It’s been a decade since ground was broken on a nine-acre training farm in Juniper Gardens in Kansas City, Kansas. It is home to the New Roots for Refugees program, a partnership between Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas and Cultivate KC.
The urban incubator farm model is an ideal fit for refugees, who often come to the United States with significant farming experience and a desire to continue growing in their new homeland. While capitalizing on their strengths, experiences and culture of mutual assistance, the program breaks down the barriers of land acquisition, access to markets and language.
New Roots celebrated its first round of graduates in 2012, and continues to graduate farmers each year. It is one of the few programs in the United States that helps recently resettled refugee farmers purchase their own land.
Today, 20 graduates are selling their vegetables, grown on land (1/4 acre to 2 1⁄2 acre farm) that they purchased or leased with the help of program staff. In the 10 years that New Roots has trained farmers, over $1 million in income from selling vegetables has gone back into the local refugee community.