Many refugees and other New Americans come to the U.S. with backgrounds in agriculture. New Roots, a farmer training and food access initiative of the International Rescue Committee in Salt Lake City, provides these communities with a way to reconnect with land, grow culturally appropriate vegetables, and leverage their farming skills to earn supplemental income.
New Roots farmers earn income through produce sales to local schools, restaurants and Whole Foods Markets in Utah. They also operate three workplace CSA’s, delivering vegetable shares to employees of partnering businesses. New Roots founded and continues to operate and sell at the Sunnyvale Farmers Market and new for 2019, New Roots Farmers Market at Central Park.
New Roots farmers grow a number of crops familiar to the American palate, including Beets, Carrots, Heirloom Slicing Tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, Spinach, Kale, Spring Mix, a variety of Peppers, and Eggplant. Additionally, they grow speciality ethnic crops like African Eggplant, Aleppo Peppers, Amaranth Greens, Molokhia (Egyptian Spinach), Thai Chili Peppers, Tatume Squash, and long beans, among others.
All proceeds from sales go to the program’s 35+ farmers who originate from Sudan, Burma, Bhutan, Chad, Somalia, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The farmers collectively manage 15 acres of leased land spread throughout Salt Lake County.