- About Us
- Resource Center
- Contact Us
CROSS CONNECTION COMMUNITY GARDEN: WHERE ROCKS BECAME BREAD
Submitted by Olga Lasco on Wed, 07/13/2011 - 13:46
The New Roots Farm and Food Security Program of International Rescue Committee in Phoenix funded by Office of Refugee Resettlement has been producing farmers since 2007. Newly established is the Cross Connection Community garden that started in April 2011.
The story of Cross Connection Community garden is synonymous to the miracle of turning rocks to bread.
When the pastor of Cross Connection International Fellowship Church, Phoenix, Pastor Jeff Jackson, who also has a refugee ministry in his church, discussed the offer of the vacant land behind the church with the New Roots Farm and Food Security Program Coordinator, Timothy Olorunfemi, in 2009, it was like an impossible dream.
Considering the 4-inch deep overlaid rocks of this 2-acre land, the cost of turning it to production being immense and other seemingly insurmountable barriers to the utilization of this opportunity in the way--the idea was like a mirage.
The land before the garden Cantaloupes at the garden after a few months
Effective mobilization of more resources and partners such as Rotary Club 100, Rotary Club West, and other organizations and individuals along with the dedication of both the church and the IRC’s New Roots Farm and Food Security Program staff, has made the project come to fruition in April 2011.
Spring of 2011, all the city requirements and the needed infrastructures such as fence and irrigation channel, as well as the land preparation, soil testing, soil amendments and planting were completed. On May 7th, 2011, the ribbon cutting ceremony was performed and was attended by a crowd of partners, families of the beneficiaries and other friends.
The refugee families with IRC staff and partners during the ribbon cutting ceremony
The goal of Cross Connection Community Garden is to help refugee families to train in modern farming and also serve as a route to self sufficiency, economic empowerment and household food security through agricultural endeavors.
The garden is currently assisting ten refugee families from Burma and Bhutan (five Burmese and five Bhutanese). These are refugees who arrived in United State within the last three years and are either finding it difficult to get job or do not have transferable skills to seek one. They all have agricultural background of various types and levels and are willing to continue their lifelong carrier of farming in the United States of America.
These gardeners are very hard working and have been undergoing both class room and on-farm training from IRC staff since February 2011 on agricultural businesses such as record keeping, farm business appraisal, farm basics, etc.
Burmese Farmers setting spacing for transplant Bhutan Farmers during cultivation
Besides training, staff continue to give technical assistance to the gardeners ranging from land preparation to marketing to enable them grasp the modern farming techniques. They also received assistance of seeds and other inputs from the New Roots Farm and Food Security Program and chicken pellets from Hickman’s Family Farms.
Farmers getting Technical Assistance from Tim Olorunfemi A farmer received input (seedling)
There are about fifteen varieties of crops planted at the garden in April, some of which are currently being harvested and taken to market. The crops include: four varieties of pepper, water melon, cantaloupes, galia melons, radishes, okra, cucumber, eggplants, summer squash, etc.
This fertile soil has been lying under the gravel for decades. The passer-by and beneficiaries expressed how amazing to see the rocks transformed to roots and fruits. The farmers are happy being able to continue their lifelong career and feeding their families.
For more information, contact: Timothy Olorunfemi,
602 433 2440 x 188 or 602 481 1579
ISED Blog Categories
- Individual Development Accounts
- International Programs
- Public Policy Dialogue
- Refugee Agricultural Partnership Program
- Refugee Integration Work Group
- Refugee Microenterprise Development
- Research and Evaluation Programs
- Results Oriented Commercial-Organization Capacity Development (R.O.C.C.D.)
- SBA PRIME
- Somali Bantu Refugee Community Development
- Wilson-Fish Refugee Resettlement