NH Farmer Spotlight | June 2021
Name and Occupation: Hari Adhikari & Prem Khatiwada
Business: Fresh Start Farms
Hari Adhikari and her husband, Prem Khatiwada, emigrated to the United States to seek a better life for their family. There were seemingly few opportunities for them and their two children in their home country of Nepal, and they were able to get green cards through the Diversity Visa Lottery.
Hari and Prem worked in the city in Nepal, where music brought them together: they both play classical Nepali and Indian music.
After arriving in the U.S., they lived in Boston for a short time and then moved to New Hampshire so they could grow their own food.
“I loved to visit my grandparents in the country when I was young,” Hari recalls. “My Grandpa was a farmer and my Grandma loved to cook with all kinds of vegetables. When we moved here, I wanted to plant Nepali vegetables like barelaa and lufa and medicinal vegetables.”
“This is our seventh year farming in the U.S. and our third season on this farm,” she continues. “Fifteen farmers share about four acres here on St. Paul’s School property. We all use organic methods.”
“Prem and I grow barelaa, lufa, bottle gourd, onion, broccoli, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers and squash. We also grow spices and singing nettle. We sell at the Concord farmers’ market and the Fresh Start Farms CSA.”
Hari’s passion for farming and healthy foods is contagious.
“I love being in touch with the earth and the environment,” she exclaims. “I don’t wear gloves because I like to feel the soil on my hands. Watching the plants grow and then picking the vegetables makes me so happy. Every winter, I count the days until spring.“
“I like growing vegetables that are both nutritious and medicinal like amaranth, purslane and lamb’s quarters. And I love sharing my knowledge about herbs and vegetables with my customers.”
“Prem likes to do the heavy work – the tilling and soil preparation. I enjoy caring for our garden. The work keeps me healthy and happy. I don’t have to go to the gym. I stay healthy by getting out and growing our own food.”
Organic farming is very important to Hari and Prem. They don’t make a lot of money farming, but it supplements their income from healthcare and human services work.
“I’m a vegetarian and a vegetable lover,” she says with pride. “Fresh organic vegetables make you healthy, and they’re very important for our environment. People should start growing their own food or buying from small farmers.”
“Our other passion is music. Prem plays tabla and I sing. We perform in Hindu temples and wedding ceremonies, and we talk about Indian classical music in schools.”
“If we don’t do our part, we don’t do well.”
—Interview and Article by Karl Johnson, Board President
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