The Refugee Garden Project had a very busy winter. We hosted several meetings with different groups throughout Columbia to expand our program to include incubator farms. An incubator farm is a large growing space that allows refugees to grow produce to sell commercially at local markets. In these farms, refugees would not only improve their growing skills but also learn the business side of farming commercially in Missouri on a small, low-risk scale..
Our goal for this program has always been to create opportunities for refugees to regain their farming heritage that was lost during their flight from war torn countries. While 3 opportunities presented themselves, all 3 did not come to fruition. Instead of being disappointed, we were encouraged by the interest, commitment, and creative ideas of the Columbia community. It is amazing to see a city’s desire to not only welcome refugees but also help them regain livelihoods lost.
However, just as we had given up on expanding in 2012, Broadway Christian surprised us again! They have expanded their garden for the 3rd time in 2 years. Because of the short notice, we have gone back to the drawing board to determine what this year will look like. Will refugees be able to sell commercially? Or will refugees utilize the space to just grow more produce for their family and friends? We are not sure, but please check back as we keep you updated.
One thing is for certain, refugees will certainly make the most of the new space and will most certainly surprise us with their ambition and innovation.
Here are a few pictures of the new garden space. There is still much work to be done. Fences built. Brush Burned. Plots marked. But we are thrilled for the new opportunities.
And as always, thank you for your interest in our refugees and our garden!