New Roots

New Roots

The New Roots project provides New Canadians with supports, training, mentorship, and connections to farmers—and connections to access land. New Roots looks to assist newcomers—many of whom have strong agrarian backgrounds— to move toward regional farm livelihoods, both self-employment and supporting existing farms as farm labour.

In 2024 the New Roots program is expanding:

  • Start-up Farm Training will expand to support New Canadians in multiple languages, including courses in Mandarin, Arabic and French (open to all, with additional focus on African descent New Canadians).
  • New Roots is starting a mentorship program for new farmers to be connected with established farmers in the region, with financial support from the City of Ottawa.
  • Just Food will support matching New Canadians who have farming skills and/or farming dreams with existing regional farmers who are producing the crops and/or raising the animals they are interested in. 
        • The mentorship arrangements would be customized based on the work needed by the farmer, the interests of the new farmer, and what is available re. hours, transportation, etc.   

Contact to find out more about New Roots, sign up for training, and sign up to be or to have a mentor.

Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec local farmers are valuable partners to build this mentorship program in a way that is mutually beneficial.  


In 2017, following the welcomed arrival of Syrian refugees into the Ottawa region, the Gloucester Emergency Food Cupboard and Just Food began a small program to make access to land more readily available to the large number of New Canadians with agrarian background, who were accessing the food bank but wanted to grow their own food.

By 2019, after feedback on the difficulties of adapting to food production in our climate, and ESL learning, this had developed into a commitment to work to translate more materials, provide access to more training, and develop a land-sharing template that included a funding mechanism that allowed ⅓ of the land-sharers to access land without paying fees. 

In 2022, the ESL Online Farmer Training Series was offered to New Canadians. 

In 2023, the Start-up Farm program provided land access to graduates of the 2022 training series. 

New Canadians have greater barriers to entry into the agriculture workforce as labourers, including language and economic barriers, which prevents access to training opportunities, adequate equipment and information about employment opportunities.

Consultations with partner organizations and research directed our focus on Newcomer Ottawans of South Asian, Middle Eastern, and African origins with agrarian backgrounds who have arrived in Canada more than two years ago as a key demographic of interest, in addition to first generation youth from these families. 

The New Roots project takes a sustainable systems approach to the challenges of agricultural employment among New Canadian farmers by producing training modules, materials and a team of trainers and partner agencies committed to continuing to work together and benefit those seeking employment for years to come.

New Roots trains and connects people to farms in the Ottawa region based on the skills and transportation required for employment opportunities, determined from a survey of farms in the Savour Ottawa farmer network.  

New Roots is developing into a sustainable, inclusive program to provide interested youth and adult New Canadians in Ottawa training and employment opportunities in food production and business planning, aimed for employment on farms and/or entry in entrepreneurship. 

This program has been redesigned to support New Canadians with agrarian backgrounds and existing skills to adapt to Canadian reality, being prepared for both farm employment, farm management and/or for their own production. 

The program focuses on building long-lasting peer-to-peer support for ongoing success among New Canadian farmers, and highlights the skills and knowledge of New Canadian farmers to be shared with Canadian-born new and existing farmers.

If you would like more information about how to take part in the New Roots program, please contact us directly at