Growing up in Bhutan, farmer Chandra Poudel grew rice, maize and buckwheat. After fleeing his homeland as a refugee, Chandra arrived in the United States in 2012. Since then, he’s learned to cultivate additional crops suited to the soil and climate to carry on the farming traditions of his family.
Without a formal education and speaking very little English, Poudel took the opportunity to mentor his children and lead his community through farming in his new country. Almost daily he visits his garden, an abandoned soccer field behind a church in South Nashville, planting and harvesting mustard greens, tomatoes and peppers.
As part of Growing Together, a refugee agricultural program funded by a federal grant and overseen by two partner nonprofits, The Center for Refugees and Immigrants of Tennessee and The Nashville Food Project, Poudel works alongside eight other growers from Bhutan and one farmer from Burma. In addition to raising produce for his family, Poudel sells at the Nashville Farmers’ Market through a food hub called Nashville Grown. He also sells through a restaurant CSA (community supported agriculture) to Two Ten Jack, an izakaya and ramen shop with special interests in Asian produce.