Food & Refugees with the IRC

Located in fourteen locations across the United States, the New Roots Program of the International Rescue Committee takes a holistic approach to address a variety of problems commonly found in refugee populations, primarily providing refugees with access to land and resources to grow culturally appropriate food.

In addition to the community gardening program, the New Roots Program also spearheads farmers market partnership programs, mental health programming, nutritional education, backyard gardening support, general health education, garden training, and community engagement.

At the time I managed it (March 2016-Aug 2018), the Baltimore New Roots Program consisted of three urban gardens, supporting approximately 250 refugee individuals directly as well as additional programming that aimed to support any refugees or low-income individuals in the city.

“Food is particularly potent as place-making practice because it links the land to the hearth and the hearth to the heart through mediation of produce.”

Ray, Krishnendu. 2004. The Migrant’s Table: Meals and Memories in Bengali-American Households. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Note: I deliberately chose not to include any images with refugee’s faces in order to respect their privacy.