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Gardening in Displacement: The Benefits of Cultivating in Crisis

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Abstract

While the benefits of gardening to mental health and trauma recovery are well documented, and a number of voluntary organizations have been involved in developing gardens with refugees, as yet there is no clear mandate to allow and mainstream gardening in large-scale refugee camps. This article argues for the importance of this in the planning of camps on the basis that many crises are indeed protracted, that refugees often stay in camps for tens of years rather than months and that gardening has significant environmental, psychological and social benefits, as well as contributing to food sovereignty and sustainable drainage. Drawing on interviews with residents of a refugee camp in northern Iraq, all participants in a camp-based garden competition in 2016 and 2017, this article illustrates the benefits of gardening and argues for their sustained inclusion in camp design.
Gardening in Displacement: The Benefits of
Cultivating in Crisis
JULIET MILLICAN
Institute of Development Studies, Sussex; Lemon Tree Trust, Lewes, United
Kingdom,
J.Millican@associate.ids.ac.uk
CARRIE PERKINS
Southern Methodist University, Dallas; Lemon Tree Trust, Lewes, United Kingdom
ANDREW ADAM-BRADFORD
Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, Coventry University, Coventry,
United Kingdom
MS received January 2018; revised MS received May 2018
While the benefits of gardening to mental health and trauma recovery are well
documented, and a number of voluntary organizations have been involved in
developing gardens with refugees, as yet there is no clear mandate to allow and
mainstream gardening in large-scale refugee camps. This article argues for the
importance of this in the planning of camps on the basis that many crises are
indeed protracted, that refugees often stay in camps for tens of years rather
than months and that gardening has significant environmental, psychological
and social benefits, as well as contributing to food sovereignty and sustainable
drainage. Drawing on interviews with residents of a refugee camp in northern
Iraq, all participants in a camp-based garden competition in 2016 and 2017, this
article illustrates the benefits of gardening and argues for their sustained inclu-
sion in camp design.
Keywords: refugee, forced displacement, urban agriculture, gardens, Iraq, Syria
Introduction
The importance of gardening as a mental-health activity is well documented
(Wiseman and Sadlo 2015). These include the physical benefits of outdoor
exercise, the community benefits of doing things together, the importance of
green spaces in reducing stress and increasing resilience, and the value of
activity and occupational therapy in trauma recovery (Baranowsky and
Gentry 2014). In addition, access to fresh vegetables brings nutritional and
food security, while environmental benefits include enhanced microclimates
(e.g. from shade cover to windbreaks) and improved sanitation
Journal of Refugee Studies ßThe Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.
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(e.g. greywater reuse and organic solid-waste recycling for composting).
During 2016 and 2017, and in association with an urban agriculture project
looking at the value of gardening and greening innovation in a refugee camp
in Iraq (Perkins et al. 2017;Adam-Bradford et al. 2017), a small-scale re-
search project explored the value Syrian refugees placed on their home and
community gardens.
Lemon Tree Trust—a small, international non-governmental organization
(NGO) with offices in Dallas and the United Kingdom—has for the past
three years been advocating for the importance of green space in the planning
of refugee camps. The majority of camps, while built in response to an emer-
gency or crisis, remain in use for an average of 17 years (Moore 2017). There
are areas in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and parts of Lebanon and
Jordan where camps have been in existence for more than 40 years, many of
them evolving into accidental cities (Jansen 2009). Acknowledging that fre-
quently crises remain protracted, aid agencies and international NGOs are
beginning to consider the importance of community development perspectives
and planning for the longer term in humanitarian response (Muggah 2005;
DFID 2016). Lemon Tree Trust are adding their voice to a growing number
advocating for a more sustainable and holistic approach to disaster manage-
ment, taking on board the fact that some generations will spend a significant
part of their lives living in situations of forced displacement. Making such
conditions as human-centred and cost-effective as possible, while minimizing
the waste they produce and the food they import, has financial, environmen-
tal and psycho-social benefits (WTsadik 2009).
Such solutions are crucial if communities are to move on and to rebuild
their lives, breaking cycles of violence and distrust, and building environments
that are both functional and pleasant to live in. To use a gardening analogy
‘The seeds of tomorrow’s wars grow in the soil of today’s unhealed traumas’
(Lambourne and Niyonzima, 2016: 304) and restoring individual, family and
community stability is only second in importance to meeting basic needs of
food, shelter and warmth (Maslow 1943). The natural environment provides a
multi-sensory experience, involving sounds, sight, touch and smells. It has a
way of connecting people to nature and to their inner selves. However, while
there is a body of research looking at shelter, infrastructure and planning in
refugee-crisis situations, there are few studies of the benefits, for example, of
food growing, meaningful occupation and shared activity.
This study was conducted in a single refugee camp that accommodates
around 26,000 Syrian refugees who have had to leave homes, jobs and
stable lifestyles, driven out as a result of the ongoing conflict in Syria.
The study comprised a series of 26 interviews held during a two-week visit
to the camp in January and another in May 2017. The families visited were
all participants in a gardening competition, held first in 2016 and again in
2017 as a way to identify interest in gardening and further encourage the
planting of green spaces. Planting was already beginning to happen spontan-
eously in back alleyways, small courtyards, unused spaces by the perimeter
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fence and in recycled oil cans and plastic bottles placed outside tents and
shelters. The competition aimed to build on this by developing relationships
with the gardeners and those interested in gardening and to raise the profile
of what they were doing. By visiting those who had entered and asking them
about its significance, this research was framed as an evaluation of its impact
rather than a full-scale scientific study of camp greening. However, responses
indicated a number of similarities in the benefits people identified. Although
it is broadly recognized that Syrians love flowers and green spaces, gardening
interventions carried out in Uganda (Perkins et al. 2017), Indonesia (Adam-
Bradford and Osman 2009) and with African migrants in Australia (Harris
et al. 2014) indicate that gardening has a greater, cross-cultural relevance and
is worthy of deeper, more systematic research.
Background and Context
The research site for this project is Domiz Camp—a refugee camp established
by the Kurdistan regional government and the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 2012, with an initial estimated
population of 45,000 Syrian refugees. Refugees began streaming across the
border from Syria to the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region of Iraq as a
result of the Syrian civil war in 2012, and more than 26,000 remained at the
period of this evaluation. The presence of emerging gardens and what could
be perceived as a palpable desire to create green space is immediately notice-
able on entering the camp. The majority of camp residents are Syrian
Kurdish and historically Syrians have a deep connection to creating gar-
dens—an attachment that seemed to be especially amplified in the precarious
and desolate setting of a refugee camp. This inherent cultural and religious
attachment to gardening emerged as a way to exercise some control of im-
mediate surroundings at a time when control over broader events has been
taken away, as well as a reflection of traditional belief systems. The spatial
and spiritual significance of gardening is also apparent in a study of a highly
productive home garden in an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp in
Banda Aceh, Indonesia (Adam-Bradford and Osman 2009). During a home
garden survey, 30 crops were identified, which consisted of vegetables, fruits,
cooking spices, medicinal plants and ornamentals. However, as well as being
an important practical intervention, planting also had a spiritual significance.
