The IRC in Denver is thrilled to announce the latest addition to their programming: New Roots. New Roots has already been a beacon of hope for refugees since 2008. The gardening program can now be found in 13 US cities from Sacramento to New York, reaching over 8,400 people through 66 sites, and empowering new Americans while contributing to their communities.

Homayoon Milad, Senior Manager of Programs at the IRC in Denver, explains the goals of this new program for Denver: 

"First, New Roots helps refugees navigate food resources, ensuring they have access to nutritious meals. Second, low-income families are encouraged to participate in urban agriculture in order to learn to cultivate their own produce, fostering self-sufficiency and resilience. Third, New Roots develops local food systems, connecting growers with consumers. By supporting community markets, people create a sustainable cycle of food production and consumption. Fourth, New Roots invests in community green spaces, creating havens for both physical and mental well-being. And finally, youth and adults gain valuable life skills through New Roots. Whether it’s tending to a garden or managing a market stall, these skills empower individuals to thrive." 

Growing Good from the Ground Up - NEW ROOTS in Denver 

On Saturday, May 18th, the IRC in Denver’s New Roots program opened it’s door at their first garden plots at Ellis Elementary School, generously made available through the support of Denver Urban Gardens. Twelve clients, along with numerous staff and supporters spent their afternoon working in the garden alongside each other to plant crops ranging from vegetables and herbs to fresh flowers. Participants had the opportunity to share their stories, meet other members of their communities, and bond over their love for gardening. 

Khaja Humayoun Amini, the IRC in Denver's New Roots Coordinator, explains:

"New Roots is not just about food—it is about building livelihoods, promoting holistic health, and fostering community integration."  

Meet Khaja Humayoun Amini – New Roots Coordinator at the IRC in Denver 

Khaja came to the IRC in Denver two years ago as an Afghan refugee. Khaja brings a wealth of agricultural knowledge and experience to the New Roots program. Having spent years working on alternative livelihood projects for farmers in Afghanistan, Khaja developed a deep passion for gardening and sustainable agriculture. 

"“This past Saturday, we celebrated the launch of the IRC in Denver's New Roots program. This garden program offers organic produce, wellness products, and sustainable living resources. I am incredibly excited,"

says Khaja.


"My vision is expanding the initiative to include all refugees who share an interest in gardening, farming, and agriculture. I believe that this program, aptly named "Seeds of Hope," can serve as a bridge between refugees and their new communities. By involving refugees in agricultural activities, I aim to foster a sense of belonging and purpose. 

Khaja is particularly dedicated to educating the younger generation about the importance of gardening, climate change, and nutrition.

“The garden is a living classroom where children can learn valuable life skills while gaining an appreciation for the environment and healthy eating”,

says Khaja.  

"We were overwhelmed by the support and enthusiasm from everyone who joined us. Khaja’s enthusiasm and vision for New Roots are definitely the driving forces behind the program's success,"

says Homayoon Milad.

"It was wonderful to see our community and the IRC in Denver's staff come together to celebrate, support locals, and embrace sustainable living. Together, we are cultivating not just gardens, but stronger, more connected communities." 

The IRC in Denver thanks everyone who joined the New Roots opening and made the day unforgettable.

If you are interested in the program, please reach out to Khaja Humayoun Amini at [email protected].