International Rescue Committee (IRC)

The IRC launches "New Roots" campaign to support refugees living in the U.S.

Interactive campaign focuses on raising awareness & support

NEW YORK 23 Sep 2013 - The International Rescue Committee’s annual New Roots Campaign launched today. The multi-channel, interactive campaign is focused on raising awareness and support for the IRC’s New Roots program and broader resettlement programs that assist refugees as they start their lives anew in the U.S. 

“The IRC’s New Roots program provides refugees with a sanctuary to celebrate their heritage by growing foods native to their homeland as they integrate into their new communities,” says Ellee Igoe, the IRC’s U.S. advisor for food security and agriculture.  “It helps them to quite literally set down new roots in the U.S.”  
Working with community partners, the IRC has been instrumental in connecting at least 850 growers with gardens and farms in 15 of the 22 cities where it assists refugees.  From Oakland to Baltimore, refugee gardeners from 30 countries around the world are revitalizing urban areas by transforming abandoned lots into thriving community gardens and farms, and growing fresh, affordable produce that’s available to share and, in some cases, to sell to the entire neighborhood.  
“It’s not only the refugee gardeners who are benefitting from the vegetables, fruits and herbs being grown, it’s the community as a whole,” says Igoe.  “Many of our growers are now selling their produce at local farmers markets and farmstands.”
The New Roots campaign, with the tagline, “Growing Good from the Ground Up,” is an interactive campaign which seeks to engage the public through various means.  Visitors to the campaign site are introduced to refugees from around the world who share recipes from their culture and are invited to share the recipes from their own cultural traditions.  They meet Siddiq Ismail, a Sudanese refugee now living in Salt Lake City, who shares a favorite eggplant dish, salata sswad. Kefah, an Iraqi refugee now living in Wichita, shares her recipes for a delectable cantaloupe juice and an okra casserole. The IRC’s New Roots spokespeople, Chef David Burke, Marco Canora, April Bloomfield, and Eden Grinshpan, and IRC Voice, Morena Baccarin also share recipes inspired by their visits to New Roots gardens and farms.
Visitors to the campaign site are also invited to take “the New Roots Challenge” and pledge to support the IRC’s refugee resettlement work through four simple ways: hosting a harvest inspired meal, shopping at a local farmers’ market, visiting a local community farm or cooking a healthy, family recipe that connects them to their heritage. For every pledge made, IRC donor Newman’s Own will donate $1 to support the IRC’s refugee resettlement work in the U.S.   Supporters are invited to share their pledge on their social networks, using the hashtag #newroots.
If you would like to cover the IRC’s New Roots campaign and/or program, please contact contact Lucy Carrigan, 212 551-0969, or Jordan Helton, 212 551-3165,
About the International Rescue Committee: The International Rescue Committee (IRC) responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people to survive and rebuild their lives. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC offers lifesaving care and life-changing assistance to refugees forced to flee from war or disaster. At work today in over 40 countries and 22 U.S. cities, we restore safety, dignity and hope to millions who are uprooted and struggling to endure. The IRC leads the way from harm to home. Visit for more information. Follow the IRC on Twitter, @theIRC, @IRCPress