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On Cleveland’s Largest Urban Farm, Refugees Gain Language and Job Skills

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The Refugee Empowerment Agricultural Program expects to harvest 22,000 pounds of produce this year, while helping refugees find a community.

By Chris Hardman
Civil Eats
07.05.17

Excerpt:

Since Donald Trump took office in January, the United States has become a less friendly place for people born in other countries. But various community groups across the U.S. have long supported refugees—often through efforts focused on agriculture.

In addition to REAP in Cleveland, projects such as Plant It Forward in Houston, New Roots in San Diego, and the Refugee Urban Agriculture Initiative in Philadelphia have found that refugees and urban farming are a good fit, and despite the hostility at the federal level, they remain committed to their work.

“We did a survey, and 80 percent of people who were coming as refugees have some sort of agricultural background,” said Refugee Response Director of Agricultural Empowerment Margaret Fitzpatrick.

That makes a farm an ideal entry into the American work force. In addition, Fitzpatrick explained, people are coming from all kinds of backgrounds, often with a history of violence and trauma. Refugees find farm work comforting and therapeutic.

Read the complete article here.