SyRAPP is a training program for refugees who are interested in starting their own farming business or acquiring farmland. Farmers go through three years of ESOL, agriculture, gardening, marketing, and business training before they lease or buy land on their own. As part of their training, they are required to attend classes taught in partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension and Brady Farm during years 1-3 of the program and farm individual 1/8 or 1/4 acre plots.
There are two facets to the SyRAPP Program: the Community Gardens and the Incubator Farm. One of the biggest challenges facing refugee farmers if access to transportation and land. To solve this problem, SyRAPP has two community gardens located on the Northside of Syracuse that are near the farmer’s homes. The locations are 120 Seward St. and 2033/2035 Lodi St. The Lodi Street Garden also doubles as a Farmer’s Market to train SyRAPP farmers how to sell produce to consumers.
SyRAPP farmers additionally have access to an Incubator Farm at the Salt City Harvest Farm in Kirkville, NY, where they are then able to farm on individual 1/4 or 1/8 acre plots. These plots not only increase the growing capacity of the farmers in SyRAPP, but it also allows farmers to experiment with speciality crops from their home countries to see how well they grow in the Syracuse climate.
If SyRAPP sounds like a program that you would like to support, then please email SyRAPP Program Director Brandy Colebrook at firstname.lastname@example.org. There are many volunteer opportunities, and donations are always welcome!