About six months ago, I found myself standing in the middle of the International Rescue Committee’s New Roots community farm in the City Heights section of San Diego. It was there that I met Luchia, a refugee from Uganda who now lives with her daughters in City Heights. She is one of the strongest, most determined women I have ever met, so beautiful and proud.
She was there to meet me, show me her garden plot, and then, take me home to cook traditional Ugandan fare. When we met it was actually a little chilly out and her natural instinct was to wrap her arms around me, making sure that her scarf was wrapped around me too. Needless to say, it was an instant connection and she welcomed me within a heartbeat.
Over the past five years the IRC has been building its New Roots program – a program which connects refugees, newly arrived in the United States, with the land and helps them integrate into their communities. To date, the IRC has been able to establish community gardens and farms in 11 of the 22 cities where they help refugees restart the lives.
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