Archive: March 2014

Always Something New to Learn

Posted by Lauren Bailey to Uncategorized

One of my favorite aspects of our agricultural programs is learning from our class members! As we have been teaching and learning from area farmers about growing in the Nashville region, the members of the classes have been teaching us about crops that they’re most familiar with and ways they use these crops.

 Bitter Gourd

Bitter gourd is a vegetable that both our Burmese and Nepalese classes were interested in growing. It is in the cucumber family. As soon as members in one class saw it in the seed catalog, they told us that they use it to help with high blood pressure. So, I did a little bit of investigating on the internet and found out that there are many supposed benefits of this vegetable. Check out this interesting international project researching the health benefits of bitter gourd:


I was first introduced to Roselle as sourleaf. I was warned that it might be a bit sour for my palate. The warning did prevent me from trying the sourleaf nor did it prevent me from making an awful puckered face. Roselle is related to the hibiscus and to my eyes looks similar to an okra plant. If you are a gardener and want to try your hand at growing a new plant, try Roselle!


Bitter Gourd picture retrieved from:

Roselle picture retrieved from:



The Refuge Community Garden Opens!

Posted by Lauren Bailey to Uncategorized



The Refuge opened its’ doors for our first community gardener planting day on March 14th, 2014! Our gardeners have been learning about planting in the Nashville region through our ESL class taught by Catherine Pearson. They’ve also been learning about growing in this climate through workshops provided by The Nashville Food Project’s (TNFP) Christina Bentrup and interpreted by our Community Navigator, Simson Sarki .

We view ESL as a strategy to empower our clients to be able to engage in a different way in the Nashville community. We are proud to be doing so through such a unique opportunity, but we’re also cognizant of the power of language and try to hold space in our time together to emphasize cultural exchange and learn from our gardeners.

While all of our gardeners have grow fruits and vegetables in other areas of the world, many of them have not lived in a climate where using a greenhouse is necessary. Last Friday, March 21st, we held a Greenhouse workshop for students at TNFP where they learned more about characteristics of Nashville’s climate  and why we have to transplant certain crops here.

We then started tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cilantro and dill. As we were planting, the gardeners  taught me the Nepali words for cilantro and dill; trying to learn these and remember them was a great reminder of the effort it takes to learn a new language.

We are so proud of the gardeners in our program and are excited to continue to learn with them and from them in this season of growth!



To learn more about the program or look at more pictures, please visit our

A Program That Makes Retired Life Happy

Posted by Ram Chamlagai to Uncategorized

Refugee elders are very proud of having such a great opportunity that our Elders Program provides to them, which keeps them engaged every morning. If we didn’t have our Elders Program it would be very hard for refugee elders just to stay at home, spending their leisure time without doing anything.

It brought happiness to me when I noticed that elders are eager to learn new things and they still have that courage, even they are in their golden years. I personally felt very happy when I saw the big achievement that our elders are making on my first day of teaching in the program. I am very pleased and happy to inform our readers that elders are doing great because of the hard work that our Elders program manager, Grant, has been doing to make their life easy.  Their smiling faces demonstrate the progress they have made since they enrolled in the classes.

The Center for Refugees and Immigrants of Tennessee is proud to offer one of the few programs in Nashville that keeps refugees elders busy and helps them think less about challenges in the past. Elders are not only offered classes that they attend on regular basis but also social time and case management services from our dedicated case managers to help make their lives a little easier.

CRIT Benefit at the Basement March 20, 8 p.m.

Posted by Tiffany Hodge to Events, Uncategorized

Join us on Thursday, March 20th at 8 p.m. at the Basement to see Anthony Adams & the Nite Owls, Brittany Kennell, The Beagles, Lewis, and Lauren Adelle perform at On the Stage Nashville. You will hear some of the best voices in town for only $5 AND the proceeds from the event will benefit CRIT! The proceeds will directly support our Ride to Learn campaign, in which we are asking for your donations to help us purchase a van to transport our refugee and immigrant students who lack transportation but are dedicated students in our elders, agricultural, and afterschool programs. Check out Lauren Adelle singing below and we’ll see you on Thursday!