September 14, 2023 — Ahead of the UN General Assembly and New York Climate Week, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) Ambassadors are highlighting climate resilience close to home. The IRC’s programming in countries like Nigeria and Syria, where worsening weather exacerbates food insecurity, parallels the spirit of the New Roots program. People-first solutions that combine community knowledge and action tailored to the needs of that community are crucial in supporting adaptation to climate change.
Across 12 U.S. cities, New Roots engages refugees and new Americans in urban agriculture by developing local food systems, providing a platform for youths and adults to build job and life skills, and helping people to engage in bold solutions to the climate crisis. These urban farms combat climate change and lessen its impacts by contributing to better air quality, helping reduce runoff associated with heavy rainfall, and making critical habitat for pollinators. They also provide a reprieve from the "heat island" effect in cities, especially in communities that lack quality green spaces.
In the South Bronx, New Roots has 24 community farm members that steward the land, serves over 200 community members weekly at a free food share distribution, and has distributed over 40,000 pounds of fresh produce. Overall, the program’s approach to green entrepreneurship has assisted new farmers in the United States to earn $380,000 from healthy and sustainable produce, serving nearly 14,000 people in the midst of a nationwide hunger crisis and using climate-smart farming methods.
Andrew Zimmern, Emmy-winning American chef:
"During my visit to the New Roots Community Farm in the Bronx, I had the privilege to meet remarkable people who came from different corners of the world in search of safety and opportunity. Their shared experience as participants in the IRC’s food and agriculture program shows the power of community and the universal language of food. New Roots is where food becomes the bridge to a brighter future - where traditional knowledge meets the bustling food industry of New York City. I'm inspired by their culinary aspirations, their commitment to sharing their heritage through urban agriculture, and their dreams of entrepreneurship. Their stories and the produce grown at New Roots inspired me to share the recipe for my corn and green tomato salad. This is one of those recipes where simple is best, but you can adjust it to your own tastes. New Roots is a special place where skills are nurtured, traditions are honored, and hope is rekindled.”
Morena Baccarin, Emmy-nominated actress:
“The New Roots program supports refugees and new Americans to access the land, tools, and training needed to grow healthy food and nourish their families. It is a transformative journey of community empowerment, where the seeds of resilience are sown. When I had the honor of visiting New Roots, people were not only cultivating the land but also their dreams.”
Countries on the frontlines of the climate crisis have done the least to contribute to climate change – the 20 countries on the IRC’s 2023 Emergency Watchlist contributed just 1.9% of global CO2 emissions. Many of these same countries are ill-prepared for the impacts of climate change, which leaves people – particularly women and girls – unable to cope and recover. As UNGA and NY Climate Week provide ample opportunity for global leaders to envision a greener future, it is vital that talk turns into outcome, scaling support to improve climate readiness and reduce climate vulnerability from Syria to the South Bronx.
Andrew Zimmern’s Corn & Green Tomato Salad
Simple is best. This is one of those recipes. Don’t feel encumbered by the ingredients I am using here. Feel free to make this cold succotash–style corn and green tomato salad for any and every meal, at least until corn stops coming into the market. Sometimes I add handfuls of every herb I have in the garden. Or sometimes I add roasted garlic or toasted croutons to make this more of a panzanella-type salad.
•5 ears of corn (about 3 pounds), shucked
•1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
•2 large green beefsteak tomatoes, diced
•1/3 cup finely chopped scallions
•1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
•3 tablespoons finely chopped mint
•1/4 cup fresh lime juice
•1 tablespoon sugar
•1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
•1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
•1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1. Light a grill. Lightly brush the corn with olive oil and grill, turning occasionally, until charred in some spots and tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a work surface and let cool for 5 minutes. Cut the kernels from the cobs and transfer to a large bowl.
2. Meanwhile, grill the jalapeños, turning occasionally, until charred and soft, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 20 minutes. Peel, seed and finely chop the jalapeños. Stir into the corn along with the tomatoes, scallions, cilantro and mint.
3. In a small bowl, whisk the 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of olive oil with the lime juice, sugar, cumin and coriander and season with salt and pepper. Add to the vegetables and toss to coat. Transfer the salad to a bowl, sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and serve.