Global Greens

A new farmers market debuted June 7, with refugees living in Greater Des Moines selling their produce. The refugees tend the veggies in West Des Moines without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers and use sustainable farming practices. The weekly Saturday market will run through Sept. 27, 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m., at the LSI (Lutheran Services in Iowa) parking lot, 3200 University Ave.

The market is the latest offering from LSI’s Global Greens program (previously Urban Agriculture). In addition to community gardening, which allows refugees to grow food for their families, LSI also now offers intensive training for those wanting to become small-scale farmers as an occupation. The new market is the farmers’ first opportunity to sell their produce before transitioning to their own land and launching independent businesses.

Along with lowering grocery bills and providing healthful food, income and business opportunities, the farming program helps refugees feel less isolated, connect to cultural customs and pass along agricultural traditions to younger generations, organizers say. Working the land and growing food also can be emotionally healing–a respite for people who have endured war, violence and unspeakable loss before being forced from their home countries and settling here. For more information about LSI’s Refugee Community Services, click here.

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