New Roots for Refugees empowers families to start farm businesses growing produce according to organic standards.
For the past decade New Roots for Refugees has supported families from the refugee community in establishing their own farm businesses primarily selling through farmer’s markets, CSA (community supported agriculture), and wholesale to local restaurants. New Roots is a collaboration between Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas and Cultivate Kansas City.
Farmers enter this four year program with agricultural expertise from their home country and New Roots staff help refine those skills to be best suitable for the Kansas City climate, and an American business model. Each family is given 1/4 acre plot to grow on. For four years, farmers are assisted in crop planning, farm troubleshooting, business finance record keeping, tracking, applying for markets, recruiting customers, and much more. Every year the program is designed to pass on more of the responsibilities of the business to each family in the program. New Roots for Refugees is designed to remove the initial barriers to starting a business- financial restraints, literacy, language proficiency, networking, etc. While in the program families take English classes, attend weekly workshops about owning a farm business in America, maintain their plot, sell at a farmer’s market, coordinate a CSA, learn equipment, and manage their business, financially and through keeping records. At the end of four years, families move onto their own piece of land and begin growing there. By the fourth year, farmers have taken on the totality of the business expenses and have practice maintaining their customer base. Every year more farms begin in Kansas City on new plots of land offering more local produce grown following organic practices, in communities across the metro.