Refugee farmer in KC donates harvest, grateful for the help she’s found in America

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- While politicians debate the role of refugees in our country, some who now call the metro area home are saying "thank you" for their new life in America.

Refugees from all around the world earn a living as farmers at Juniper Gardens.

One woman, a refugee from Burma, decided to donate her last harvest of the season to a Catholic Charities food pantry, as a way to help Americans, because Americans have helped her.

SiSi Cho grows carrots, garlic, and other vegetables as part of an urban agriculture program run by Cultivate KC. She and her family live off the food she grows. They eat it, and she sells produce at farmer's markets. She made $3,000 this season.

"My family, in my country we are all farmers," Cho said. "My grandma, my dad, my mom are all farmers. I like being a farmer."

But instead of cashing in her last harvest of the year, Cho donated the vegetables to a food pantry, to help feed low-income families across the metro area. She's says it's her way of saying thank you for her new life here.

"Yes, thank you, thank you," Cho said. "All people, United States people, your government, my family here is so happy. Thank you so much."

Cultivate KC says refugee farmers have helped feed 35,000 poor families in our community during the last five years.

After working at the Juniper Gardens training farm for four years, SiSi hopes to buy land and start her own farm.