As Philadelphia’s leading refugee resettlement agency, NSC focuses not just on arrival, but also on refugees’ long-term integration into the city. As such, the Urban Agriculture Program is housed within NSC’s Refugee & Community Integration strategic initiative, which aims to help refugee families plant long-term roots after their 90-day resettlement period. A key goal is to guide our newest residents on the path to self-sufficiency.
To date, hundreds of families have secured access to plots at Growing Home and Growing Together, with more on the way in 2016. Demand remains exceptionally high.
Our Vision for the Gardens
- Improve Food Security: Urban agriculture offers a stream source of sustainable, culturally appropriate food, helping refugee food budgets go further.
- Celebrate Culture: Crops can establish continuity with culinary traditions.
- Promote Health: In keeping with NSC’s goal of supporting health and wellness, the gardens bring together nourishing food and healthy activity.
- Focus on Wellbeing: Gardening facilitates empowerment and stress relief, helping refugees overcome trauma and learn the ropes of life in the U.S.
- Create Community: The gardens improve neglected spaces while fostering learning and engagement across garden plots and cultures.
- Enhance Job-Readiness: Refugees deepen agricultural expertise, developing skills aligned with the growing urban agricultural sector.
- Establish Roots: Shared connections to place connect resettled families and their new neighbors.
- Foster Self-Determination: The gardens promote self-reliance, partnership and cooperation.
Urban Agricultural Job Skills
Urban agriculture has taken off in Philadelphia, as in much of the nation. It offers a unique opportunity to advance the personal and professional prospects of our gardeners. Uniting health, career development and community building under a single umbrella, the Refugee Urban Agricultural Initiative promotes refugee self-sufficiency.
In the gardens, potential urban farmers don’t just learn about crop development and climatic conditions. They build communities that can support their long-term wellbeing, whether it’s finding a job, sourcing childcare or building a base of contacts that will be there to celebrate success.