The indigenous home garden for the Islamic Acehnese provides not only
food, fibres and medicines for the family, but also a physical place
of beauty for reflection and spiritual thought (Adam-Bradford and
Osman 2009).
Dating back to the seventh century CE, during what has historically been
called the birth of Islam as a religion, gardens were often used as metaphors
for paradise. In the Qur’an, descriptions of Heaven always include passages
with scenes depicting fruit trees and flowing water, with promises that good
deeds are rewarded with a place of ‘shaded trees, flowing water, gardens with
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sweet fruits (bostan) and fragrant flowers (gulistan)’ (Ansari 2011: 10).
Gardens are represented as spaces of peace and tranquillity, reinforcing
more recent scientific evidence (ibid.) of their importance in both public
and private life as ways of obtaining refuge. The prominence of gardens in
the Qur’an also speaks to beliefs concerning their healing power and contri-
bution to the overall wellbeing of people:
Drink the juice of all kinds of fruit and then follow those routes (suggested) by
your Lord (which lead to these fruits and flowers of which you are to suck the
juice, leading other bees also to the source) for their convenience.’ There oozes
from their bellies a syrup (that is honey) of diverse colours. It has healing
properties for the people. Therein is indeed a sign for those who apply their
minds (an-Nahl, 16: 69).
Additionally, we find references to the importance of flowers and plants to
emotional wellbeing in historic Persian poetry and literature: ‘If, of thy
mortal goods, thou art bereft, And from thy slender store two loaves alone
to thee are left, Sell one & from the dole, Buy Hyacinths to feed the soul’
(Muslihuddin Sadi, thirteenth-century Persian poet).
Further historical accounts show that gardening and agriculture played an
important role in the development of the Islamic civilization and fundamen-
tally changed both the landscape and political dynamics of the Middle East:
With the skilful acquisition and transportation of water, the parched lands of
the Middle East and northern Africa flourished with man-made verdant oases
that not only transformed the economy with their agricultural products but also
became a powerful form of cultural expression (Fairchild 2003: 51).
When Islam arrived in Persia in the eighth century CE, the underground
conduit system of water delivery via springs and sinking wells (‘qanat’) was
replaced by the invention of the water wheel to raise water for irrigation
(Ansari 2011). The water wheel transformed agriculture in the desert and
paved the way for the ancient gardens of Baghdad and Samarra. By the
ninth century CE, beautiful Islamic gardens were flourishing in the countries
known today as Iraq, Iran and Syria.
This Islamic cultural heritage of creating green spaces in arid lands, of
creating life in spaces of death, and of innovating in the face of both
social and environmental obstacles has a direct correlation to the challenge
many Syrian refugees faced after being forced to flee their homelands for the
dusty encampments across various borders. Sometimes, within days of arrival
at a camp, they began to plant gardens and find ways to reuse available
water. However, a study by Harris et al. (2014) of African refugees in
Australia identified gardens as an important way of connecting in a very
different cultural context as well as a means of providing food. Through a
cross-sectional study using semi-structured interviews with 12 African refu-
gees, they also identified similar psycho-social benefits for individuals, relat-
ing to land tenure, reconnecting with agriculture and a sense of normality,
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and the development of community belonging. The study emphasizes the
importance of building community connections in a context where people
have lost much of what roots them to a sense of home and belonging.
Many international NGOs have recognized the importance of implement-
ing agriculture into crisis response and camp planning that offer both ex-
amples and opportunities to learn from past successes and failures. In the
official Camp Planning Standards released by UNHCR (2017), they suggest
‘A minimum surface area of 45 sqm per person, including 15 sqm allocated to
household gardening which should be included in the site plan from the
outset’ (2017: 2). These spatial allocations for gardening are also endorsed
in the Sphere Project Guidelines, with a clear emphasis on the provision of
‘limited kitchen gardens for individual households’ (Adam-Bradford 2009:
31). Additionally, UNHCR continues to pilot several agricultural initiatives
across many countries. One example is the implementation of the ‘Greening
Camps’ programme in 2005 for World Environment Day, which included a
programme in eastern Chad, where UNHCR’s 12 camps were home to more
than 200,000 Sudanese refugees from the Darfur region. They distributed
over 300,000 seedlings from nurseries during the rainy season with the goal
that refugees and host communities could plant trees in the camps and sur-
rounding villages. Another example comes from Ethiopia in 2009, in
Kebribeyah, Awberie and Sheder refugee camps, which together host ap-
proximately 28,500 individuals. To complement the basic food ration,
UNHCR and its partners started a number of home-gardening projects in
this region. (WTsadik 2009) Additionally, back in 2000, UNHCR partnered
with FAO to implement gardening practices in refugee camps in Tanzania. In
collaboration with UNHCR, FAO provided 15,000 families in six of the
refugee camps with seeds and hand tools to plant household and community
vegetable gardens (FAO 2000;Fall 2009).
While distribution of trees, seedlings and tools remains largely the core
type of agricultural engagement found among larger NGOs, there are also
examples of more qualitative impacts. In 2014, Save the Children along with
the World Food Program partnered to support gardens in Za’atari Camp in
Jordan. From their work, they noted:
‘When the children arrived at the camp, they had just come from a violent war.
Many of them were introverted and struggled in making friends. They were
violent to one another,’ Farah said. ‘After we started implementing gardening
classes, the children learned to work in a team, and started to build friendships.’
Clatworthy et al. (2013) undertook a systematic literature review of studies
evaluating the benefits of gardening interventions with people experiencing a
range of mental-health difficulties. Their study looked at 10 in-depth studies
but cited a huge increase in the use of horticultural interventions for vulner-
able people in the preceding 10 years, as well as a revived interest over the
former five years in the connection between nature, green spaces and
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wellbeing. Under the emerging field of social and therapeutic horticulture,
also known as eco-therapy, they cited examples in the United Kingdom, the
United States and worldwide, where new initiatives had been established to
connect people experiencing different forms of distress with those who knew
how to garden. However, among refugees and displaced populations in the
Middle East, this connection is not so much lost as momentarily removed, as
the majority of residents in Domiz and in other similar camps have had
recent and vivid experiences of gardens at home.
Clatworthy et al.(2013)uses two dominant theories to explain the impact of
gardening on mental health: attention-restoration theory (Kaplan and Kaplan
1989;Kaplan 1995) and psycho-physiological stress-reduction theory (Ulrich
1983). Both are based on the idea that humans have an innate need to affiliate
with the natural environment within which they have evolved. There is con-
siderable evidence that people have a preference for and a predisposition to
respond to natural stimuli (Gullone 2000).
While the above review is looking at specifically targeted mental-health
interventions, there are a number of significant themes identified in the dif-
ferent studies. These include the emotional benefits of working with plants
(such as reduced stress and improved mood; Rappe et al. 2008;Kam and Siu
2010) and the social benefits (such as the development of a social network
and improved social skills; Kam and Siu 2010;Gonzalez et al. 2011). There
were also a number of vocational benefits (such as learning new skills and
changing attitudes towards work; Stepney and Davis 2004;Kam and Siu
2010), physical benefits (such as improved sleep and physical health; Rappe
et al. 2008) and spiritual benefits (such as feeling more connected to nature
and fascinated by plants; Kam and Siu 2010;Gonzalez et al. 2011). People
spoke about how much they enjoyed being in the fresh air (Stepney and
Davis 2004;Rappe et al. 2008) and being involved in meaningful activity
(Stepney and Davis 2004;Rappe et al. 2008;Parkinson et al. 2011) . For a
list of the potential benefits from horticultural-based interventions in refugee
camps, see Table 1.
