Monday, May 4, 2015

Weekend Fun!

We had a flurry of activity this weekend with a group of volunteers at a graduate site on Friday, farm work day on Saturday morning and a CSA potluck Saturday afternoon!

Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas has a job readiness class that meets weekly to learn different aspects of working in the United States. Part of the class includes volunteering at various sites around Kansas City to gain experience doing different kinds of work. Many times, refugees will be able to gain a letter of recommendation from volunteer work they've done in the community. The class volunteered to help a New Roots graduate, Aye Aye, with her garden on Friday. They were able to install t-posts, move a tool shed and help Aye Aye with planting and weeding her vegetables. Though our graduates are able to do most on their own, they could always use a hand around the garden. If you or a group you are involved in are interested in a work day, let us know!

Volunteers visit Juniper Gardens on the first Saturday of each month to participate in a work day with our farmers. People from the community are able to help with the bigger projects around the farm and assist individuals in their plots. This weekend, cars lined the garden even though it rained most of the morning. We had over 15 people who were able to accomplish a lot in just a few hours! Join us next month on June 6th from 9:00am-12:00pm.

As market season is upon us, CSA friends came out to the farm for an opening day celebration and potluck! CSA friends are vital to us, because they partner with farmers who are new to the community and new to market. With the promise of high quality, delicious vegetables all season long, CSA friends are able to provide the start-up capital farmers need to buy seeds, compost and straw at the beginning of the season. We are teaching this important practice to our farmers, so they see they are not alone in the local food movement. CSA friends become a gateway to the larger Kansas City community for our farmers- and New Roots farmers remind us of the value of diversity in our communities through food, culture and generosity. If you are interested in this practice, check out our CSA page for more information!

 Thanks to all who made this weekend such a great one! We appreciate all of you and are looking forward to seeing you all again soon. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Food For Thought

Last week, Meredith Walrafen was asked to join two panels to talk about New Roots for Refugees. The first was the event Take 5 at the Nelson Atkins Museum. At these events, four presenters share a five-minute story on a topic, answer questions asked by the moderator, and then move around tables to engage in conversation with the participants. This month’s topic was Food, and Meredith joined executive chef Marwan Chebaro, curator of the museum Catherine Futter, and editor of Harvest Public Media Jeremy Bernfeld to talk about culture, food waste and community. Meredith was able to share about two of the graduates of New Roots, Pay Lay and Beh Paw Gaw. They are sisters from Burma who have been growing on over two acres in Kansas City, KS and selling at farmer’s markets. She talked about the importance of food in their community and the lessons that we can learn just by engaging with women like Pay Lay and Beh Paw Gaw. If you missed out, reach out to Meredith and ask her about it! 

Meredith was also invited to speak at Middle of the Map Festival’s Forum Series. She was on a panel titled Local Food: Growing a Better KC. She was joined by fellow local growers, community builders and creative thinkers and moderated by KC Food Circle. Meredith shared about the vision of New Roots and the importance of shopping at local farmer’s markets. She encouraged listeners to push past the awkwardness of language barriers and differing cultures, and engage with New Roots farmers at markets. In return, you’ll try some high quality (and unique!) produce, share stories and recipes, and possibly make a new friend. Check out our market page to see how you can do just that this summer!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

National Volunteer Week

This week we are celebrating National Volunteer Week! All around the country, people are spending their free time helping others. The Independent Sector announced that the 2014 estimate for the value of a volunteer hour is $23.07- up 2.3% from last year! Though this is a great way to measure the impact of our volunteers, we see the value of our volunteers in more tangible ways. Our farmers improve their English, become more confident interacting with customers at market and receive help with maintaining their farm plots. New Roots for Refugees relies on volunteers throughout the year in many ways. See below for ways that you can get involved this year. Check out the Get Involved page for more information on how to be part of the success of New Roots for Refugees!

Farm Work Days
Juniper Gardens has work days on the first Saturday of each month. Whether it’s a group from your place of worship, business, or you want to come out on your own- we have a job for you at the farm! Contact for more information.

Market Volunteer
New Roots is recruiting summer market volunteers! We're looking for people to help get our farmers to markets and help them set up and interact with customers. If you're looking for a weekly, steady volunteer opportunity this summer and you enjoy farmer's markets and meeting new people, this is the place for you! Contact if you're interested.

ESL Tutor
New Roots farmers recognize that as their English skills improve, so does their business! When markets are finished, we start our winter workshops and English classes. We place volunteers with a small group that meets weekly in a farmer’s home from late fall through early spring. If you are interested in learning more, contact We’ll add you to the list to contact next fall!

Volunteer Your Way!
A great way to support New Roots is using your individual skill set to assist a farmer. If you are a graphic designer, we have graduates who need business logos. If you do taxes for a living, you could lead a workshop on paying sales tax. We've had volunteers show farmers how to keep bees and start mushrooms. Newly graduated New Roots farmers are always in need of grant writers and land researchers, not to mention folks who can come do miscellaneous projects on their newly acquired land. Administrative tasks abound at the office! We welcome people with various skill levels and interests to participate. Contact us for more information.