IRC’s New Roots Program Gratefully Receives Tractor
IRC Staff and clients gathered at the Phoenix office on Tuesday afternoon for the arrival of a generous in-kind donation to the New Roots farming program. The Chandler and Arcadia congregations of Redemption Church, a non-denominational network of congregations across Arizona, donated a John Deere tractor to the IRC’s New Roots program. Tyler Johnson, lead pastor at Redemption Church handed the tractor keys over to Executive Director Donna Magnuson, as staff, volunteers, and New Roots farmers cheered on. Farmers and staff climbed onto the tractor and honked its horn in celebration.
New Roots Program Coordinator Timothy Olorunfemi estimates that 80 refugee families are currently producing crops through the New Roots program, either at one of five designated New Roots community gardens or on their own privately operated farms. The benefits of the tractor will reach far more people than that number suggests. “Multiply 80 by two at least,” Timothy says, “since most families include a husband, wife and four or five children. Then think of the effects outside of the producers—think of the consumers. More people will have healthy vegetables and nutrition. The effect of the tractor is enormous.”
The tractor will be used not only at the five New Roots gardens; it will also be available to refugee clients for their home or shared farms. Additionally, Timothy’s Co-Coordinator Jessica Woiderski adds that she hopes to rent out the tractor at maintenance rates to other community gardens in the Phoenix area since renting farm equipment is often costly and difficult. Sharing the tractor at cost when it is not in use by New Roots farmers would benefit gardens and farming initiatives across the Valley.
New Roots is a nationwide IRC program that helps connect refugees, many of whom were farmers in their countries of origin, with opportunities to build community gardens and sell their produce locally. New Roots provides refugee farmers and gardeners with land, tools, seeds, training, and connections to potential buyers such as farmers’ markets and local stores. The program also gives its participants and their communities’ information about and access to nutritious locally-grown crops.
IRC’s staff and New Roots farmers would like to thank Redemption Church for the tractor donation and for their partnership as we grow goods from the ground up, together!
To learn more about New Roots, please visit www.rescue.org/new-roots, or contact Farm Program Coordinators Timothy Olorunfemi (email@example.com) and Jessica Woiderski (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Story by: Sophie Epstein, Communications Intern
Picture by: Jared Worley, AmeriCorps VISTA