Bright and early on Saturday, September 22, our GenR members and leaders indulged their green thumbs and headed to the Bronx. This annual volunteer event—a day full of connection and gardening—brought us back to the New Roots Community Farm, a plot of land owned by the IRC.
Getting a piece of New York with our name on it wasn’t easy, but after the farm’s opening in 2012, New Roots volunteers and staff quickly turned the new plot into a green sanctuary. At this year’s event, GenR members arrived to find the farm filled with herbs, vegetable plots, and bee hives. After a bountiful harvest, it was time to prepare the farm beds for the chillier temperatures and longer nights of fall.
New Roots has fostered nutrition and environmental health among local communities and IRC clients, growing produce and herbs for immigrants and refugees whose favorite ingredients are missing from the shelves of American supermarkets. The annual harvest is sold at a local farmers market, where IRC clients give cooking demonstrations of their favorite recipes from home. New Yorkers can stop by the market to sample the all-natural flavors of New Roots produce, or simply open a bottle of The Bronx hot sauce. The farm’s serrano peppers help supply the local condiment with its kick!
A projected two-thirds of the world’s population will be concentrated in cities by 2050, and urban farming is the movement we need to keep our diets healthy and nutritious. By participating in New Roots Volunteer Day, our members were able to reconnect with the IRC’s food and nutritional initiatives and show their support for the IRC clients who help grow the food.
For IRC clients, New Roots allows them to carve out a peaceful space for themselves in the midst of New York and integrate even more into their local communities. GenR leader Chloe Emma Hughes said that the experience made her “proud to support an organization that is so organically responsive... to the needs of the people it serves.” We can’t wait to return next year to see how the farm progresses!