After living in a densely populated refugee camp in Nepal for nearly 20 years, Chuda Dhaurali considered carefully when asked where he wanted to resettle with his family.
“We learned a lot of things about Vermont, and we decided that’s where we wanted to go,” he said.
Dhaurali was drawn to Vermont for the same reasons many people have been for generations: rugged mountains and fertile river valleys.
Originally from a farming family in Bhutan, a country on the eastern edge of the Himalayas, he hoped he would find an opportunity to farm again when he moved to Vermont in 2009. He found that and much more at Pine Island Farm.
Born out of a partnership between the Vermont Land Trust, the Association of Africans Living in Vermont, and the Vermont Goat Collaborative, Pine Island Farm was established in response to a need for halal meat from the growing population of new Americans who have been resettled in communities around Burlington through the United Nations Refugee Agency.
As the pilot goat farmer on the 230-acre property that was once a cow dairy, Dhaurali helps sustain the agricultural traditions of his new community, the cultural traditions of his fellow new Americans, and the watershed that supports them all. Through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Conservation Reserve Enhancement (CREP) Program, Pine Island gave up seven acres of land for the creation of riparian buffer along the Winooski River, with planting and monitoring help from the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program.
Dhaurali’s story is featured in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Nature’s Good Neighbors series, which highlights people across the U.S. who depend on the land as much as the land depends on them. These modern-day stewards of the land are working with nature to make a home for people and wildlife.
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