LEWISTON (NEWS CENTER Maine) -- A vacant farm stand on Sabattus Street in Lewiston has undergone a transformation. It's thanks to a collaborative effort by the Isuken Co-Op and New Roots Cooperative Farm. The two groups have teamed up to restore the former Blackie's Farm Stand.
"It feels really good you know all that hard work is going to pay off," said Abdillahi Hassan of New Roots Cooperative Farm.
Hassan spent Wednesday morning getting the crates cleaned and ready for to hold fresh vegetables grown by his mother and other Somali farmers at their Lisbon farm. They are part of the Isuken Co-Op and their dream is to bring Somali cuisine to Maine.
Through a successful online crowd-funding campaign, they started a farm to table food truck back in May.
"I'm like extremely excited," said Sitey Muktar of New Roots Cooperative Farm.
The truck remains a blank canvas at this time, but it's parked next to their farm stand that's now up and running.
"I'm really blessed to be here with them too, and see both groups sort of work on these things together," said Jeremy Bloom of New Roots Cooperative Farm. "It's really, really awesome."
The farmers' goal is to unite the community through food and the timing, could be crucial.
"There's a lot of hate going on," explains Muktar. "People are less inclined to approach someone different from them."
Muktar says she lives about a mile from Kennedy Park, and has heard about the recent violence there including a brawl that ended in a man's death.
"It's hurtful to hear that this is happening," said Muktar.
Lewiston Police have also established a curfew at the park, of 10 p.m., and have stepped up patrols.
"People haven't been given us too hard of a time recently so I think people are OK with it and it's working for us as well," said Lt. David St. Pierre of the Lewiston Police Department.
"I definitely think it's something that will bring people together," said Muktar about the food truck and farm stand.
She hopes the business serves as a space for neighbors to connect over a common love for food.