Many of these themes re-emerged among interviews with refugees and
IDPs in Domiz Camp, where they also cited the importance of nature, of
connecting with a broader new network of people, of the potential for de-
veloping work and employment-related skills and business, and a deeper
sense of peace and wellbeing in very difficult circumstances. Clatworthy
(2013) suggests the need for further research into the components of garden-
ing that people find beneficial and the different contexts in which it might be
used. This study both responds to this call and reaffirms the need for more
in-depth systematic research.
Methodology
The data-collection approach of the Lemon Tree Trust captured both quanti-
tative and qualitative information from refugees living inside Domiz Camp.
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Data collection was conducted over a two-week period during a visit to the
camp in January of 2017 and again for a 10-day period in May of 2017.
The data-collection team was composed of two trained ethnographers and a
small team of Syrian refugees working as translators. Data collection was
Table 1
Potential Benefits from Horticultural-based Interventions in Refugee Camps
Physiological
Multi-muscular exercise—improving cardiovascular function
Load bearing—reduced osteoporosis
Bending and stretching—increased general muscle tone
Outdoor exercise—‘fresh’ air, sunshine
Nutritional
Fresh produce rich in vitamins and trace elements
Green leafy vegetables high in folic acid, iron and ascorbic acid
Brassicas (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, curly kale)
rich in glucosinolates—implicated in preventing cancers
Legumes (peas, beans) are key components of the health protecting
‘Mediterranean diet’
Berry fruits rich in anthocyanins, flavonoids and vitamin C
Apples rich in anti-oxidants—implicated in cancer prevention
Sunlight exposure—leading to increased vitamin D synthesis in skin
Psychological
Sunlight exposure—increased serotonin (less winter depression)
Sense of achievement and wellbeing—improved psychological health
Empowerment—independence/self-sufficiency (income generation
and less food expenditure)
Nature and greenspace interaction—increased wellbeing
Enhanced social networks and community interaction—increased wellbeing
Sense of community and belonging—increased wellbeing
Social cohesion—improved relationships between refugees and host communities
Environmental
Improved microclimates—through trees planting, which reduces the urban
heat island effect in hot seasons and lowers the wind-chill factor in cold seasons
Reduction in total amount of discharged wastewater—as greywater is
diverted for irrigation
Reduction in total amount of solid waste—as organic waste is diverted
for compost production
Reduced flood risk—due to conservation of surface areas for water infiltration
Flood protection—creation of buffer areas in low-lying flood-prone areas including
river banks
Fire protection—use of fire-resistant vegetation to improve fire breaks
Improved drainage—through sustainable drainages systems (SuDS)
Reduction in food miles—as locally produced food travels less than imported food aid
Adapted from Adam-Bradford et al. (2017) and Leake et al. (2009).
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carried out using a mixed methodology composed of four tools: (i) ground-
canvassing to assess the current state of urban agriculture and gardening inside
the camp; (ii) qualitative focus-group discussions (FGDs) divided by gender
(n¼2); (iii) key informant interviews with families (n¼10) and individual
refugee participants from the 2017 garden competition (n¼16); and (iv) data
collected from all 2017 participants about what their gardens contained and
whether they had had a garden before (n¼139).
The refugee sample size aimed to be as representative as possible while
taking into account budget and time constraints. In order to ensure the in-
tegrity of the data while using a relatively small sample size for in-depth
interviews (n¼26), the methodology relied on targeted informant recruit-
ment by identifying those individuals and families who were participants in
the 2017 garden competition. The specific questions included in the informant
interviews and FGDs were based on information gaps and priority issues
related directly to the current and planned programming of the Lemon
Tree Trust in northern Iraq. The questions were slightly adjusted in the
second round of interviews in May 2017, to build on the themes that had
emerged from an initial analysis of prior data from interviews collected in
January 2017. This primarily included an increased focus on the evaluation of
the current horticultural initiatives in camp.
The in-depth interviews and FGDs were designed to include a variety of
approaches to try and capture a more nuanced understanding of gardening
and agriculture inside Domiz. Interviews included both open-ended questions
(‘What does gardening mean to you?’); basic ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions (‘Did you
previously tend a garden in Syria?’); and optional text, allowing additional
responses instead of predetermined answers (‘Is there anything else you would
like to say about gardening or agriculture?’). Additionally, researchers often
held short, informal discussions with each household or individual after the
completion of the interview. These discussions allowed informants to discuss
any specific concerns regarding the gardening competition or other Lemon
Tree Trust projects in the camp and frequently resulted in informants proudly
showing photographs of gardens they had tended in Syria. Interviews were all
through translation and recorded on mobile technology, backed up by notes
that were shared with Lemon Tree Trust staff at the end of each day’s de-
briefing. The quotes below are taken directly from these live recorded trans-
lations. These have been compiled into a second table (Table 2) that mirrors
the potential benefits cited in Table 1.
Themes Emerging from the Interviews
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the key themes emerging from the interviews were
not dissimilar from those that surfaced in other studies of the benefits of
gardening: the therapeutic value of gardens; the importance of space, both for
personal peace and wellbeing and to be together as a family or community;
the importance of activity, whether leading to employment or as a daily
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Table 2
Perceived Benefits of Horticulture-based Practices Voiced in Domiz Camp
Physiological
‘a healthy garden is linked to personal physical and mental health’
‘when I arrived here at first I was ill for three months, this meant I could not
start to plant a garden, I had to walk to the edge of the camp in order to
see something green but I did this whenever I had the energy to walk’
‘Nature is perfect, if you are tired it will give you energy’
‘Gardens bring peace of mind: old men and women have a place to sit and talk,
the war brought us many things and we need to remember and to spend time
together talking it over’
‘Jobs are important but cultivation too, seeds and trees are better than free
vegetables, give us seeds and trees’
Nutritional
‘I garden for vegetables’
‘Food is available in Kurdistan, but doesn’t taste as good, my own food tastes
better’
‘is natural, clean, I know what I am picking’
‘everyone can eat but without income some people eat little’
Psychological
‘Plants are good for Domiz, for mental and physical health’
‘Gardens give a breeze, give me a view, make me feel relaxed, feel happy, they
bring good feelings’
‘I am always in my garden, even in the winter, I garden for pleasure more than
anything’
‘gardening fills my time, keeps me occupied’
‘I developed my garden for psychological benefits, I enjoy spending time there,
I feel happy when I see trees, flowers and plants’
‘I have so many problems, but I feel relaxed in my garden, it helps me a lot’
‘I live with a lot of pressure here, my daughter is divorced, my husband is sick,
I grow my garden and it makes me feel better’
‘I grow because I love nature, nature is more important than anything, and can
solve so many problems’
‘I love being in my garden, it is the space that makes me happy’
‘I love green things, I go to my garden first thing in the morning, I feel good
when I am in the garden’
Environmental (home and community building)
‘Gardens give peace and relaxation, trees provide beauty’
‘Plants are good for beautification’
(it is) ‘an extension of our home and family space, all the family spend time
there, the children study there, it is an extension of their house too’
‘The adults sit there together at night’
‘We grow with my husband’s sister next door, and share seeds but have our
own plot’
‘gardening is a home thing, a chance to create my own place’
‘The garden is like my son’
‘I care for my garden like I care for my children’
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occupation for the time being—when forced inactivity brings its own stresses
and challenges; and a contribution to building a sense of belonging and
home. People also spoke about what they grew and why they grew it, and
the challenges of growing under camp conditions. They outlined the broader
benefits of a gardening competition that encouraged camp-wide cultivation
and helped to develop community bonds. As such, they provide some insight
into the benefits of gardening and why people do it, and its importance to
those who have been forcibly displaced.
