Rafting a wild river has the reputation for healing the soul and transforming lives. This summer, guests of Holiday River Expeditions’ Green River / Lodore Canyon adventure will receive the usual benefits of a multi-day raft trip while also helping to transform the lives of refugees who are seeking a better life as Utah farmers.
Veteran adventure travel company Holiday River Expeditions (http://www.bikeraft.com/) is partnering with New Roots Farm, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing refugees the opportunity to plant a new life in Utah. On two river rafting trips in August guests will enjoy the farm-to-table experience of fresh produce provided by this farm where recently arrived refugees learn, live and work.
“While we are supporting place-based foods we also wanted to support and welcome immigrants who have chosen or been forced to re-seed themselves into our Utah communities,” said Lauren Wood, Trip Director for Holiday River Expeditions. “Through this partnership, we are able to help raise awareness about this farm’s incredible mission and directly support the resettled farmers who now live in our own community. “
Holiday more than ever before, she said, recognizes the importance of making serious moves toward supporting local sustainable agricultural practices and eating within its own bio-region.
“The rivers we run rely on the vital resource of good snowpack which is directly impacted by a changing climate. We can reduce our harmful carbon footprint by taking these steps toward eating fresh local produce and products. We don’t pretend this is always an easy decision, but it is one Holiday is making intentionally as we look toward a different future and different relationship with the land we live and rely on.”
New Roots was an obvious partnership choice because it serves Holiday’s farm-to-table goals while directly supporting the resettled farmers. The New Roots farm training program provides some refugees with the opportunity to run small farm businesses in the Salt Lake City area; others from an agrarian background are skilled farmers who may be able to sustain themselves if access to land, training and markets are provided.
New Roots grows all its vegetables in Salt Lake Valley. Here they work a three-acre farm site in West Valley City where they grow, harvest, wash and package all of the produce to sell and distribute to the Sunnyvale Farmers Market, as well as to schools and restaurants within the state. They grow a large variety of mixed organic vegetables, everything from common American crops, such as tomatoes, peppers, beets, carrots, greens, lettuce and radishes to such exotic crops such as bitter gourd, African eggplant, louka, pumpkin shoots and roselle.
Holiday’s guests may anticipate many delicious classic dishes, all with home-grown produce, and modifications that accommodate new flavors straight from the farm. These trips will have information about New Roots program and how people can support and participate in the farm program as well International Rescue Committee’s related events in Salt Lake City and in their own communities. For more information please see: https://www.rescue.org/united-states/salt-lake-city-ut.
Wood said interested guests “will also have the opportunity to get involved at the New Roots farm. They always have a variety of projects that volunteer groups can take on, as well as ways to donate to their program or the broader organization.”
This partnership applies this year to Lodore Canyon rafting departures on Aug. 3-6 and Aug. 4-7. Guests gather on Day 1 at company headquarters in Vernal, UT, in advance of a van ride to Brown’s Park National Wildlife Refuge, the put-in site. Almost immediately guests raft through the Gates of Lodore and encounter Disaster Falls. High desert country follows on Day 2, an ecological transition zone, the Colorado Plateau that teems with wildlife. Day 3 brings the confluence of the Green and Yampa rivers before entering Whirlpool Canyon. The afternoon may be spent at Jones Hole Creek, a blue-ribbon trout stream with side-canyon petroglyphs and waterfall. Day 4 brings another massive gorge and abundant rapids before the take-out. The rate of $835 per person, double, includes life jacket, large waterproof bag, day bag, camp chair, eating utensils and plates, all meals while on this adventure and transfers. Other departures are available throughout the summer and fall. Please see: http://www.bikeraft.com/colorado-river-rafting/lodore-canyon/