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Community garden helps immigrants put down roots

Author Madhushree Ghosh reflects on gardening as a source of resilience and neighborhood joy

The Orange County Register Column

MAY 26, 2022
Photo by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register/SCNG

Next to a busy freeway near the working-class neighborhood of City Heights in San Diego is a green stretch that you could easily miss if you didn’t pay attention to the road that leads to it. A hand-painted sign, “The New Roots Community Farm,” is quite inconspicuous, while bossy chickens in the coop close to the chain-linked fence gate offer greetings as you enter.

You’re transported to heaven, and it’s right next to a California freeway.

For decades, the City Heights neighborhood has welcomed refugees and immigrants from African countries including Somalia, Zimbabwe, Congo, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. An estimated 30,000 east Africans call San Diego home, making it the largest African community in California. The City Heights Community Development Corporation (City Heights CDC) works with residents to create and sustain affordable housing, livable neighborhoods and economic self-sufficiency. Part of this mission is the New Roots Community Farm.

Literary Representation

Dana Newman Literary Agency
1800 Avenue of the Stars, 12th Floor
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County 90067, USA

Publisher, "Khabaar: An Immigrant Journey of Food, Memory and Family"

University of Iowa Press
119 W. Park Road, 100 Kuhl House, Iowa City IA 52242-1000
Ph: 800-621-2736