Gardening and Mental Health, Trauma/Wellbeing
Over half the respondents mentioned the importance of their gardens to their
own mental health and wellbeing, often citing the value of ‘fresh air’. One
woman said: ‘a healthy garden is linked to personal physical and mental
health’, another that ‘Plants are good for Domiz, for mental and physical
health as well as for beautification’. Other comments included: ‘Gardens give
peace and relaxation, trees provide beauty’, ‘Gardens give a breeze, give me a
view, make me feel relaxed, feel happy, they bring good feelings’ and ‘I am
always in my garden, even in the winter, I garden for pleasure more than
anything’. The view that growing food was important, but growing itself was
more important for pleasure, relief from stress and relaxation was reiterated
by both men and women. Several people talked about how ‘gardening fills
my time, keeps me occupied’ and, while there was general acknowledgement
that growing food supplemented income and food supplies, overall it made
people feel happier. Some people specifically mentioned the psychological
benefits themselves, such as example: ‘I developed my garden for psycho-
logical benefits, I enjoy spending time there, I feel happy when I see trees,
flowers and plants’, ‘I have so many problems, but I feel relaxed in my
garden, it helps me a lot’ and ‘I live with a lot of pressure here, my daughter
is divorced, my husband is sick, I grow my garden and it makes me feel
better’. There was almost universal agreement with the sentiment expressed
by one woman that ‘I grow because I love nature, nature is more important
‘my garden also needs my attention and my love’
‘My garden is currently a priority, so I will give water to the garden as well or
instead of to my children’
‘A garden is like a child, you have to raise it with love and care, it is a source of
oxygen and clean air’
‘My garden is a mother-garden. It has helped birth other gardens’
(sharing seeds is) ‘in order to bring culture to Domiz’
‘this will benefit the community with fresh air, it’s good for the community for
the time being’
‘it creates a safe space for kids to play and people to meet’
‘this garden reminds me of my childhood, my land, it also benefits me
for food, essentially it connects me to my homeland’
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than anything, and can solve so many problems’ and all but one participant
mentioned a link between nature, green things and feeling ‘better’.
There was also reference to the healing benefits of green, with one woman
saying
when I arrived here at first I was ill for three months, this meant I could not
start to plant a garden, I had to walk to the edge of the camp in order to see
something green but I did this whenever I had the energy to walk.
Another indicated that nature can help provide that strength: ‘Nature is
perfect, if you are tired it will give you energy.’
The Importance of Space
A second significant theme included the importance of the garden as a space,
in which to sit, talk or just to think, but to find some peace and quiet, and
was less focused on the activity of gardening than the opportunity just to be:
Gardens bring peace of mind: old men and women have a place to sit and talk,
the war brought us many things and we need to remember and to spend time
together talking it over.
References to space included: ‘I garden for vegetables, but I love being in my
garden, it is the space that makes me happy’ and ‘I love green things, I go to
my garden first thing in the morning, I sit there to drink tea, I feel good when
I am in the garden’. Another woman spoke about how she sits in her garden
every night, even in winter, just for the opportunity to be alone and outside
when inside space is cramped and full.
The sensory benefits of the space, and of the plants, came up in five sep-
arate conversations, also referencing how this contributes to a garden’s health
benefits, how it ‘cleans air, counteracts the smell from the sewers which is very
dirty and bad for health’. People made a connection between trees and fresh
air or the ability to breathe easily, and therefore to live, saying ‘Trees will give
us oxygen so we can breathe’, ‘I used to be able to breathe in Syria, I have
difficulty breathing here, and sleeping, there are not enough trees to breathe’
and ‘This place is like a desert, when there are no trees there is no life’.
Gardening as a Family Activity
By far the majority of respondents were not first-time gardeners and, among
the 139 entrants to the gardening competition, only three had not had a
garden before. Even those who lived in a flat in Damascus had either land
in the countryside or worked their parents’ farms in local villages. Many
showed photographs of their families enjoying time in their gardens at
home. Some of the women who were married to farmers in Syria talked
about how they liked to plant trees and flowers at home, to provide a
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place for their children to play. Creating a garden in the camp appeared to
provide them with a sense of continuity, of being able to carry on activities
with children that they had done with their own parents. One woman spoke
of how she teaches her daughter to grow things, another of how she propa-
gates plants, just like her mother taught her to do as a child in Syria.
Couples described how they had created their garden together and liked to
sit in it together in the evenings; some had involved the extended family, with
husbands, brothers and sons contributing flowers and trees or helping with
the construction of a water fountain or a pergola. People spoke about the
garden being an extension of their house—‘an extension of our home and
family space’ with different functions for different members: ‘all the family
spend time there, the children study there, it is an extension of their house
too’ and ‘The adults sit there together at night’. Several shared seeds, seed-
lings and materials with extended family groups: ‘We grow with my hus-
band’s sister next door, and share seeds but have our own plot.’
While some were interested in community and neighbourhood gardens, others
said ‘gardening is a home thing, a chance to create my own place’. There were
also 10 instances where respondents referred to their garden as a child, such as
‘The garden is like my son’, ‘I care for my garden like I care for my children’,
‘my garden also needs my attention and my love’, ‘My garden is currently a
priority, so I will give water to the garden as well or instead of to my children,
plants are also growing and need water!’ and ‘A garden is like a child, you have
to raise it with love and care, it is a source of oxygen and clean air’.
Gardening and Community Building
Respondents were specifically asked about their interest in a community
garden, as there was a plan to develop one in the camp and many discussed
this. However, there were also other, unsolicited responses that indicated the
value of gardening in community building.
One woman spoke of how she gives neighbours and friends seeds and
seedlings, referring to her garden as ‘a mother-garden. It has helped birth
other gardens’. Another said she shares seeds and plants with neighbours,
because she feels it is important for the entire camp to garden, ‘in order to
bring culture to Domiz’. Some described how they had developed new friend-
ships through planting and sharing plants and meeting the workers from
Lemon Tree Trust, who had since become ‘very good friends’, enquiring
about each other’s families and providing broader social support.
Women, in particular, were vocal about community building and gardens
as a way to develop a social network for themselves in a new environment.
Someone who was still working on developing her garden said she encour-
aged her neighbours to start gardening, to get fresh air, to improve their lives.
