On this edition of It’s More Than Food, Michel Nischan is talking about the role of immigration in agriculture and our food system. Michel invites two people who work with immigrant and refugee populations onto the show- Larry Laverentz and Ellee Igoe. Larry Laverentz has administered the Refugee Agricultural Partnership program (RAPP) or its predecessor, the Refugee Rural Initiative, since December of 2003. As a contract employee, Larry manages RAPP within the Office of Refugee Resettlement in the Department of Health and Human Services. The purpose of RAPP is to support local organizations to develop agricultural and food systems programs for refugee families from agrarian backgrounds that result in sustainable or supplemental income, improved access to better food and nutrition, and enhanced integration into communities.Tune in to hear what refugee groups RAPP works with, and how the organization prepares refugees for an agrarian life in the United States.Ellee Igoe is the Technical Advisor for Food and Farming at the International Rescue Committee. She works with IRC offices in 22 U.S. cities to implement food security, nutrition, and agriculture programs under the banner of New Roots. This year, New Roots will engage 15,000 low-income consumers, 850 gardeners, 118 urban farmers, and 60 farm business owners to help build healthier and more economically viable local food systems from the ground up. Listen in to hear Ellee talk about how immigrant and refugee groups deal with the bureaucracy of growing food in this country, especially in urban environments. How does immigration reform threaten not only the livelihood of refugee populations, but also their culture? Tune in to this program to learn more about food security and land access, and their connection to immigrant populations! Thanks to our sponsor, Wholesome Wave.
“Being able to grow your own food is great, but it only serves a small number of people. We needed to create a healthy marketplace where that food could become accessible to a wider amount of people.” [30:05]
“Foreign-born entrepreneurs account for more than 40% of the entrepreneurs in the food industry.” [39:35]
— Ellee Igoe on It’s More Than Food