Refugee and Immigrant Self-Empowerment (RISE) is a non-profit organization that provides refugee resettlement and post-resettlement services to New Americans in Central and Western NY. Since 2004, RISE has slowly expanded programing based on the expressed needs of clients. RISE began the Syracuse Refugee Agriculture Program (SyRAP) in 2016, recognizing that many refugees enter the US with agricultural backgrounds and a desire to continue farming, but find that accessing land in their new home is bureaucratically complex and expensive. SyRAP’s mission is to increase self-sustainability and decrease food insecurity by providing refugees and immigrants with the agricultural resources they need to grow culturally appropriate foods for their communities.
SyRAP’s flagship program is currently an incubator farm that operates on a RISE-owned 180-acre farm property in Oswego County. SyRAP has undergone significant organizational growth and transition since its inception in 2016, growing from an urban community gardening initiative to a farmer-training program operating on leased land before finally acquiring its own farm through a generous donation in 2022. RISE currently supports 19 small farmers cultivating almost three acres of mixed vegetables for distribution within their communities and sale through RISE-supported market channels.
In partnership with FNGNY, RISE is building a Farmland Access Program to support its cohort of farmers, as well as other beginning farmers in the Syracuse area, in securing viable land access opportunities to pursue their farming goals. RISE's work includes landowner outreach, the creation and maintenance of a database of micro-lease opportunities that are accessible to aspiring farmers, and the provision of technical assistance to farmers seeking land tenure. RISE is working with landowners and other regional nonprofits to create a network of support for New Americans that extends beyond its own incubator farm.
Mohawk Valley, Oneida County, Central, Madison County, Onondaga County, Oswego County