She refused to be put off by people who said ‘this is not our home, so why
should we plant trees’, saying ‘this will benefit the community with fresh air,
it’s good for the community for the time being’.
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Overall, both men and women were positive about the idea of a community
garden, as ‘it creates a safe space for kids to play and people to meet’. Men
wanted an area to smoke and to talk while women wanted space to grow
vegetables while they could watch their children at the same time. They
stressed this alongside the need for growing food, saying putting in green-
houses was important for fresh vegetables, but community gardens also need
social space and an area for children to play. In fact, the first sign of dissent
from those watching the garden develop was when they (mistakenly) thought
the women’s garden area had been overlooked.
The importance of green space, even without food, was significant to all
respondents, often sharing materials even while they cultivated separately.
They could appreciate the value that a neighbour’s garden could bring to the
camp as a whole, and were keen to offer advice to help ensure these thrived.
Food or Flowers
What people grew was recorded in their entry forms for the 2017 competition
and by far the majority was some kind of mixed planting. Of 139 entries, only
six grew entirely vegetables and seven entirely flowers. The majority had a
mixture of trees, flowers, herbs and vegetables but, contrary to expectations,
food production was not the prime motivator. There was only one family
registered as keeping chickens (others kept birds and pigeons, but for homing
or ornamental reasons; singing birds in cages were surprisingly popular, with
whole camp shops dedicated to selling them). Most gardens had a mixture of
trees and flowers, or trees, flowers and vegetables but, of the 139 gardens,
only 27 did not include flowers.
Those who did grow food were interested in growing ‘onions, olives,
lemons, tomatoes, cucumbers, aubergines, vegetables to eat and share’.
They mentioned different foods for different seasons, saying ‘Food is avail-
able in Kurdistan, but doesn’t taste as good, my own food tastes better’, and
better taste and ‘clean water’ were the main motivators for growing food,
although people rarely specified what they meant by ‘clean’. Food was avail-
able, both fresh and in the supermarket, and people would ‘Buy a bit of food
now and then, but eat a lot of their own produce’. People planted different
things for different reasons: trees for shade, flowers for pleasure and as a
reminder of home, and food because it ‘is natural, clean, I know what I am
picking’. As the Lemon Tree Trust coordinator said: ‘everyone can eat but
without income some people eat little.’
Key Challenges: Space and Water
The biggest challenges in being able to cultivate in a controlled camp situ-
ation were voiced again and again as lack of available space and water. Both
were exacerbated by lack of planning—there were unused spaces around and
adjacent to the camp, but not alongside individual homes. People grew in tiny
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courtyards, alleyways and alongside the edges of their plots, some even giving
over whole rooms to make a garden or a bird aviary. The men’s focus group
was particularly vocal about this, saying: ‘We need large spaces, there is a
park but no planting in it, why is this? We have small spaces but no money
for seeds’ and ‘Water is a big problem, greywater is piped away’. They com-
plained about how the camp itself dealt with this:
The camp management tells us that water is diseased, we can’t use it for vege-
table growing.
We need large spaces and seedlings. We can buy vegetables, they are an Ok
price, not cheap but OK, but everyone is a farmer, we want to eat from what
we grow.
Jobs are important but cultivation too, seeds and trees are better than free
vegetables, give us seeds and trees (Comments from the men’s focus group
held outside the mosque).
The women’s focus group also discussed use of space, asking for ‘more space
around the home, so children can play, it’s OK for those at the end of the
row but for shelters in the middle it is very crowded’:
There is no space to wash blankets and dry them, we try to make gardens and
are told it is encroachment, we need to be able to put a fence around the home
(Comments from the focus group at women’s centre).
Both groups felt that, while this could have been taken into account when
planning the camp, there was still potential with things as they were, provid-
ing permission was given:
Trees prevent dust and give oxygen and fruits. Domiz has space, we don’t need
to replan the camp there is space we just need to be able to use it.
While some lived in fear of the camp authorities, others pushed their luck and
then had to reduce gardens they had developed. One man described how
‘when the camp put in drainage they took back land outside and I had to
remove trees’. He was told he was encroaching on land that was not his and
forced to give back an area where he had been growing apples, peach trees,
lemon trees and pine. He was now planning to shift his toilet and shower to
create more space for a larger garden at the other side of his plot.
However, the overriding challenge for gardeners in the camp was access to
and use of water. Refugee camps generate large amounts of waste water:
general domestic use averages 100 litres per family per day, with only a
proportion of this used for consumption. The rest, used for washing vege-
tables, clothes, houses or people, could be reused as greywater if there was a
way to gather it safely. Too often, water run-off or badly planned drainage
systems contribute to muddy areas or complex and expensive infrastructure
that diverts water out of the camp and creates a health hazard from standing
water elsewhere (Adam-Bradford and van Veenhuizen 2015). Respondents
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had their own suggestions on how to deal with water availability. Some
suggested enlisting a team of volunteers to fill up tanks from the borewell
and deliver to people in the camp who need water for gardens, but this would
further contribute to fuel use and traffic. Others used mains supply, some-
times buying water to drink and irrigating every two days when water is
delivered. While this was just about manageable in winter, it was insufficient
during the summer months—an important growing season.
A few innovative individuals had set up systems to harvest greywater
within their homes, which had become more difficult after a camp-wide
drainage system had been installed. Camp fears about spread of disease
made it an offence to collect water outside the house, but one or two still
did this, setting up a dam in the drainage ditches and harvesting water in cut-
off plastic bottles. People were afraid that neighbours would report them to
camp authorities for collecting water, and that overusing water would cause
further neighbourhood problems with shared tanks between households.
Still greater than the fear of upsetting neighbours or camp authorities were
fears about the dangers of using greywater and concern that ‘soap would kill
the plants’. One key impetus to growing vegetables concerned the fact that
people knew ‘where they came from and that the water was clean’ and felt
water used for washing, their bodies or their utensils, was no longer clean,
saying: ‘Eating from your own work, everything tastes better, especially if
you know where the water comes from.’
Some people recycled washing-up water by throwing it outside the house in
summer to keep down dust but were aware that water used for food prep-
aration might attract flies or spread bacteria and germs. For gardening to
really flourish within refugee camps, an integrated approach to the recycling
of greywater, and education on how best to purpose it, seems to be essential.
Spreading this message through extension sometimes worked but is not
enough. Some people acknowledged that they had been told ‘how greywater
could be used’ and were beginning to respond to this but, on the whole,
gardeners remained suspicious, and a more extensive demonstration pro-
gramme is now underway.
There were a range of views about how much space was currently being
used for cultivation and how many people had started gardens, many sug-
gesting it was almost half and that, with more space and more water avail-
able, ‘it would be greater’:
Around 50% of people are growing something and this could still be increased,
more space would make a difference.
there are 50% of people currently cultivating, people like this and will grow in
bottles and tins if they have no space.
Prior to the garden competition it feels as if around 5% of people were plant-
ing, now it’s close to 50%, in gardens, with trees, in pots etc. Most needed is
access to water and space.
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the garden competition has made a big difference, 75% of the camp are now
growing things, but key needs are water and space.
