Naina Agarwal

May 5, 2020

Naina was born and raised in India. In the fall of 2017, she moved to Bismarck, North Dakota, where she works full time as a Certified Public Accountant.

There are no Indian restaurants in the Bismarck or Mandan areas. To satisfy cravings for her native food, Naina cooks it. As Naina got to know her new community, she discovered her local farmers market, Bismarket. Naina became a BisMarket vendor of home‑cooked vegetarian Indian street foods, like vada pav (a deep fried potato dumpling placed inside a bread bun that is sliced in half), pav bhaji (a thick vegetable curry served with a soft bread roll), and chana chaat (a tangy snack made from white chickpeas). She became one of the market’s most popular vendors and frequently sold out. Her customers often told her how great it was that she was selling vegetarian Indian foods because, although the community wanted it, no restaurants met that demand. These positive encounters gave her a sense of belonging in her new community and fueled her entrepreneurial spirit.

But now, Naina can no longer participate in her community like she used to because of the Department’s rules. She has had to stop selling her vegetarian Indian street foods and let down many customers who crave it without other options.

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