Bound Volume Number

3

Document Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2015

Capstone Advisor

Thomas A. Perreault, Professor of Geography

Honors Reader

Jonnell A. Robinson, Assistant Professor of Geography

Capstone Major

Geography

Capstone College

Arts and Science

Audio/Visual Component

no

Keywords

Salt City Harvest Farm, urban agriculture, refugee, organizational best practices

Capstone Prize Winner

yes

Won Capstone Funding

no

Honors Categories

Social Sciences

Subject Categories

Agricultural and Resource Economics | Human Geography | Organization Development | Urban Studies

Abstract

The Salt City Harvest Farm (SCHF) is a community farm located in Kirkville, NY cultivated by and for New Americans living in Syracuse who wish to expand gardening beyond their backyards and community gardens. While the farm has been operational for two growing seasons, it is an all-volunteer project with limited capacity, and concerns about long-term sustainability. This research was designed to be pragmatic; it seeks to inform the future structure and programming of the SCHF by identifying its projectspecific challenges, drawing on the agricultural aspirations of its New American participants, and investigating how other refugee farming projects in the United States function. To this end, primary qualitative data was collected (primary research methods included an oral survey and focus group with the farm's New American participants, semi-structured interviews with the farm's owners and facilitators, and participant observations of the previous growing season), and relevant background research conducted. As an urban-fringe agricultural site providing access to greenspace, supplemental produce, and the opportunity to socialize, the SCHF hosts a wide range of benefits for its New American participants. While the majority of refugee farming projects in the United States are farmer-training, or incubator, programs, the SCHF stands apart in its unique emphasis on communal cultivation and cross-cultural exchange. Results reveal that the Salt City Harvest farmers have rich agricultural backgrounds and extensive botanical knowledge. The farm would best suit their interests by continuing to be a place to grow their own food (rather than transitioning into an incubator model), incorporating identified culturally significant crops, and perhaps connecting them with resources for identifying more wild edible plants, especially those with medicinal properties. Some organizational recommendations for best practices include clearly defining roles, integrating New Americans into the farm’s decision-making processes, investing in interpreting services, forging mutually beneficial partnerships, and considering alternative forms of fundraising.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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