Monday, April 13, 2015

Program helps new Americans learn to farm

With spring right around the corner the students of The Green Shoots for New Americans Program hope to learn how to grow healthy and culturally relevant produce.
The Green Shoots Program runs through the summer and is affiliated with Journey’s End Refugee Services, a refugee resettlement agency.
Beginning in October 2013, the main goal of The Green Shoots Program is to teach refugees farming and marketing skills.
The program starts in the classroom and will eventually move to the fields. Refugees from Burma, Bhutan and Iraq, most who live on the West Side, participate in the program.
 “The program started because of the growing number of refugees that are resettling in Buffalo,” Program Manager Kyla Jaquish said.
            Many refugees have experience in farming and this program helps them integrate a part of their background to the West Side. 
Green Shoots participants

            “This program began not only to support the agricultural backgrounds of many of the refugees, but also to ensure they had access to healthy and culturally relevant foods,” Jaquish said. 
            The program helps refugees make farming a significant part of their life and income by giving them an opportunity to sell the produce they grow. 
            They will be selling seedlings and vegetables at the ECMC Farmers Market on Fridays at the West Side Bazaar and the Tri-Main Rummage Sale.
            The Green Shoots Program is looking for volunteers from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 18 to will help build raised beds on the vacant lot at 36 Brewster St. 
            “Many of the participants do not have space at home to have a garden, and through this program are able to grow things for themselves that they wouldn’t be able to otherwise,” Jaquish said. By Ryan Esguerra, Amber Rinard and Dallas Taylor