Refugee and Immigrant Self-Empowerment

Syracuse Refugee Agricultural Program (SyRAP)

Increasing self-sustainability and decreasing food insecurity among New Americans in Central NY

RISE operates 3 community gardens on the Northside of Syracuse, a mixed vegetable farm in Lacona, NY, and a meat goat farm in Tully, NY. These gardens/farms provide New Americans with the resources and education required to grow and acquire culturally relevant foods in Central NY. Many of RISE’s clients come to the US with extensive agriculture experience and a desire to maintain their agricultural traditions.

Our programs equip farmers to increase self-sufficiency though growing and marketing food, as desired by farmers. Farming classes are taught to first and second year farmers in a variety of languages through a partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension. Participants have the option to sell their produce locally or take the harvest home to their communities. Farmers often reflected on the sense of empowerment from being able to grow food again for their family, their improved physical and mental well-being while farming, and the excitement of having something to look forward to during the long winter in Central NY.

2022 Fast Facts:

  • Pounds harvested- 20,888
  • Farmers selling produce at CNY Regional Market and in Harvest Shares -10
  • Amount earned by farmers- $6908
  • Participants growing their own fresh produce- 35 farmers & 10 community gardeners
  • Land available- plots at 2 community gardens and 2 partner farms
  • Goat sold- 34
  • Agriculture education classes held- 41
  • Staff hours of providing farming, marketing, and technical assistance to farmers- 1,723
  • Average grocery savings per farmer’s family- $900

Want to Learn More? Check us out on Instagram @syrap_rise or online at or via email at .

Want to Support the Program?

Volunteer Opportunities: During the growing season, the farm is a hub of activity as farmers plant, maintain, and harvest from their plots. RISE welcomes any volunteers interested in coming out to meet farmers and help out with their farming needs. Most farm tasks are physical and include lifting, squatting, pulling, and pushing. Make sure to wear appropriate clothing (e.g., long pants, close-toed shoes) for outside work. Tools are available at the farm, but we recommend that you also bring water bottles, sun protection (e.g., hats, sunglass, sunscreen), and snacks. If interested in volunteering or setting up an organization workday, please contact Pat Dunn at

Volunteer Services:

  • Mechanic who can repair of broken tractor or Subaru at the farm
  • Electrician who can install a drier and assess backup generator viability
  • Plumber who can trouble shoot pipe freezing issues and assess hot water heater
  • Website designer who can migrate agriculture web content to a new platform

Wishlist Items:

  • Compost, mulch, gravel, soil, peat, etc
  • Perennials and tree crops
  • Laundry Dryer
  • Weed Wacker
  • Cold Storage Unit
  • Tractor Forks
  • Landscape Fabric
  • Floating Row Cover
  • 100 gallon wash tub
  • Riding lawnmower
  • Gator cart
  • Macro bins
  • Passenger Van
  • Pickup Truck