African refugee grows homeland’s bitter eggplants in Vermont


COLCHESTER, Vt. — After surviving refugee camps in Africa, Janine Ndagijimana settled in Vermont and began to dream of farming.

When she considered what to plant, she thought back to her time in Tanzania and settled on the African eggplant, also called bitter ball or garden egg. It wasn’t found in Vermont, and she remembered how it garnered a good price at the refugee market.

These days, Ndagijimana’s farming of the oblong white fruit and other varieties has turned her into a refugee success story in Vermont, one of the least culturally or racially diverse states, with a population that’s 95 per cent white. She’s part of a growing number of farmers from other parts of the world who have used social media, the internet and niche markets often in big cities to successfully sell crops…

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