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New Roots in Salt Lake City

Last updated 
Refugee woman works on New Roots Farm

New Roots provides opportunities for refugees and immigrants to produce fresh food for their families and increase their economic stability.

Photo: Jennifer Leahy

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

As an essential part of our broader resettlement efforts by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Salt Lake City, 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 25 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.

The three focuses of New Roots in Salt Lake City are...

Community Gardening 

Refugee woman sits in New Roots community garden plot
The Community Gardening Program secures plots for refugees at community gardens throughout Salt Lake City. Photo: Jeri Gravlin, 2015

The Community Gardening Program secures plots for refugees at community gardens throughout Salt Lake City and collaborates with Promise South Salt Lake to develop new gardens in high-need areas. 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.  In 2017, the Community Gardening Program worked with over 100 families in 14 garden sites across the Salt Lake Valley. 

If you would like to learn more about the Community Gardening Program, please contact Community Garden Program Coordinator, Alex Haas, at Alex.Haas [at] rescue.org

Access the Community Garden Application here.

Micro-Training Farm Program

Man in sunhat holds produce grown at New Roots Farm
The Redwood Road Micro-Training Farm provides refugee farmers with the opportunity to grow and market a variety of crops. Photo: Jeri Gravlin, 2015

With a two-acre farm site in West Valley City and a new, 13-acre site in Draper, UT – New Roots is providing 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 additional income. New Roots' most advanced farmers are taking on larger plots of land at the new Wheadon farm site in Draper. With the increase in production, farmers are hoping to expand to new markets. Training and technical assistance is given to over 20 farmers from countries as diverse as Sudan, Burma, Bhutan, Chad, Somalia and Burundi.

You can find New Roots produce and meet the farmers at the Sunnyvale Farmers Market every Saturday from June 2018 to October 2018 and at the Liberty Park Market every Friday night.

Food Access: Sunnyvale Farmers Market

Woman purchases produce at the Sunnyvale Farmers Market outdoors
The Sunnyvale Farmers Market is located in a low income area that is also Salt Lake County's largest food desert. Photo: Jeri Gravlin, 2015

The Sunnyvale Farmers Market is an affordable fresh food resource for residents of the greater Sunnyvale neighborhood – Utah's largest food desert. The multi-vendor market specializes in specialty crops, common in countries around the world, but difficult to find in the U.S. It also provides New Roots farmers a venue to sell and market their produce.

The Sunnyvale Farmers Market operates every Saturday from the second week of June to the second week of October at Sunnyvale Park, 4013 South 700 West, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84123. Each week, you will find free lunch for kids, a food pantry, locally grown produce, prepared food vendors, kids activities and much more!

The Sunnyvale Farmers Market offers The Fresh Fund, a 1-to-1 incentive match to customers eligible to receive EBT/SNAP, WIC, SSI or those whose children are enrolled in the National School Lunch Program. A customer spends $10 at the market and they receive an additional $10 for free, in the form of tokens that can be spent at the market, for a total of $20 in purchasing power!

The Fresh Fund is made possible by a USDA’s Food Insecurity and Nutrition Incentive grant program.

Learn more about Sunnyvale Farmers Market and check them out on Facebook!

Support New Roots!

How can I get involved as a volunteer?

  • We offer a variety of individual and group volunteer opportunities throughout the year. Contact us at VolunteerSLC [at] Rescue.org (subject: Volunteer%20with%20New%20Roots) for more information about our current volunteer opportunities. 
  • Host a youth activity at Sunnyvale Farmers Market! Contact Sara Valerious, local food markets coordinator, at sara.valerious [at] rescue.org (subject: Youth%20Activity%20-%20Sunnyvale%20Farmers%20Market%20-%20Inquiry)  for more information. 

How can I support the work of New Roots?

  • Join a CSA with a cause! Support New Roots farmers by signing your workplace up for a CSA. Contact Sara Valerious at Sara.Valerious [at] rescue.org (subject: CSA%20-%20Inquiry) for more information.
  • Monetary and in-kind donations are always appreciated. Contact Sarah.Heller [at] Rescue.org (subject: Current%20Needs) for a list of current donation needs.
  • Shop at our Sunnyvale Farmers Market! Market profits go back into the hands of refugee farmers.

How can I learn more about New Roots? 

Updates from the field:

For more information about  New Roots in Salt Lake City, email us at SaltLakeCity [at] Rescue.org.