Significance of External Support
The responses above make it clear that people would create gardens anyway,
and that these have a deep personal significance for them. The garden com-
petition and the support that Lemon Tree Trust provided served as encour-
agement and validation of that work, in some cases securing permission and
authorization from camp managers. People said of Lemon Tree Trust that
‘the competition creates motivation to make the garden better and creates a
goal to work towards’ ‘gardening would continue in Domiz without the
Lemon Tree Trust, but Lemon Tree Trust helps support more gardens and
inspires confidence in growing’. Participants in the competition were unani-
mous about how much they enjoyed it: ‘Lemon Tree Trust didn’t change my
garden in anyway, I did it that way anyway, but I like the competition’ and ‘I
would still have a garden without the competition, but it gave me more trust,
more confidence in myself, it provided me with encouragement to keep going’.
The gift of seeds and trees enabled people to plant more easily and, with
added variety, enabled them to teach children about the different types of
trees and their uses; the Lemon Tree Trust also provided help with designs.
While families were initially given tree seedlings, most went on to buy more
from the camp nursery, hence supporting a local refugee-run business. They
liked the idea of the competition, but were not motivated by the prize money,
saying that, if they won, they would put the money back into their gardens.
Some people were also inspired to spend a considerable amount on their
gardens in order to try and win, with sums up to $400 mentioned for cement,
as well as the time to level and construct ornamental areas. Families and com-
munities were happy to share tools but, for larger construction, tools were a
priority. Men asked for additional support in order to purchase these, saying:
‘We are all farmers in Syria, give us tools, we are ready to grow again.’
Belonging and Home
While the majority of gardeners in May 2017’s competition had previously
gardened in Syria (134 out of 139), a handful had found the time and the
encouragement available to them in the camp enabled them to do so for the
first time. On many occasions, people pulled out photographs of their
gardens at home and began to talk about the gardens they had had before.
Gardening seemed to provide a mechanism for cultural connection to home:
people brought umbrella tree seeds from Syria, asked whether they could
grow native plants from Syria and, in some cases, had packed seeds to
bring with them before they left.
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People also spoke about how they had started to plant things almost as
soon as they arrived: ‘Gardening is important for beautification of the camp,
almost immediately I got here I planted flowers, roses around my first tent.’
As tents were gradually replaced with breeze-block buildings, people would
move the plants they had already established, either to rearrange them
around the plot or to take with them when they were moved to another
area. Those who knew they would later be moved still planted first in con-
tainers, so as not to waste time: ‘When I first arrived I was given a tent and
straight away began to plant in a box.’
A number of people had decided the camp would now be their home, so
had gone about creating a home, and a life. Their garden made an important
contribution to that process. One man commented: ‘this garden reminds me
of my childhood, my land, it also benefits me for food, essentially it connects
me to my homeland.’
Conclusions and Recommendations
There is compelling evidence of the major health benefits of fruit and vege-
table consumption, physical activity and outdoor interaction with ‘green-
space’ that has emerged in the past decade—all of which combine to give
major potential health benefits from horticulture-based interventions in urban
areas (Leake et al. 2009). Equally strong has been the development of social
and therapeutic horticulture (STH) approaches, with clear links between gar-
dening and psychological benefits, and indirectly to the nutritional and
physiological benefits of gardening. There is an equally impressive evidence
base testifying to the environmental benefits of urban agriculture to urban
landscapes (de Zeeuw and Drechsel 2015). These benefits would equally apply
in any informal settlements in urban landscapes, although, in relation to this
study, two critical observations can be made: (i) camps are associated with a
range of health, environmental and social risks due to the high population
densities and (ii) camps are inhabited by highly traumatized populations. It is
therefore not surprising that the key themes emerging from the interviews
were not dissimilar from those that surfaced in other studies carried out in
non-camp contexts:
1. the importance of space: both for personal peace and wellbeing, and to be
together as a family or community;
2. the importance of fresh food, trees and greenery to energy and physical
health;
3. the importance of activity, whether leading to employment or as a daily
occupation for the time being—when forced inactivity brings its own
stresses and challenges;
4. a contribution to building a sense of belonging, community and home.
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Gardening and other horticultural-based activities can be applied to refu-
gee camps at different stages of structural consolidation and settlement, from
tents to low-income/high-density urban suburbs. They can contribute to
psycho-social wellbeing, food and nutritional security, income generation
and social cohesion. Small-scale food production, processing and distribution
all offer additional opportunities for livelihood creation that can actively
involve host communities, IDPs and refugees. But these approaches must
be integrated at the camp-planning stage.
However, key challenges to cultivation are of course space and water.
Water is available but in short supply and, culturally, people may not be
used to water recycling. Drainage—or a lack of it—is a huge problem in
many camps, resulting in either areas swamped with run-off surface water
or drainage systems that prevent greywater harvesting. The high population
density of camps results in high levels of solid waste and wastewater (another
commonality with informal urban settings in the Global South). While
initially always considered a challenge—to the health and wellbeing of peo-
ple—these waste streams represent an opportunity to implement innovative
drainage infrastructure and sanitation technologies, such as rainwater har-
vesting, sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) and resource recovery and reuse
(RRR). Conventional drainage systems are often added as an afterthought
many years after a camp has been constructed. Confusion about the quality
and source of greywater at camp-management level can result in restrictions
being put into place rather than innovative guidelines of how to safely use
greywater for irrigation. The principles of SuDS utilize surface water where it
lands or flows, replicating the drainage patterns of natural systems.
Implementing this effectively can eliminate stagnant waters and reduce risks
of disease, while remaining more cost-effective than conventional drainage
and offering the multiple benefits associated with STH.
Moreover, all of the approaches above can be designed and implemented
to maximize the benefits from STH. RRR includes the safe utilization of
liquid and solid organic wastes, such as converting solid organic waste into
compost that can then be applied for soil amelioration. (In Za’atari Refugee
Camp in the semi-arid areas of north Jordan, treated wastewater from the
camp is used to irrigate fodder crops for livestock.) Such systems can also be
designed to enhance the environmental conditions of what are often bleak
camps in harsh settings by supporting the growth of gardens, trees and foli-
age. Using humanitarian funding streams to implement SuDS and RRR pro-
jects in camps can create showcases of innovative technologies, increasing the
potential for uptake of durable solutions by local authorities that might have
limited access to these approaches (Thompson 2014).
The study in Domiz Camp outlined above suggests that careful camp
planning with programmes designed around the needs of beneficiaries and
their host communities can bring much-needed social cohesion.
Improvements made to land, water use and landscape will be beneficial in
the long term, even if the camp is eventually dispersed. But, as with many
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camps, the rapid emergence of Domiz into an ‘accidental city’ (Fall 2009)
confirms the importance of considering people’s use of space, water and food
at an early stage. Uganda, which has hosted refugees since 1958, for nearly
six decades, is one place where some of the most durable models can be
found. After decades of implementing low-density refugee camps that pro-
vided refugees with land, tools and seeds, the government of Uganda has
moved to a full integration strategy that co-locates refugees with resource-
poor host communities. This way, when humanitarian actors construct
schools and clinics and implement livelihood and food safety-net pro-
grammes, benefits are shared among both refugees and host communities.
