SyRAP was formed in 2016 with the award of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, Refugee Agricultural Partnership Program (RAPP) grant. A few years before the start of SyRAP many people in the refugee community expressed a need and desire for more space and education to grow food. RISE responded to this need by applying to the RAPP grant and partnering with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Onondaga County (CCE-OC), Brady Farm (BF), and Salt City Harvest Farm (SCHF).
In the spring of 2017 the first community garden on Seward Street was built and used for training purposes for the first year participants and classes were taught by CCE-OC. In the spring of 2018 the second year farmers moved onto their own ⅛ of an acre plots at SCHF and an additional community garden was constructed for incoming first year farmers at Lodi Street and second year farmers had the option to sell their produce at the Regional Market. The Seward Street Garden was used by the second year farmers for more growing space closer to their homes. During the third year of the program (2019) the now third year farmers acquired up to ¼ of an acre and the second year farmers acquired ⅛ of an acre plots, and several new first year farmers started the program.
In the fall of 2019 the RAPP grant came to a close and two USDA grants were awarded to RISE, one was the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) and the Community Food Projects (CFP). The BFRDP grant allows the incubator farm and training programs to continue with the partnership of SCHF and at a new partner farm, Matthew 25 Farm (M25). New farmers were enrolled in the program and additional land was made available through M25 for more advanced farmers who needed extra land. The BFRDP grant was awarded by NIFA, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
The CFP grant allows SyRAP to start a meat goat farm with a new partner, Yorkholm Farm (YF) in Tully, NY. SyRAP farmers and the refugee community expressed a need for fresh goat meat that is butchered by the consumer for religious reasons. This need led to applying to the CFP grant and partnering with YF. A barn for the goat farm will be built in the summer of 2020 and people from the refugee community will be able to purchase goats and self-butcher on site in 2021. There will be workshops and training on goat husbandry for those who are interested in enrolling in the program and one person from the refugee community will someday take over the goat farm as their own business.
The Syracuse Refugee Agricultural Program (SyRAP) is a program of Refugee & Immigrant Self-Empowerment (RISE)
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