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Grant funding helps refugees grow careers in KC

New Roots for Refugees
Posted at 12:02 PM, Nov 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-05 13:02:37-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The New Roots for Refugees program was awarded over $500,000 in grant funding Friday.

The program helps refugee families learn to grow produce and maintain small businesses.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is providing the funding, which will support farm training and market support.

The New Roots for Refugees program is led by the Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas (CCNEK) and Cultivate KC.

"With this funding, they will be able to fund positions and supplies that enhance in the program in variety of areas, including marketing trainings and digital literacy, expanded wholesale, improved business management and tax filing support, and field trips to promote integration into the KC agricultural community," Cultivate KC Program Manager Sema Fetahovic and CCNEK Program Manager Meredith Walrafen said in a statement.

The year-round program is held at the Juniper Gardens Training Farm in Kansas City, Kansas, where participants are given a quarter-acre plot to grow produce. They also participate in English lessons and farming workshops.

In addition to working to remove initial barriers to starting a small business for refugees, the New Roots for Refugees program also aims to support the Kansas City economy and agriculture industry.

“Programs that jump start small businesses through educational services, business development trainings, and investments in our workforce have benefits far beyond the individual business owner. New Roots for Refugees is a great example, resulting in more sustainable food systems, a stronger economy, and a more welcoming community,” U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids said. “I’ve seen first-hand how this program provides community members with the tools and support needed to both take care of their loved ones and contribute positively to our economy. I am positive the funds will be put to good use.”

New Roots for Refugees was founded in 2008 and has graduated 30 farmers from the program, 21 of which are currently operating a farm business.

NIFA provided a total of over $50 million to 140 organizations that support beginning farmers and ranchers across the country.