Research into food production, social cohesion and psycho-social wellbeing
in host communities could form an important addition to the broader field of
refugee agriculture. As the divide between humanitarian and development
support is increasingly blurred, humanitarian assistance could be seen as an
opportunity to develop and implement long-term, self-sustaining solutions—
rather than a response to a one-off crisis—contributing to the ongoing de-
velopment effort by national or international actors.
The financial, institutional and technical challenges resulting from deliver-
ing humanitarian assistance to forcibly displaced people around the world are
substantial and the demand for such assistance is escalating. Horticulture-
based interventions represent an important part of the response offering
therapeutic support, social cohesion, food security, resilience, safety and the
opportunity to recycle water and nutrients, not only to the millions of people
living in camps, but to future generations across the globe (Adam-Bradford
et al. 2017). The limitations of the current model are affecting the efficiency
and effectiveness of humanitarian aid; durable and rapid responses require
funds, resources, political leadership and time. While the humanitarian sector
is increasingly required to do more with less, a paradigm shift is long
overdue.
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... Finally, there is increasing evidence that growing food and flowers improves self-esteem and mental health (Millican et al. 2019, RHS 2021 and builds resilience . Recognizing these additional benefits, an increasing number of humanitarian actors are providing the necessary tools, equipment, and other non-seed inputs for households affected by crisis to grow crops for food and to grow flowers. ...
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Millions of people around the world who are vulnerable to crises rely heavily on crop production to support their livelihoods. Currently, 40% of the global poor live in economies affected by fragility, conflict, and violence. That number is expected to rise to 67% in the next decade (World Bank 2021). SEADS is a set of international principles and minimum standards for crop-related crisis responses. The Handbook enables those responding to humanitarian crises to design, implement, and evaluate crop-related interventions to strengthen the livelihoods of farming communities, support preparedness and post-emergency recovery, and increase the resilience of households, communities, and systems. SEADS helps users to: determine if a crop-related response is appropriate, necessary, and feasible; prioritize which crop-related response area may achieve livelihood objectives given the context; track alignment of projects with standards; measure impact from crop-related crisis response.
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Conflicts in the Arab world have produced multiple waves of refugees in the past decades. Jordan amongst has received a massive number of refugees located in different camps and considered to be the heaven of refugees. The new state of the camp became negatively impacting the host country and the environment in different layers. This research identified these various layers of impact; water, waste, electricity, soil, medical waste and social, which may not meet the sustainability requirements, disregarding their use as temporary panacea. This study aims at tracing the various environmental layers of impact in Al Zaatari camp. The paper then moves to focus on suggesting sustainable development tactics for each of these identified layers of impact. The methodology that has been used, to identify the various layers of impact and recommending their sustainable solutions or approaches, through tracing the literature and looking at other case studies related to our case. Finally, the paper concludes through generating some reflections about the identified layers and their solutions, recommending what is needed to be done to enhance the current camp status quo as well as future instant cities.KeywordsZaatariEnvironmental impactSustainable development
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What are the possibilities for multispecies justice? How do social justice struggles intersect with the lives of animals, plants, and other creatures? Leading thinkers in anthropology, geography, philosophy, speculative fiction, poetry, and contemporary art answer these questions from diverse grounded locations. In America, Indigenous peoples and prisoners are decolonizing multispecies relations in unceded territory and carceral landscapes. Small justices are emerging in Tanzanian markets, near banana plantations in the Philippines, and in abandoned buildings of Azerbaijan as people navigate relations with feral dogs, weeds, rats, and pesticides. Conflicts over rights of nature are intensifying in Colombia’s Amazon. Specters of justice are emerging in India, while children in Micronesia memorialize extinct bird species. Engaging with ideas about environmental justice, restorative justice, and other species of justice, The Promise of Multispecies Justice holds open the possibility of flourishing in multispecies worlds, present and to come. Contributors. Karin Bolender, Sophie Chao, M. L. Clark, Radhika Govindrajan, Zsuzsanna Dominika Ihar, Noriko Ishiyama, Eben Kirksey, Elizabeth Lara, Jia Hui Lee, Kristina Lyons, Michael Marder, Alyssa Paredes, Craig Santos Perez, Kim TallBear
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What are the possibilities for multispecies justice? How do social justice struggles intersect with the lives of animals, plants, and other creatures? Leading thinkers in anthropology, geography, philosophy, speculative fiction, poetry, and contemporary art answer these questions from diverse grounded locations. In America, Indigenous peoples and prisoners are decolonizing multispecies relations in unceded territory and carceral landscapes. Small justices are emerging in Tanzanian markets, near banana plantations in the Philippines, and in abandoned buildings of Azerbaijan as people navigate relations with feral dogs, weeds, rats, and pesticides. Conflicts over rights of nature are intensifying in Colombia’s Amazon. Specters of justice are emerging in India, while children in Micronesia memorialize extinct bird species. Engaging with ideas about environmental justice, restorative justice, and other species of justice, The Promise of Multispecies Justice holds open the possibility of flourishing in multispecies worlds, present and to come. Contributors. Karin Bolender, Sophie Chao, M. L. Clark, Radhika Govindrajan, Zsuzsanna Dominika Ihar, Noriko Ishiyama, Eben Kirksey, Elizabeth Lara, Jia Hui Lee, Kristina Lyons, Michael Marder, Alyssa Paredes, Craig Santos Perez, Kim TallBear
Chapter
What are the possibilities for multispecies justice? How do social justice struggles intersect with the lives of animals, plants, and other creatures? Leading thinkers in anthropology, geography, philosophy, speculative fiction, poetry, and contemporary art answer these questions from diverse grounded locations. In America, Indigenous peoples and prisoners are decolonizing multispecies relations in unceded territory and carceral landscapes. Small justices are emerging in Tanzanian markets, near banana plantations in the Philippines, and in abandoned buildings of Azerbaijan as people navigate relations with feral dogs, weeds, rats, and pesticides. Conflicts over rights of nature are intensifying in Colombia’s Amazon. Specters of justice are emerging in India, while children in Micronesia memorialize extinct bird species. Engaging with ideas about environmental justice, restorative justice, and other species of justice, The Promise of Multispecies Justice holds open the possibility of flourishing in multispecies worlds, present and to come. Contributors. Karin Bolender, Sophie Chao, M. L. Clark, Radhika Govindrajan, Zsuzsanna Dominika Ihar, Noriko Ishiyama, Eben Kirksey, Elizabeth Lara, Jia Hui Lee, Kristina Lyons, Michael Marder, Alyssa Paredes, Craig Santos Perez, Kim TallBear
Chapter
