Recently the IC hosted BVC learner and Syrian refugee, Mohamed El Daher. The quintessential BVC success story focused on Mohamed’s journey of settling in Canada and of starting a farm east of Calgary that began as a backyard passion.
Mohamed El Daher, his family and 70 kg. of tomatoes descended upon the Intercultural Centre on October 11, 2018, to a packed house of BVC staff, faculty and learners. All attendees were excited to hear about how Mohamed has made his dream a reality.
Mohamed arrived in Calgary almost three years ago. He immediately set to work at turning his backyard into a garden, tilling the soil with his own hands. With no experience of growing conditions in Calgary, he went based on what he knew, his passion for growing. Mohamed caught the attention of entrepreneur Sam Namourra, who was responsible for donating five acres of the land that Mohammed now farms. Two years later, and now renting 11 acres of land, Mohamed is making a name for himself in growing produce that is new to the Calgary landscape. Fava beans, green chickpeas, and Arabic zucchini, to name a few. His farm, set up as a u-pick, has become a place of connections and familiarity for many in the Syrian community, as well as those who are curious to visit this unconventional farm. Mohamed’s drive to fulfill his goal and a positive mindset that refuses him to see setbacks as anything more than lessons, is one of inspiration for many newcomers. Instead of focusing on hardship and the challenges associated with language and navigating the barriers that many newcomers face, Mohamed charges forward with unwavering optimism and a belief that he will achieve whatever he sets out to do. Armed with a deep sense of gratitude for the help that Mohamed and his family have received here, Mohamed has made it his mission to give back to the community that has supported him. Each year, Mohamed donates over 700 kg. of produce from his backyard garden to the Calgary Food Bank. Attendees were enthralled at Mohamed’s humble and yet motivating account of all that he has accomplished in a very short period of time.
Following Mohamed’s presentation, attendees could purchase organic field tomatoes, and in true form, Mohamed donated the tomatoes that where left over to BVC students. Attendees were inspired by Mohamed’s success, his drive and determination.
Are you interested in visiting Mohamed’s farm? The farm is located just east of Calgary. Connect with Mohamed El Daher on Facebook for further information.