The Refugee & Immigrant Fund (RIF) is a non-profit organization based in Astoria, Queens, which provides refugees and asylum seekers with urban agricultural training in partnership with Brooklyn Grange, the largest rooftop soil farm in the world. The program, known as the Urban Farm Recovery Project, provides recent newcomers – many of them escaping war, famine, political and sexual persecution – with a tranquil environment, job readiness workshops, and a weekly stipend (asylum seekers are prohibited from legally working for 150 days after their request is submitted).
From April 2014 to February 2015 I volunteered as Communications Consultant for RIF. My duties included writing and editing copy, developing communications and advocacy strategies, and maintaining the organization’s blog, Growing Together. In the process I was fortunate enough to interview various participants, volunteers, and urban farmers in an effort to spread awareness of RIF’s mission and the hardships faced by refugees living in New York.