The food is local.
The story is global.
Across the United States, seeds of change are being planted in sun-drenched gardens. And the harvest is much more than a bounty of nutritious foods.
Each year, the IRC helps thousands of refugees who have been granted sanctuary in the United States to rebuild their lives. An essential part of our broader resettlement efforts, the New Roots program enables refugees to reestablish their ties to the land, celebrate their heritage and nourish themselves and their neighbors by planting strong roots—literally—in their new communities.
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Uprooted by crisis. Grounded by hope.
More than 45 million people are currently displaced worldwide due to persecution, conflict and disaster. Forced to flee to safety, they often leave everything behind—their homes, their families and their livelihoods. A tiny fraction of these vulnerable men, women and children are permanently resettled in host countries. In 2012, the IRC helped resettle some 7,600 refugees in the United States, including many from agrarian backgrounds who arrived here with agricultural expertise.
Through community gardening, nutrition education and small-business farming, New Roots is giving hundreds of refugee farmers the tools and training they need to grow healthy and affordable food and become self-sufficient. Across a network stretching from San Diego to the South Bronx, from Seattle to Charlottesville, refugees are revitalizing urban spaces, sharing their farming know-how with their new neighbors and providing healthy, fresh food to their families and communities.
- 97% of agricultural workers live in developing countries. The average age of the American farmer is 57.
- 23.5 million Americans live in so-called food deserts, which lack access to fresh produce. Only 3% of American cropland is used to grow fruits and vegetables.
- More than 68% of adults and nearly one-third of children and adolescents age 5 to 19 are overweight or obese in the United States.
- Some 2.7 million lives could be saved every year if vegetable consumption was increased.
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Growing good — for all of us.
New Roots offers an effective, community-based solution to some of the most pressing challenges facing our world. New Roots is about healthy families, secure communities and a more sustainable future. It’s about dignity, determination and the boundless possibility of human connection. And it’s about the power of people to heal and nurture positive change from the ground up.
In 22 U.S. cities, the IRC provides resettled refugees with the assistance they need to survive and thrive. Through New Roots and a range of other programs, we are helping them to establish a strong future for themselves, their communities and our world.