Today, I’d like to point you to a truly amazing example of how refugees can thrive in our country, while boosting the economy through their work at socially conscious firms. Luke Telander, Project Associate for Outreach, recently guest blogged for Higher, an LIRS program that provides newcomer workforce solutions to corporations across the U.S. while supporting career entry and advancement for resettled refugees and other new Americans.
Luke’s post profiles Edible Yard & Garden, a Clarkston, GA firm committed to environmental responsibility and the empowerment of local refugees. He writes:
Building on its mission of environmental stewardship, [Edible Yard & Garden] strives to complement existing flora by including fruit and nut producing trees and bushes in its landscaping, which facilitates local and just food production. Urban environments are food deserts, but by smartly taking advantage of landscaping possibilities, Edible Yard & Garden is taking a step towards environmental justice and food security for everyone.
Located near with one of the largest populations of refugees in the Eastern United States, Edible Yard & Garden is also strongly committed to employing refugees at a living wage, capitalizing on the experience and knowledge many refugees bring with them from overseas. To date, Edible Yard & Garden has employed refugees from Iraq, Burma, Bhutan, Bosnia, and Afghanistan. “We learn so much from who we’re working with,” said co-founder Jeremy Lewis. “Many refugees, not having access to resources, have developed more sustainable practices, and have passed them down through tradition,” said co-founder Benjamin Portwood, “For us this is a big asset and very beneficial. Learning has been a two-way street.” Edible Yard and Garden is committed to figuring out ways to value what everyone, in particular the refugee population, can quite literally bring to the table.
I hope you’ll check out the entire post, “Learning and Growth is a Two-Way Street Between Landscaping Company and Local Refugees.”
A little more about Higher, to satisfy your curiosity: Higher nurtures welcoming communities by assisting corporations, states, counties, resettlement agencies, ethnic-community based organizations, workforce development boards, and policy-makers in their efforts to help refugees gain economic stability and create opportunities to fully participate in the American dream. Since its beginnings under the name RefugeeWorks, this program has served as the U.S.Office of Refugee Resettlement’s training and technical assistance arm for employment and self-sufficiency activities for 15 years.
We’re proud of Higher’s work to Stand for Welcome, and excited that Edible Yard & Garden is creating jobs and introducing innovative ideas with refugee contributions!