Alanna Matteson '15 among the rooftop crops with the New York skyline beyond.
Photo by Koray Ersin.
Summer 2013 Internships: Farming with Refugees
Political science major Alanna Matteson ’15 is spending her summer farming in New York City. Specifically, Matteson is interning at the Refugee and Immigrant Fund’s Urban Farm Recovery Project at the Brooklyn Grange urban rooftop farm with support from the Center from Peace and Global Citizenship.
Brooklyn Grange is a commercial farm that grows and sells agricultural goods, and the Refugee and Immigrant Fund (RIF) is an organization that assists refugees and immigrants in finding asylum in the United States. In 2011, Brooklyn Grange and the RIF partnered to create the Urban Recovery Farm Project. Through this program, asylum seekers are paid to work at Brooklyn Grange as RIF interns.
Matteson works with these interns, providing them with support and helping them learn English. "I monitor the program for RIF and make sure everyone has what they need," she says. She also helps with administrative work, event coordination, and publicity.
While laboring on a rooftop farm is by no means the typical New York City work experience, living in the Big Apple has been rewarding for Matteson. "I have met so many people from all over the world—not just refugees, but many others who come to the Grange to volunteer their time and learn about rooftop farming,” she says. “I love all the languages. I love all the different faces. It is humbling to be in such a huge city."
Learn more about the RIF: http://asylumhelp.org/.
Learn more about Brooklyn Grange: http://www.brooklyngrangefarm.com/.
—Ben Weissman '14