The International Rescue Committee of Salt Lake City has been helping refugees since 1994. From the very beginning, this organization has aided people fleeing from war, human trafficking and torture and helped them establish new and safe lives here in the beehive state.
While these families and individuals are grateful for a fresh start, their heritage is also kept alive and well by the IRC’s New Roots Program. New Roots allows refugees to grow and sell foods native to their homelands and it allows many to continue in their agrarian backgrounds.
Sarah Adams, the New Roots Program Manager, says that this project allows immigrants from many different counties to cultivate a variety of culturally specific vegetables.
“We have everything on this farm,” she says. “From your regular tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, to a lot of specific cultural varieties such as pumpkin vines, amaranth leaves, okra and a lot of specific varieties of eggplant and peppers that folks are familiar with eating, preparing and growing.
This year New Roots is working with over fifty farmers from countries such as Bhutan, Myanmar, Chad, Burundi, and providing opportunities for them to grow on the farm site in Salt Lake City, as well as New Roots other farm sites around the valley.
It is because of the IRC’s commitment to help feed the refugee community here in Utah that Smith’s Food and Drug and Fox 13 is awarding them this month’s Zero Hunger Hero Award.
“We really appreciate the recognition,” says Adams. “We're really excited and honored to receive this award. I think it speaks to the hard work the farmers and in our program are doing.”
Adams went on to say that she hopes the program will continue to grow and serve the refugee community here in Utah. New Roots is a great opportunity that stands as proof that sowing a few seeds in the community can go a long way and that feeding both the body and the soil.
For more information on The International Rescue Committee’s New Roots Program log onto newrootsslc.org/gardens.