International Rescue Committee (IRC)

New Roots: The food is local. The story is global.

As an essential part of our broader resettlement efforts, the New Roots program enables refugees to celebrate their heritage and nourish themselves and their neighbors by planting strong roots—literally—in their new communities.

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.

New Roots in Salt Lake City

New Roots seeks to build a healthier community through the development of small scale, urban farms and community gardens while increasing food access for refugees in Salt Lake City. 

Program Coordinators:

Grace Henley, New Roots Program Manager:
Alex Young, New Roots Farm Coordinator:

In 2013 the New Roots Farm Stand provided roughly 50 households per week with healthy, local produce grown by refugee farmers. New Roots also assisted refugee farmers in pursuing retail sales to 15 local restaurants and grocery stores. New Roots farmers earned a total of $22,000 in 2013, roughly $6,000 more than last year! 

The three focuses of New Roots in SLC are:

Community Gardening

The Community Gardening Program secures plots for refugees at community gardens throughout Salt Lake City. New Roots provides seeds, seedlings, and instruction on best gardening practices in Utah to help secure an abundant supply of produce for each refugee. The vegetables grown in these gardens help provide supplemental food for participants that is nutritious and easily accessible. New Roots brings gardeners together to share their agricultural skills and connect with their new home and community. The IRC is helping to build a strong, healthy future for refugee families in the U.S.—and for all of us.

Food Access

In low income areas where refugees reside, the Food Access Program provides Farm Stands that sell produce at a very affordable price. Refugees, and other low-income community members, can purchase refugee grown produce with their SNAP (Food Stamp) benefits and double their purchases through the Fresh Fund. Specialty ethnic crops such as Rai saag, Armenian cucumbers, and daikon radish are sold at the markets, giving refugees a chance to expand local culinary tastes and promote cultural awareness and appreciation. Refugees are also educated on food literacy topics such as Nutrition and Diabetes Management. New Roots builds secure communities by ensuring that locally grown produce is distributed effectively and affordably to low-income members of the community, including refugees.

Micro-Training Farm Program

The Redwood Road Micro-Training Farm provides refugee farmers with the opportunity to grow and market a variety of crops. Through the direct selling of produce to consumers, the farmers are able to achieve greater economic independence by earning supplemental income for their families. The Redwood Road Micro-Training Farm provides large plots of land for farmers to cultivate, building their capacity to earn more income. Training and technical assistance is given to 20 farmers from countries as diverse as Sudan, Burma, Bhutan, Chad, DR Congo and Burundi.

Learn more about one of our very own microproducers, Siddiq, here.


If you want to get involved with New Roots in Salt Lake City, please contact Lyn Spataro, IRC in Salt Lake City Volunteer Coordinator, at or call (801) 883-8456.


Articles about New Roots in Salt Lake City:

New Roots & Culinary Establishments Unite
SLCfoodsnob, May 2013

Opening Closed Doors: Community Farming Enables Refugees and Locals to Work Side-by-Side
Utah Farm Bureau News, Fall 2012

"New Roots" Community Garden
ABC 4, August 31 2012

Slow is beautiful: New Roots
Catalyst Magazine, August 30 2012

Urban Gardens Provide Outlet for Cultural Expression for Refugees
Deseret News, August 20 2012

West Valley Farm Giving Refugees Way to Put Down New Roots
KSL, July 24 2012