The IRC in NY's Refugee Youth Summer Academy (RYSA) program had a special treat for students each Friday: a field trip. Students visited parks and museums, using the subway to explore their new home city and all it has to offer.
But among the students’ favorite RYSA field trips was a visit to the IRC’s own New Roots Community Farm in the Bronx, an ideal intersection of two of the IRC in NY’s flagship programs. The IRC’s New Roots Community Farm provides opportunities for economic empowerment and fresh food access through urban farming, a weekly market, and training to build on clients agricultural backgrounds. The farm is also open to the public as a community garden, with plots for Bronx residents to plant their own produce alongside IRC clients, and welcomes visits from area schools during the school year.
Three classes from RYSA’s lower school visited the farm, traveling from RYSA in downtown Manhattan to the Bronx for hands-on educational experience in garden exploration, using their five senses to learn about the farm and its diverse ecosystem. Students also created art with garden plants and flowers and studied the important work of bees and other pollinator’s by observing the New Roots beehive with the help of Kathleen McTigue, the New Roots program manager.
Upper school students participated in food and nutrition classes weekly to learn about the importance of healthy choices and how to make fresh, nutritious snacks. These students also had the option to participate in RYSA’s Garden Club, which met weekly at a nearby garden on Pace University’s campus, in partnership with the university.
Learning about healthy habits is integral to lifelong health and a strong educational foundation, so integrating all elements of healthy living, from socioemotional supports to nutrition awareness was important to this year's RYSA's design. The IRC's New Roots Community Farm is a unique resource and provided an unforgettable experience for RYSA 2018.
If you would like to support the IRC's RYSA and New Roots programs, please click here.