BY APRIL FLEMING – March 6, 2017
New Roots for Refugees is a program managed by Catholic Charities and Cultivate KC that provides training and mentorship in small-scale farming for refugees who have been resettled in and around Kansas City, Kansas. These refugees most often come from Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burma (Myanmar) and Bhutan. Through the course of the four-year program, the farmers learn about growing techniques including organic practices, how to navigate the farmers’ market system and its associated paperwork, practice English and work to engage with the broader community.
While it is uncertain at this time how the current political climate may affect those who are settled in our area in the future, there has been an open question as to how to assist or become involved with current refugee resettlement. One very easy way is through the New Roots for Refugees Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, and signups are now underway for the summer.
The New Roots CSA is unique; rather than offering a set box of items each week determined by the farmer, CSA participants visit their farmer at a farmers’ market each week and choose their own vegetables. The Juniper Gardens training farm, home to the New Roots farmers, is not certified organic, but the farmers do use organic practices. Produce options will include items familiar to Midwesterners, as well as some that are familiar to the farmers and are native to their countries of origin; often, these less familiar options will come with a recipe card with suggestions on preparation.
Interested parties are encouraged to fill out the 2017 Interest Form. Two different packages are available: choose four to five items per week, or seven to eight items, with one “item” including bunches or small quart boxes (onions, herbs, potatoes, etc.) as packed by the farmers. The smaller package is available for $225 for 18 weeks of pickups, or $350 for the larger option. A range of farmers’ markets are available as the pickup location, including the Overland Park Farmers’ Market and Parkville Farmers’ Market. Spaces do fill up quickly; if you are interested, don’t hesitate to sign up as soon as possible.
Volunteer opportunities are also available. For more information, visit the New Roots for Refugees and Cultivate KC websites.
Read the Feast Magazine article here.