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New Roots in Salt Lake City

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 partners such as Wasatch Community GardensPromise South Salt Lake, the City of MillcreekCentral Valley Water Reclamation Facility, and Salt Lake County 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.  This year, the Community Gardening Program is working with over 120 families in 11 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, Sarah Adams, at Sarah.Adams [at] Rescue.org (subject: Community%20Garden%20-%20Inquiry%20) .  

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 two farm sites leased through Salt Lake County—Redwood Road, a two-acre farm site in West Valley City, and Wheadon, a 13-acre farm site in Draper—New Roots 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 additional income. New Roots' most advanced farmers are expanding to the Draper farm site where they are working to expand into new markets. Training and technical assistance is given to over 36 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 to October, at the New Roots Farmers Market at Central Park on Tuesday evenings from July to September, and at the Liberty Park Market every Friday night.

Food Access: Farmers Markets

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

New Roots operates two farmers markets in Salt Lake County, which are an affordable fresh food resource for residents in areas with low food access. 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, 12-2pm, 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 New Roots Farmers Market at Central Park operates each Tuesday evening, 5-7:30pm, from July to September at Central Park, 2797 South 200 East, South Salt Lake, Utah, 84115. The Tuesday market offers local produce, a food pantry, and kids activities led in partnership with Promise South Salt Lake.  

Both farmers markets offer a 1-to-1 incentive match to customers eligible to receive EBT/SNAP. When a customer spends $20 at the market they receive an additional $20 for free, in the form of tokens that can be spent at the market, for a total of $40 in purchasing power! 

Utah Double Up Food Bucks gained state funding support during the 2019 state legislative session. Funds are administered by the Utah Department of Health

Learn more about the farmers markets operated by New Roots and and check them out on Instagram!

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 foods program 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?

  • Interested in joining a CSA with a cause? New Roots farmers are looking for local businesses to partner with for a workplace 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 James.Hunter [at] Rescue.org (subject: New%20Roots%20Support)  for a list of current donation needs.
  • Shop at our Sunnyvale Farmers Market! Market profits go directly back into the hands of refugee farmers.

How can I learn more about New Roots? 

  • Follow New Roots on Facebook!
  • Follow our Sunnyvale Farmers Market on Instagram!
  • Visit our Sunnyvale Farmers Market website

Updates from the field:

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