New Roots community members are featured in an exhibition!!!

The NRCF at the IRC in NY continues to connect the larger South Bronx and Queen's community on the important mission to rebuild food sovereignty.  

The IRC in NY New Roots is proud to be honored by the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) at the BRONX FOODWAYS ORAL HISTORIES PROJECT.

The NRCF is a safe space for many community members to restore their agency through food memories and collective gardening. Putting our hands in the soil is a profoundly healing process and can help to address some of the generational trauma that many of us have or are experiencing in our lives.  

This oral history curatorial project served "to preserve the food histories and life experiences of long-time community gardeners and urban farmers across the borough" (NYBG). This project looked at the oral histories of eight farmers, two of which included community farmers at the NRCF — Rose, and Estela. The IRC in NY's New Roots team is SO PROUD of this project.  

Rose and Estela's oral histories give us hope to continue NRCF's growing efforts and imprint on the community. Here are some takeaways to be gained from Rose and Estela's story:   

Food is the gateway to justice. The growing and preparation of food by and within the community leads to greater understanding among diverse groups on our purpose to serve and care for our planet, which is home to all of us. 

Rose tells us about her experiences growing up between the city and her home village in the Central African Republic. She shares her knowledge of the bissap, jute, okra, sugar cane, and cassava, all plants that she grew up eating. Rose explains how difficult and lengthy the journey was for her to leave her country and the intuition she felt that it was time to go. In 2007, she arrived in the US with her nephew and youngest daughter. Rose's health decreased after dealing with leaving her family behind and adapting to an American diet. It was unsettling to hear, and Rose decided to reclaim and restore her diet. Now she eats locally harvested food and even brings seeds/grains from back home to grow at the NRCF. Her doctor noted her new diet transformed her health for the better. NRCF became an important center for her, where she routinely enjoys harvesting mint, lemongrass, greens, etc. She now makes eating healthy and shopping at local markets her priority!   

Rose at New Roots
Rose watering plants at the New Roots
Photo: New Roots

It is crucial to lift our community members. With this land stewardship work comes a deep understanding and respect for the ancient practices community members carry with them from their ancestors of how to care for the land using sustainable and resilient practices. We can learn from each other. 

Estela is from Mexico and has a very large family back home. She spent her childhood exploring her family's farm and learned the importance of caring for the farm's pulse and agricultural integrity. She cultivated beans, peanuts, grains, and plants native to Mexico. This food memory left an impression on Estela, who is grateful for green spaces. In this light, she is proud that NRCF's community gardeners take care of the land, provide educational instruction, and that the NRCF is home to all generations. Estela hopes to bring her grandfather's love for the land to her daughter. She shares how they grow corn and beans and explains the technical process of cultivating the land for these foods. In this oral history, Estela explains how these technical processes hold spiritual significance in the community. In her culture, food is integral to spiritual/traditional ritual practices. Estela shares how plants are used as ritual crowns back home and that, for her, nature is sacred. She wishes to restore the integrity of the land wherever she is close to nature, such as the NRCF.   


All community members joining the NRCF become a part of the larger fabric of the NRCF's oral history- one full of generosity, cultural inclusivity, and food sovereignty.

It is essential to include in the foods we grow culturally relevant crops that honor our diverse community and show that we understand how important it is to respect & uphold the cultures of all the ethnic groups that live among us.  

The IRC in NY is thankful for the NYBG's efforts in shedding light on immigrant and refugee farmers' stories. Check out Rose’s story here & Estela's story here! 

To learn more about New Roots:

Farm open hours are: 

Tuesdays & Thursdays, 9a-2p 

Fridays, 10a-2p 

Saturdays, 10a-3p 

Inquiries re: the Farm, to volunteer and requests to be added to our general email announcement distribution may be directed to: [email protected]