About - Cool Room Report (IRC New Roots Farm)
Winter 2017 - Sacramento, CA
Stella Sappington, second year undergraduate student, College of Letters and Science. D-Lab Involvement: Student in the Winter 2017 Global Poverty Seminar
Global Poverty Seminar 2017 student Stella Sappington received funding from the UC Davis Blum Center for Developing Economies to help out the Sacramento IRC with their New Roots farm program. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) provides aid and support to refugees worldwide. New Roots is a subprogram of the IRC, focusing on food security, food education and agricultural micro-enterprise. The clients of New Roots struggle to find and purchase appropriate and nourishing food within their means and are challenged in building stronger connections to their community and finding entrepreneurial opportunities. The project took place on a 4.5 acre plot in West Sacramento owned by IRC, which serves as a fertile ground to speak to many problems faced by new immigrant families. Activities included conducting market research to foresee the possibility and profitability of an herb garden on the IRC plot; administering a survey to farmers and potential buyers as well as phone interviews to restaurants and farmers market organizers; understanding market and producer interest; and researching potential crops to create the founding set of herb crops that will be environmentally successful.
Read the final report
Stella’s Blum Fellowship reflection
"Though my project this summer was different from what I had originally expected, I felt more confident in it than I could have imagined. My project manager, Tom Stein, and I had previously discussed conducting market research and client research on herb crops. However, the IRC being interested in developing a farm stand and better understanding a community of mostly Afghani and recent refugees, I was assigned to essentially carry out market research on the Afghan community itself to understand their interest and potential use of a farm stand. This way the IRC will know where to position the stand, who they are serving and what to serve.
"To do so I edited previous surveys done by research groups working with the IRC, whose materials were provided to me by Stein, and developed a new survey to address these concerns. Tom Stein worked alongside me and edited the first draft that I sent to him thoroughly. I incorporated his changes and began surveying approximately halfway through the month of August. Over approximately two weeks I called 138 numbers from a contact list provided to me by Stein. From these 138 calls 35 individuals responded to the survey. Following surveying I wrote a brief report for the IRC, the contents of which are largely included below.
"My experience working on this project was positive. If I were to change anything I would spend more time reading background materials and surveying. This project has the potential to continue into the future and Stein hopes to use the survey we created as the foundation for further assessment of this largely not well-understood community. New Roots will continue to survey the community to create the farm stand and to incorporate the newer refugees into the community garden which they are expanding." - Stella Sappington
Check out her articles written during her Blum Fellowship