Old Camp, however, she didn’t eat her spoils. Instead, she sold them at a higher price to other kids at the camp, using the profit on her next clandestine trip to buy food for her family and invest in more sweets to further her venture. This, Nol explains, was how she knew how to sell produce 30 years later. Phalla Nol always had an eye for business.

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