New grant to grow fresh produce, health equity for CNY refugees

A new greenhouse is coming to the nonprofit Refugee and Immigrant Self-Empowerment, or RISE. The organization's agriculture program teaches refugees from countries around the world how to farm in the upstate climate. A recent $30,000 grant will help the organization grow its resources to expand its efforts and support health equity.

Program Director Anna Zoodsma said the grant-funded plant nursery will let immigrants and refugees raise seedlings during Central New York's winter. "Seeds will start in the greenhouse and will be transplanted out into the field once they're mature enough, and it's warmer weather for those crops to grow," Zoodsma said.

The harvest provides fresh fruits and vegetables to newcomer communities and a chance to make a living with their stand at the CNY Regional Market. Zoodsma said the greenhouse encourages health equity by ensuring food security.

"I think at a very basic level, in order to live a healthy, happy life, you need to have access to foods that are important to you and that are nourishing to you," she said. She said the greenhouse will help support both the physical and mental health of the gardeners.


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