Common Earth Gardens is dedicated to the empowerment and improved quality of life of refugee families and Louisville communities through agricultural opportunities.
The program bolsters mental and physical health, community integration and access to healthy food and supplemental income. Common Earth Gardens supports self-reliance by facilitating access to land, culturally-appropriate training, community education, technical assistance and opportunities for supplemental income in Louisville, KY.
Common Earth Garden’s goals are to empower refugee participants to:
- Utilize their extensive agricultural skills and experience to reduce food costs
- Continue traditions from their homelands that will ease acculturation to the Louisville Metro area
- Build entrepreneurial skills and supplement family income by selling produce through local outlets
Common Earth Gardens, formerly the Refugee Agriculture Partnership Program (RAPP) was started in 2007 by Lauren Goldberg and Stephen Bartlett within the Kentucky Office for Refugees (KOR). The first sites established for refugee agriculture were the 7th Street Community Garden and the Southside Community Garden.
In 2014, the RAPP program moved to be a program of Catholic Charities of Louisville and supported the establishment of Maplewood Apartments Garden, Francis Center Garden, St. Ignatius Community Garden and Bethany United Garden.
Currently, Common Earth Gardens supports six sites.