Minnesota farmer Naima Dhore is starting to grow millet–a resilient cereal grain grown widely in semi-arid regions of the world–because she has an eager market in the large East African communities of the Minneapolis area. It’s part of a broader pattern for Dhore, who migrated to the United States from Somalia as a child and today grows okra, cowpeas, jute and other heritage crops on her 20-acre farm with her husband and children.
Earlier in 2023, Dhore was awarded a North Central SARE Farmer Grant to evaluate best practices in the commercial-scale production and marketing of foxtail and proso millets. She’ll be collaborating with University of Minnesota Extension staff on this project.
For her efforts, Dhore’s story has recently been featured by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations as part of the International Year of Millets 2023, available here. This FAO initiative is meant to raise awareness around the world about the societal benefits of millets, which are nutritious and can thrive in difficult and changing climate conditions.
“It’s just amazing I can grow millets, something I had as a child in Somalia, here in a place like Minnesota,” says Dhore.