New Roots for Refugees is a Kansas City training program that equips refugees who have been resettled in Missouri and Kansas with farming skills. Within a 9-acre plot of land just outside downtown Kansas City, trainees learn about farming in a different climate and pick up the tools necessary to set up a business.
I started documenting its participants as the season began in early spring, just as coronavirus restrictions were easing and vaccinations were ramping up. It was a tough winter spent indoors and farmers were relieved to spend time at the farm again.
While the US remains one of the largest refugee resettlement countries in the world, its cap has significantly decreased over the last decade, from 80,000 in 2011 to a mere 15,000 in 2021.
According to the UNHCR, refugees from Myanmar are the second largest group that the US welcomed in 2020. That same group makes up the largest proportion of participants in New Roots for Refugees. Almost all of them were in asylum somewhere else prior to arriving in the US, having spent years in other refugee camps in Asia. This project seeks to visualize the dignity with which they live in America.