Refugee Agricultural Partnership Program

refugee agriculture

ISED works with small scale and limited resource farmers and market gardeners—in the United States and World Wide—to assure that local communities have consistently available supplies of fresh, affordable, locally produced food.

Project Overview

ISED provides technical assistance services to agencies helping refugee market gardeners and small farmers. The focus of our work is to assure that refugees and refugee communities are represented as full partners in the sustainable agricultural movement: that they have consistent access to safe, affordable, and familiar food they grow, market and sell themselves.  Secondarily, ISED works in support of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Office of Refugee Resettlement and USDA by keeping agency-clients appraised of new theory, of food and nutrition program services, emerging trends and issues in sustainable agriculture, and of changes in Federal law and policy.

Organizational Profile of Beneficiaries

ISED currently works with the Office of Refugee Resettlement (DHHS—ORR) to serve a network of Voluntary Agencies (VOLAGS) and Mutual Assistance Associations (MAAs) concerned with integrating refugees living in the United States into the sustainable agriculture community.

Project Activities

ISED’s overarching goal is to help shorten the food supply chain so that all communities have access to safe, affordable, fresh, and consistently available food that is both familiar and varied.  We accomplish this by providing:

  • Technical assistance to agencies to help them to assess client interests and goals, establish effective relationships with agricultural resources like University Cooperative Extension, to access land and production inputs, and to facilitate family economic security through self-help initiatives such as market gardening and the direct sales of production to consumers.
  • Consultation focused on helping agency staff understand agricultural and food market channels, value and supply chains, and on developing skills that help farmers and food sector entrepreneurs operate profitable business enterprises.
  • Training agency staffs to understand and transfer food production enhancements, appropriate agricultural technologies, and business, sales and marketing skills to clients.
  • Facilitation of relationships and networks between direct service providers (agencies) and mainstream organizations such as USDA, local and sustainable agricultural groups, farmers and farmers’ markets, and between and among peer professionals.


ISED began work on the Refugee Rural Initiative—now Refugee Agricultural Partnership Program (RAPP)—in 2003.


The Refugee Agriculture Partnership Program is funded by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, DHHS.

Project Manager

Hugh Joseph