New Roots for Refugees is a four-year training program that began in 2008 as a collaboration between Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas and Cultivate KC. Both organizations work to provide farmer training and market support at the Juniper Gardens Training Farm to help farmers develop and maintain small businesses after graduation.
For over a decade, New Roots for Refugees has empowered families from the refugee community to start farm businesses by growing and selling produce through farmer’s markets, wholesale, and the New Roots Farm Share. At the Juniper Gardens Training Farm, farmers are given a quarter-acre plot to grow vegetables such as tomatoes, beets, spinach, green onions, lettuce, eggplants, and more. Farmers bring agricultural expertise from their home country and continue to learn more about growing sustainably in the Midwestern climate.
New Roots for Refugees is designed to remove the initial barriers to start a small business. These include systemic challenges like economic mobility, language, networking, and access to education and support. Divided between the growing season and winter classes, farmers at the New Roots program are involved year-round. Staff provide lessons in English and weekly farming workshops in the off-
season to sharpen farmers’ skills in growing in the Midwest and developing a small business.
Over four-years, farmers are assisted with crop planning, farm troubleshooting, farming equiptment, business finance, record-keeping, markets applications, and customer recruitment. Each year, the program passes more responsibilities to each farmer to maintain their business. By the fourth year, farmers have taken on the totality of the business expenses and have practice maintaining their customer base.
Since 2008, New Roots has had over 30 farmers graduate from the program, 21 of whom still operate a farm business today. You can support New Roots farmers at a local farmers market, restaurant, or by subscribing to our Farm Share program.
Everything grown at the Juniper Gardens Training Farm abides by strict organic principles. We are committed to creating a sustainable, healthy food system and never use genetically modified or treated seeds, synthetic fertilizers, chemical pesticides, or anything else that is forbidden on certified organic farms. Apart from annual tillage, and the use of small walk-behind tillers, New Roots farmers generally cultivate the earth relying primarily on their own physical strength rather than petroleum powered machinery.
New Roots for Refugees grows more than just food. Each year, the program expands. In 2020, there are...
Schedule a tour
Visit Juniper Gardens Training Farm in downtown Kansas City, KS, to learn more about the site’s history and the New Roots program. Click the link below to schedule a tour this summer. Groups or individuals welcome!