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Youth Photographers Explore New Roots

This summer, students in The AjA Project’s photography workshops considered City Heights’ relationship with food–where residents get it, whether it’s healthy and how it compares to the food refugees ate previously.

They followed their camera lenses to the New Roots Community Farm, where refugees grow their own food. The farm helps growers reconnect with the way of life they left and maintain healthy diets.

“City Heights has a community garden like New Roots because for some people it provides a way to continue farming and it’s a good way for others to learn how to grow healthy food.”

-Rhema, 17, originally from Kenya

“Community gardens give people better access to land to grow their own food. It’s easier and healthier because they don’t have to buy it in the stores and they know where it comes from.”

-Myo Myo, 14, originally from Burma

“I think community gardens are important for immigrants because some immigrants used to eat fresh food and when they came to the United States they don’t have a job. I think the garden is the only way they can get a job.”

-Maryan, 17, originally from Somalia

“I think City Heights has a community garden like New Roots because they want to get people active and also people can get more fresh produce. It’s important for immigrants that come to the United States to grow their own food because it reminds them of home.”

-Asnina, 15, originally from Kenya

Related Coverage

Yellow flowers

Refugee Youth Explore Food Justice With Cameras
Refugee students participating in The AjA Project’s summer workshop use cameras to consider how their families’ food traditions have changed and how community gardens help their neighborhood.

Farmer at New Roots Community Farms carries freshly harvested carrots

Community Farm Grows Refugee Businesses
Urban farmers at the New Roots Community Farm, many who are refugees, are now selling their harvests at local farmers markets. The micro-enterprise venture is providing supplemental income for refugees.

Refugee buying food at a farmers market

San Diego’s Urban Farms: Oases in Food Deserts
Linda Vista is following City Heights’ lead by opening a farmers market and community garden to help feed low-income residents. The refugee neighborhood lacks fresh fruits and vegetables and grocery stores.


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  1. Pingback: New Roots Partners With Granola Company to Boost Refugees’ Earnings | Speak City Heights