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5 innovative hunger-fighting programs

International Rescue Committee, IRC, New Roots Community Farm

Photo: Sandy Huffaker/IRC

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New Roots Community Farm, International Rescue Committee

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has helped refugee populations adapt to life away from home since 1942. One of its most popular programs in the U.S. is New Roots, which began when a group of refugees wanted to grow food in their neighborhood. The IRC, with the help of volunteers, revitalized an abandoned two-acre lot owned by the city of San Diego in 2009, and New Roots Community Farm was born.

About 80 families signed up and began the laborious process of clearing the land of rocks and debris to make the land suitable for farming. Their success in turning hardscrabble property into an urban oasis that feeds people has been emulated in 15 of the 22 cities where the IRC operates. Currently, the IRC partners with community groups focused on food security to grow and share fresh produce, and in some instances, sell the surplus at farm stands and farmers markets. This photo shows a shopper from Liberia sorting through vegetables at the New Roots stand at a farmers market in the City Heights neighborhood of San Diego.