The New Roots program helps refugees reestablish their ties to the land, celebrate their heritage and nourish themselves and their neighbors by planting strong roots in Sacramento.
The program works to increase refugee access to and participation in the local food system through agricultural training, food access and security programming, community farming, and business development training.
All newly-arrived refugees, special immigrant visa holders (SIVs) and asylees receive basic training that ensures they will be able to successfully procure food for their families in their new home in the United States. Beyond how to navigate large American supermarket grocery stores, refugees are taught how to shop by unit price, read ingredient labels and understand diet-related impacts on their health. Newly arrived refugees attend one of our weekly nutrition workshops as part of the Cultural Orientation program. The workshops emphasize the importance of maintaining the healthy aspects of their cultural traditions and advise how to adapt to the local food culture in a healthy way through hands-on activities and demonstrations.
We have three community gardens in the Sacramento area where 80 families tend to their own garden plots. At these gardens families grow a variety of fruits, vegetables and herbs for their tables, consort with neighbors and connect with the land and their community. The gardens provide refugees with an opportunity to grow food for their families while creating a community. Gardeners come from backgrounds as varied as Nepali, Afghan, Syrian, Burmese and Mexican, as well as a number of Americans. Donors have supported the garden by helping to build raised beds.
In addition to community gardens, we also have a five acre farm in West Sacramento where participating refugees have more space to exercise their farming expertise and business skills. On these plots farmers grow larger quantities of vegetables and sell to local markets, as well as feed their families. Over 50 different vegetables are grown every year at the farm and sold to various markets in the greater Sacramento region. The farm is equipped with a UC Davis-designed wash station and a Farm from a Box technology unit that provides farmers with the infrastructure and tools necessary to wash, package and prepare produce for sale.
Refugees, many with decades of farming expertise, can participate in trainings where they learn to adapt their skills to the Sacramento climate and market.
- Pest management
- Food business marketing
- Food safety and postharvest handling
- Irrigation training
- Soil fertility management
- Financial literacy
- Business planning
Every Saturday the New Roots farm hosts a farmstand market where our farmers sell their produce. Because of the varied backgrounds of the refugee farmers, much of the produce available on the farm is rare and cannot easily be found elsewhere.
491 Regatta Lane (off of Lighthouse Drive)
West Sacramento, CA 95605
Call +1 (916) 482-0120
or email [email protected] to learn more.
We host occasional weekend work days at the farm and community gardens. Volunteers assist the New Roots team in various outside activities including planting, weeding, composting and performing general garden maintenance. Email [email protected] to learn more and be added to our mailing list.
Businesses can spend a full or half day on the farm helping refugees get the most out of their plots. Check out the IRC in Northern California’s Corporate Engagement page for more information.
As the New Roots farm grows, the IRC in Sacramento is looking for restaurant, non-profit, and farmers’ market partners to purchase our local produce. Contact [email protected] to learn more.
International Rescue Committee
2020 Hurley Way, Suite 420
Sacramento, CA 95825
Office Phone: +1 (916) 482-0120