Urban Fold

Refugees Find Sanctuary in Urban Gardening

Melanie Eversley writes on the healing power of urban gardens and farms for refugees new to the U.S. who are looking for a taste of home.

Gardens and farms serve more purposes than just as pretty scenery or means of agricultural production. These green spaces are also serving as places of sanctuary and opportunity for refugees who have just come to the U.S. through the International Rescue Committee (IRC). A 6-year old program called New Roots helps "refugees get used to their new countries by allowing them to do something that is familiar and empowering: growing things."

New Roots already has more than 400 refugees tending their 17 farms in nine cities across the country. The program's benefits are twofold, empowering those recently displaced from their native countries and aiding efforts to supply more fresh food to urban communities.

"Food is one of the most significant, visceral ways we are connected to culture," states New Roots' national coordinator Ellie Igoe. "Refugees have been disconnected from those kinds of rituals. When that happens, we suffer emotionally. And so when we're able to get back to those things, it enlivens us."

Thanks to Daniel Lippman

Full Story: Urban gardens allow refugees to plant roots

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