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.

Planting the seeds

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 SecurityUrban 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 HealthIn keeping with NSC’s goal of supporting health and wellness, the gardens bring together nourishing food and healthy activity.
  • Focus on WellbeingGardening facilitates empowerment and stress relief, helping refugees overcome trauma and learn the ropes of life in the U.S.
  • Create CommunityThe gardens improve neglected spaces while fostering learning and engagement across garden plots and cultures.
  • Enhance Job-ReadinessRefugees 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-DeterminationThe 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.