Resources / Rhode Island Stories

Sanctuary Herbs of Providence

The Challenge

New immigrants and refugees in RI who have experience and interest in farming in our state have few opportunities to grow and sell agricultural products

The Approach

Sanctuary Herbs of Providence connects a RI farmer and marketer duo with interested immigrant and refugee farmers and volunteers to grow, aggregate, process, and market 100% local, chemical-free herbal tea blends and culinary herbs.

By The Numbers

Since it started in 2017, Sanctuary Herbs has increased sales and scaled upwards, providing more income to farmers.

  • Farmers contracted with (2018, 2019): 12
  • Amount paid out to farmers for product in 2018: $21,000
  • Fresh herbs received in 2018 (lb): 7,000
  • Wholesale clients: 30

Preserve and Grow Agriculture Industries

This program works to preserve and grow agriculture by providing a reliable point of sale for small-scale farmers.

Program Description

Small-scale immigrant farmers, who might pursue the work part-time or as a hobby, often face difficulties selling their produce. Farmer’s markets, a common venue, have low reliability of sale due to factors like weather and location. The difficulty of transporting and processing the goods also adds difficulty to their operations. Sanctuary Herbs guarantees income for these farmers and also handles processing of the herbs into added value items such as teas or herb mixes via time consuming processes such as drying and garbling. They preserve small farm operations from year to year with a stable source of income and so increase variety and stability of agriculture in Rhode Island.

Future Plans

Next year the program looks to increase payout by 20%, get better packaging for the goods, and to hire employees and purchase equipment such as a tea bag machine.

This Rhode Island Story was prepared by Henry Dawson.