By Quinn Graves, Environmental and Sustainability Studies Student
Earlier this month, stewards and volunteers from the Edible Campus Gardens took on the first “farm mob” of the summer to support urban farms in Salt Lake and to learn new tricks. For me, this farm mob experience opened my eyes to the opportunities Salt Lake City has to get involved with different agricultural practices.
After bike-pooling to West Salt Lake, I pulled into the New Roots farm feeling eager and excited to see what tasks lay ahead. When we all got there, our leaders, Chris and Sarah, told us exactly what New Roots is and does. They explained that New Roots is a program through the International Rescue Committee that gives resettled refugees a place to thrive and farm their own crops. New Roots allows refugees to autonomously plant and grow crops to sell and/or use for their families. They are encouraged to grow produce that is native to their home countries, which is pretty amazing because many of the vegetables they grow cannot be found elsewhere in Salt Lake except for where they sell them. The vegetables grown on their plots are sold at the Sunnyvale Farmers Market, Westminster College, ethnic grocery stores, and some restaurants.
After learning about all the wonderful things New Roots strives to achieve, we went to work. We were assigned to replace part of the irrigation system called “drip tape,” which allows water to drip steadily out of small slits straight onto planted crops. We ran around replacing, coupling, and taking out ripped drip tape. With nine volunteers and two New Roots employees, we were able to replace drip tape for half of the farm in a little over three hours!
At New Roots, people who have been resettled from all over the globe are able to grow vegetables from their home countries and make money by doing so. It was amazing to see this program in action because I had never seen anything like it. I’m proud that I was able to help aide in fixing New Roots’ irrigation system so the people and crops can survive and thrive for years to come.
Stewards from the Edible Campus Gardens will engage in farm mobs every month this summer. We will go to a different farm in the Salt Lake area each time and learn about their missions and goals. Then, we will help them with a project or everyday gardening tasks. We welcome anyone and everyone to come help out! More details for June’s farm mob will be posted on our Facebook page, and we hope to see a lot of you there.
Follow the Edible Campus Gardens on Facebook to keep updated. Happy farming, friends!
Quinn Graves is a Geography & Environmental and Sustainability Studies double major. She is an outdoor enthusiast and is passionate about sustainable food practices.