Gardens and farms serve more purposes than just as pretty scenery or means of agricultural production. These green spaces are also serving as places of sanctuary and opportunity for refugees who have just come to the U.S. through the International Rescue Committee (IRC). A 6-year old program called New Roots helps "refugees get used to their new countries by allowing them to do something that is familiar and empowering: growing things."
New Roots already has more than 400 refugees tending their 17 farms in nine cities across the country. The program's benefits are twofold, empowering those recently displaced from their native countries and aiding efforts to supply more fresh food to urban communities.
"Food is one of the most significant, visceral ways we are connected to culture," states New oots' national coordinator Ellie Igoe. "Refugees have been disconnected from those kinds of rituals. When that happens, we suffer emotionally. And so when we're able to get back to those things, it enlivens us."
In the market we have a feed back loop that rewards efficiency of scale . . . bigger is better . . . and simpler is better. We can balance that with local systems of production, owned by the consumers of what they produce, because that creates a feed back loop that rewards efficiencies of integration . . .
Imagine a system of gardens and greenhouses that produced enough food for the entire neighborhood (Neighborhoods already own much of what is required). Imagine that anyone in the neighborhood could get a share of that food by doing what they enjoy . . . fixing cars, reading to kids, cooking, sewing, carpentry, home repair, gardening, making cheese . . .
Once you start an integrated system of production, it gets better the more things you can integrate . . . and, instead of labor being a cost, in this system, the more people that contribute, the less each person has to do.
To mark Nutrition Month this July, the Department of Health is urging all Filipino households and communities to plant vegetable gardens in their backyards and other open spaces not only to curb malnutrition among children but to stop the high incidence of noncommunicable diseases in the country.
The DOH cited food consumption surveys by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) that showed Filipinos were eating only two servings of vegetables, or about 110 grams, a day from the 145-gram daily intake recorded in 1978.
It also highlighted FNRI data that showed only 67.7 percent of Filipino households had vegetable gardens or fruit trees in their backyards.
“The data is alarming considering that low fruit and vegetable intake is among the top 10 risk factors for global mortality based on a World Health Organization report,” said the DOH.
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