Economically disadvantaged refugees find self-sufficiency working sustainable urban farms
In the colorful cornucopia of local produce, artisan epicurean goods and interesting vendors served up Saturdays at the Energy Corridor Farmers Market, there is one farm taking an unusual approach to growing pesticide-free vegetables.
Plant It Forward Farms is filling customer baskets with fresh, local produce, but it’s also giving economically disadvantaged refugees settling in Houston new opportunities.
Working Plant It Forward’s sustainable urban farms throughout Houston, refugees are growing, harvesting and selling produce to become self-sufficient. The idea is to help refugees – many with few skills besides farming – build successful farm businesses that offer a living wage and meaningful work, not to mention fresh, local produce to Houstonians.
Refugees first learn through classroom training and in the field at a one-acre model farm. The end game is giving refugee farmers an opportunity to own a one-acre micro-farm where they can grow – and then sell – their own produce. Business assistance is provided to help refugee farmers sell their produce to farmers markets, grocery stores and restaurants.
Local social and religious groups partnering with Plant It Forward provide land and tools for the refugees. The group hopes to scale its replicable farming model into sustainable farms through the Houston region, giving more refugee farmers opportunities to develop a sustainable profession.
Plant It Forward is just one of many vendors filling Grisby Square from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Saturdays at the Energy Corridor Farmers Market, 14710 Grisby Road, southeast of IH-10 and Hwy 6.
Produce and meats are all locally sourced, grown by area farmers and ranchers, joined by epicurean artists and their homemade salsas, jams, candies and other delights.
To learn more the Energy Corridor Farmers market – or to apply as a vendor – visit here.
For more about Plant It Forward’s refugee farmer program, visit here.