Enabling greater integration into their new communities, the International Rescue Committee's New Roots program provides refugee families with the space, materials and training to participate in urban gardening activities throughout Tucson. Whether through backyard or community gardening, the New Roots Program allows refugees to cultivate fresh, nutritious food while connecting with their neighbors. Advanced gardeners of the program can complete a certificate course offered through the International Rescue Commitee's MicroProducer Academy, which teaches refugees how to grow and sell produce for market. In support of the International Rescue Commitee, this project contributed to a fund that subsidizes plot fees for refugee gardeners living in Tucson.
St. Demetrios Garden, International Rescue Committee and Community Gardens of Tucson
The Community Gardens of Tucson (CGT) is a non-profit organization that cultivates community well-being through gardening. With a wide range of educational and material resources available, gardeners of all backgrounds and experiences are able to participate across the 26 community gardens CGT supports. To further the mission of CGT, the project has provided funding for natural vegetation, irrigation equipment, and gardener scholarships.
CGT gardens participating in the project include: Barrio Blue Moon, Benedictine Monastery, Chaverim, Highland Vista, Homer Davis, Keeling, Mansfield, Nottinghill, Presidio, and St. Demetrios.
Barrio Blue Moon Community Garden, Community Gardens of Tucson
Managed by the non-profit organization Compass Affordable Housing, Alvord Court is an apartment complex designed to provide housing accommodations for low-income, disabled women, men, and families in South Tucson. To promote the health and wellness of its residents and surrounding community, Alvord Court opened a garden in the Spring of 2016. With the goal of supporting the Alvord Court community garden, the project has provided assistance in obtaining essential gardening supplies, such as: irrigation equipment, planting tools, soil, and plot materials.
Alvord Court Garden, Compass Affordable Housing
Run by the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, Las Milpitas de Cottonwood is a demonstration community farm that serves as an educational cornerstone on desert gardening in Tucson. Through workshops and plots, gardeners are taught essential and advanced skills ranging from food production to ecological sustainability. In collaboration with the project, Las Milpitas de Cottonwood staff have provided support to expanding the local network around urban agricultural production in Tucson. Some gardeners at Las Milpitas are also backyard gardeners and community gardeners that ‘Greening Tucson’ researchers have interviewed.
Las Milpitas Community Farm, Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona
A public facebook forum, ‘Tucson Backyard Gardening’ provides a virtual space for the people of Tucson to connect and share their experiences of gardening in a desert climate. Within the scope of this project, the community of ‘Tucson Backyard Gardening’ lends insights into how urban agriculture social networks form and expand around local initiatives on food security.
Tucson Backyard Gardening homepage