ORIS Programs for New Americans

By: Molly Stark, Food Access Coordinator, Organization for Refugee and Immigrant Success

The Organization for Refugee and Immigrant Success (ORIS) is a non-profit based out of Manchester whose mission is to “aid in the resettlement of refugees and immigrants in New Hampshire byproviding assistance, training, resources, and opportunities that promote self-sufficiency.” ORIS supports new Americans that have completed the “official” refugee resettlement period – a matterof months – and are in need of continued assistance. We work with new Americans long term, as they strive to learn English, find employment, understand American healthcare, banking systems, etc. We also offer after-school and summer programs to New American youth in Concord and Manchester.

Dunbarton, NH Sept. 29, 2020: Farmer Sylvain Bukasa working at Fresh Start Farm (Cheryl Senter for the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation)

One of the main ways ORIS promotes self-sufficiency for New Americans is through our New American Sustainable Agriculture Program (NASAP). Through this program, 26 New American farmers are given land, training, and market support. The farmers sell their produce under the collective brand “Fresh Start Farms.” This food is distributed through a variety of ORIS channels – our CSA / Farmshare, our brick and mortar Food Hub store, and the Mobile Market.

The Fresh Start Farms Food Hub and Market is located at 150 Spruce Street in Manchester and is stocked with all kinds of local products from honey and maple syrup to local meats and cheeses. During the summer, Fresh Start Farmers also sell their produce here. We also offer a fully customizable CSA/Farmshare out of the Food Hub, which aggregates Fresh Start Farm produce and other locally grown and made items. The Market participates in the Double Up Bucks incentive program, which offers 50% off all fruit and vegetables to SNAP/EBT users.

The Mobile Market is our farmers market on wheels, traveling throughout Manchester, Concord, and Nashua bringing fruits and vegetables from Fresh Start Farms and other grocery items to neighborhoods and community sites with limited access to grocery stores. It started in 2019 and has been expanding each year since then. In 2022, Mobile Market will be making regular visits to 21 sites from mid-May – October. The Mobile Market also offers the Double Up Bucks program, and accepts SNAP/EBT.

Another way we are working to strengthen food access in Manchester is through the “Healthy Corners” program. Through this initiative, the ORIS Food Access team is working together with the Manchester Health Department to bring fresh fruits and vegetables and other healthy snacks to corner stores throughout our city. We are partnering with corner store owners to build out a section of their store that is designated as the “healthy corner,” providing an easily accessible place for the neighborhood to purchase fresh produce. We will be piloting 7 stores throughout Manchester in this program, starting in July! Check out https://www.freshstartfarmsnh.com/healthy-corners/ to see the future locations!

Here are some ways you can both benefit from and support ORIS and Fresh Start Farms!

  • Subscribe to a Farmshare: It’s a win-win-win situation – You get fresh, delicious local produce and other local products, you support the farmers in NASAP, and you redirect your grocery dollars to a more sustainable local food system. Double Up Bucks is accepted for Farmshare purchases! You can sign up for a farmshare through this link.
  • Shop at the Fresh Start Farms Market: Come check out our store at 150 Spruce Street in Manchester! We have many delicious locally made products available as well as a wide selection of fruits and vegetables. Our store hours are Tuesday 11-4, and Wednesday and Thursday from 2-6.
  • Find your nearest Mobile Market stop! With 21 different locations, you are likely to find a site near you! Check out freshstartfarmsnh.com/mobile-market to view our site map and see our most up-to-date calendar.
  • Volunteer with the Mobile Market: Support the operations of the mobile market! We are always looking for extra hands to ensure a smooth and enjoyable shopping experience from the mobile market. Fill out this form to express your interest in volunteering!

Together we can do great things!

Manchester Proud developed the Manchester Proud Compass, which is essentially a HUB of partnerships and services for parents, teachers, and children in our community. We invite you to peruse and use this new tool, and share with your network. For more ideas, information and how you can make an impact contact Aimee at aimeek@manchesterproud.org.