Rooting a New Livelihood

Reader Contribution by Anna Archibald
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Moving homes is difficult, but having to uproot from your home country and find a way to adapt and support yourself is even harder. That’s why some innovated community members started New Roots for Refugees, a program that helps resettle women refugees in Kansas City, Kan.

Training for the refugees focuses on the strengths and experience they already possess, helping to make the adjustment to the United States easier. The program helps the women start their own small farm businesses by growing and selling vegetables. Participants start farming with a lot of training and support, and as their businesses become established and they develop more skills, they transition to greater financial and managerial independence. Eventually, each farmer can move onto land of her own and operate independently.

New Roots for Refugees was started by Catholic Charities and the Kansas City Center for Urban Agriculture (KCCUA). The program offers case management, job development opportunities and English as a Second Language. The KCCUA Training Farm is located at Juniper Gardens, a public housing site in Kansas City, Kan. The produce grown by New Roots for Refugees is available at the Brookside farmers market, the Overland Park Market, the KCK Greenmarket at Juniper Gardens and the CSA subscription program.

If you want to help by donating to New Roots for Refugees, here are some of the items they are looking for:

• Shovels
• Hoes
• Hand spades
• Sprinklers
• Spray nozzles
• Tomato stakes or cages
• Utility wagons
• Plastic buckets
• Wooden crates
• Baskets
• Brightly colored table cloths

For more information about the effort, visit the New Roots for Refugees About Us page and check out this video:

Similar programs include the International Rescue Committee’s nationwide program, New Roots Community Farm in San Diego, Calif. and Pennsylvania’s Refugee Resettlement Program.

What cool, creative programs are going on in your local food system?