New Leaf Agriculture Mission:
Connect refugees to sustainable farming opportunities by operating community gardens and a commercial farm.
What do we do?
New Leaf Agriculture is a nonprofit social enterprise of MRC. We support refugee families in 40 community garden plots around Austin, and in early 2018 we launched a commercial farm in nearby Elgin, TX. The New Leaf at Three Creeks Farm employs organic, sustainable practices while training refugee farm apprentices for paid agricultural work that is dignified, in-demand and familiar from their countries of origin. Established on a conservation easement, our farm grows directly for local makers and will also sell produce through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model.
The New Leaf at Three Creeks Farm has been fortunate in its initial Farm-to-Maker partnerships with local producers. These relationships allow us to grow targeted crops with a specific end-market already in mind, which translates to increased job security for the refugee growers and apprentices.
In the 2017 growing season, we began supporting local entrepreneur Colleen Preheim to grow roselle hibiscus on her property and are continuing producing for her on our farm. In 2018 the first crop to be planted at our farm was corn, in several varieties, for Barton Springs Mill, which is an Austin mill creating artisan flours from locally grown heritage grains. The third partnership is based on a relationship between our own Open Arms Studio and Miranda Bennett Studio, a local designer of plant-dyed, made-in-the-US apparel. Our stitchers at Open Arms produce Miranda Bennett's clothes and we are proud to now be growing Mexican mint marigold for dye.
How we advance our triple bottom line:
As a social enterprise, we are committed not only to financial sustainability, but also to improving the lives of community members and replenishing the land.
- Refugee growers are paid while receiving on-the-job-training.
- Refugee apprentices receive free technical agricultural education.
- A comprehensive permaculture design informs every aspect of the farm's development, ensuring that we are planning for long-term stewardship of the land.
Why is permaculture important?
Permaculture is a philosophy of working with the existing features of a property to model a farm after a natural ecosystem. This allows farmers to:
- Care for the land and people within a long-term-use plan
- Manage water flow to prevent flooding and mitigate against drought
- Use renewable resources and limit waste
- Choose planting and structure locations to conserve human energy
Ways for you to get involved in New Leaf:
- Sign up for our newsletter and follow MRC on Facebook & Instagram
- Volunteer as an individual, family or a group
- Connect us to a maker or market interested in local, sustainable agricultural produce
- Partner with us to grow for your business or organization
For questions about partnering with our farm or volunteering, please contact us at email@example.com.