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March 8, 2013 (City Heights) – Refugee farmers from Myanmar who participate in the International Refugee Committee’s agriculture training program will host a grand opening of their independent farm business , Hornbill Produce, at their new produce stand at City Farmer’s Nursery, 4832 Home Avenue in City Heights.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., enjoy live music with local Bluegrass/American Folk heroes Songs for People and traditional cultural dance from Myanmar. Tour the nursery and visit with the pony, chickens and goats. Stay for lunch at Nate’s Garden Grill.

Of course, you can also pick up some farm-fresh produce. In addition to l vegetables straight from the IRC’s training farm in Pauma Valley, Hornbill Produce will also be offering other produce items sourced from small, sustainable farms, including avocados from Lakeside and citrus from Valley Center.

Hornbill Produce is the business partnership of five hard-working refugees who were forced to flee ethnic tension and conflict in Myanmar, a country in Southeast Asia. Most of the members were farmers in their home country, and are now trying to rebuild productive lives here in the United States by returning to their agrarian roots. The partnership was developed as a result of the IRC’s sustainable farm training program for refugees, where the participants learned about vegetable production, marketing and business in the US context. Hornbill Produce is dedicated to providing customers with the freshest, sustainably-grown produce in San Diego. Their logo and business name were inspired by a magnificent bird that lives in the subtropical rainforest and represents loyalty and determination.

The IRC’s farm training is a hands-on program to assist refugees in farming as a business. Participants receive classroom, field-based training and 1-on-1 technical assistance in farm business planning, marketing, production and land acquisition. The IRC’s farm training site is located on an 80-acre farm in the beautiful Pauma Valley. Currently, IRC is leasing 20-acres and training about 20 refugee farmers in commercial farming business operations. Additionally, the farm will grow into a farm incubator as IRC subleases land to graduating participants.