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Urban farming programs for refugees have become more common across the U.S. (Jean, 2015). Access to agricultural space, whether community gardens or market farms, can lead to improved health for those who have faced forced displacement, violence, and difficulties associated with resettlement. Community gardens in particular offer a range of benefits to refugees, including improvements to physical and mental health, food security, and social support (e.g., Malberg Dyg, 2020). Community gardens also provide refugees with opportunities for economic development (e.g., Banulescu-Bogdan, 2020).

However, access to agricultural space in a dense urban area is challenging, particularly for groups from marginalized backgrounds, such as refugees. To better meet the needs of refugee farmers in urban areas, it is critical to identify the barriers that impede access to agricultural space. This report explains the challenges and needs related to farmland access among a group of refugees in Providence, Rhode Island.

This report comes from a larger study investigating inequality and environmental justice in the context of farm and open space conservation. Distributional Impacts of Farm and Open Space Conservation is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (NIFA Award No. 2018-67024-27695). Principal investigator is Corey Lang in the Department of Environmental & Natural Resource Economics at the University of Rhode Island, with co-investigator Amy Ando in the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, and co-investigator Julie C. Keller in the Department of Sociology & Anthropology at the University of Rhode Island.