What are the possibilities for multispecies justice? How do social justice struggles intersect with the lives of animals, plants, and other creatures? Leading thinkers in anthropology, geography, philosophy, speculative fiction, poetry, and contemporary art answer these questions from diverse grounded locations. In America, Indigenous peoples and prisoners are decolonizing multispecies relations in unceded territory and carceral landscapes. Small justices are emerging in Tanzanian markets, near banana plantations in the Philippines, and in abandoned buildings of Azerbaijan as people navigate relations with feral dogs, weeds, rats, and pesticides. Conflicts over rights of nature are intensifying in Colombia’s Amazon. Specters of justice are emerging in India, while children in Micronesia memorialize extinct bird species. Engaging with ideas about environmental justice, restorative justice, and other species of justice, The Promise of Multispecies Justice holds open the possibility of flourishing in multispecies worlds, present and to come. Contributors. Karin Bolender, Sophie Chao, M. L. Clark, Radhika Govindrajan, Zsuzsanna Dominika Ihar, Noriko Ishiyama, Eben Kirksey, Elizabeth Lara, Jia Hui Lee, Kristina Lyons, Michael Marder, Alyssa Paredes, Craig Santos Perez, Kim TallBear
Chapter
What are the possibilities for multispecies justice? How do social justice struggles intersect with the lives of animals, plants, and other creatures? Leading thinkers in anthropology, geography, philosophy, speculative fiction, poetry, and contemporary art answer these questions from diverse grounded locations. In America, Indigenous peoples and prisoners are decolonizing multispecies relations in unceded territory and carceral landscapes. Small justices are emerging in Tanzanian markets, near banana plantations in the Philippines, and in abandoned buildings of Azerbaijan as people navigate relations with feral dogs, weeds, rats, and pesticides. Conflicts over rights of nature are intensifying in Colombia’s Amazon. Specters of justice are emerging in India, while children in Micronesia memorialize extinct bird species. Engaging with ideas about environmental justice, restorative justice, and other species of justice, The Promise of Multispecies Justice holds open the possibility of flourishing in multispecies worlds, present and to come. Contributors. Karin Bolender, Sophie Chao, M. L. Clark, Radhika Govindrajan, Zsuzsanna Dominika Ihar, Noriko Ishiyama, Eben Kirksey, Elizabeth Lara, Jia Hui Lee, Kristina Lyons, Michael Marder, Alyssa Paredes, Craig Santos Perez, Kim TallBear
Chapter
What are the possibilities for multispecies justice? How do social justice struggles intersect with the lives of animals, plants, and other creatures? Leading thinkers in anthropology, geography, philosophy, speculative fiction, poetry, and contemporary art answer these questions from diverse grounded locations. In America, Indigenous peoples and prisoners are decolonizing multispecies relations in unceded territory and carceral landscapes. Small justices are emerging in Tanzanian markets, near banana plantations in the Philippines, and in abandoned buildings of Azerbaijan as people navigate relations with feral dogs, weeds, rats, and pesticides. Conflicts over rights of nature are intensifying in Colombia’s Amazon. Specters of justice are emerging in India, while children in Micronesia memorialize extinct bird species. Engaging with ideas about environmental justice, restorative justice, and other species of justice, The Promise of Multispecies Justice holds open the possibility of flourishing in multispecies worlds, present and to come. Contributors. Karin Bolender, Sophie Chao, M. L. Clark, Radhika Govindrajan, Zsuzsanna Dominika Ihar, Noriko Ishiyama, Eben Kirksey, Elizabeth Lara, Jia Hui Lee, Kristina Lyons, Michael Marder, Alyssa Paredes, Craig Santos Perez, Kim TallBear
Chapter
What are the possibilities for multispecies justice? How do social justice struggles intersect with the lives of animals, plants, and other creatures? Leading thinkers in anthropology, geography, philosophy, speculative fiction, poetry, and contemporary art answer these questions from diverse grounded locations. In America, Indigenous peoples and prisoners are decolonizing multispecies relations in unceded territory and carceral landscapes. Small justices are emerging in Tanzanian markets, near banana plantations in the Philippines, and in abandoned buildings of Azerbaijan as people navigate relations with feral dogs, weeds, rats, and pesticides. Conflicts over rights of nature are intensifying in Colombia’s Amazon. Specters of justice are emerging in India, while children in Micronesia memorialize extinct bird species. Engaging with ideas about environmental justice, restorative justice, and other species of justice, The Promise of Multispecies Justice holds open the possibility of flourishing in multispecies worlds, present and to come. Contributors. Karin Bolender, Sophie Chao, M. L. Clark, Radhika Govindrajan, Zsuzsanna Dominika Ihar, Noriko Ishiyama, Eben Kirksey, Elizabeth Lara, Jia Hui Lee, Kristina Lyons, Michael Marder, Alyssa Paredes, Craig Santos Perez, Kim TallBear
Chapter
What are the possibilities for multispecies justice? How do social justice struggles intersect with the lives of animals, plants, and other creatures? Leading thinkers in anthropology, geography, philosophy, speculative fiction, poetry, and contemporary art answer these questions from diverse grounded locations. In America, Indigenous peoples and prisoners are decolonizing multispecies relations in unceded territory and carceral landscapes. Small justices are emerging in Tanzanian markets, near banana plantations in the Philippines, and in abandoned buildings of Azerbaijan as people navigate relations with feral dogs, weeds, rats, and pesticides. Conflicts over rights of nature are intensifying in Colombia’s Amazon. Specters of justice are emerging in India, while children in Micronesia memorialize extinct bird species. Engaging with ideas about environmental justice, restorative justice, and other species of justice, The Promise of Multispecies Justice holds open the possibility of flourishing in multispecies worlds, present and to come. Contributors. Karin Bolender, Sophie Chao, M. L. Clark, Radhika Govindrajan, Zsuzsanna Dominika Ihar, Noriko Ishiyama, Eben Kirksey, Elizabeth Lara, Jia Hui Lee, Kristina Lyons, Michael Marder, Alyssa Paredes, Craig Santos Perez, Kim TallBear
Article
Full-text available
Objective To investigate the effect of applying horticulture activity on stress, work performance and quality of life in persons with psychiatric illness. Methods This study was a single-blinded randomized controlled trial. Using convenience sampling, 24 participants with psychiatric illness were recruited to participate in a horticultural programme and were randomly assigned to experimental and control groups. Two participants dropped out from experimental groups after assignment. Ten participants in the experimental group attended 10 horticultural sessions within 2 weeks, while 12 participants in the control group continued to receive conventional sheltered workshop training. Participants were assessed before and after programme using Chinese version of the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS21) and the Personal Wellbeing Index (PWI-C), and the Work Behavior Assessment. Results There was a significant difference in change scores of the DASS21 (p=.01) between experimental and control group. There were no significant differences in change scores of the PWI-C between the two groups. Conclusion Horticultural therapy is effective in decreasing the levels of anxiety, depression and stress among participants in this pilot study, but the impact of the programme on work behavior and quality of life will need further exploration.
Article
Full-text available
Refugees are a particularly vulnerable population who undergo nutrition transition as a result of forced migration. This paper explores how involvement in a community food garden supports African humanitarian migrant connectedness with their new country. A cross-sectional study of a purposive sample of African refugees participating in a campus-based community food garden was conducted. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with twelve African humanitarian migrants who tended established garden plots within the garden. Interview data were thematically analysed revealing three factors which participants identified as important benefits in relation to community garden participation: land tenure, reconnecting with agri-culture, and community belonging. Community food gardens offer a tangible means for African refugees, and other vulnerable or marginalised populations, to build community and community connections. This is significant given the increasing recognition of the importance of social connectedness for wellbeing.
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Gardening is widely used in promoting recovery and wellness. The use of gardening as a medium within therapy has a long history, and there is evidence of its effectiveness (York and Wiseman 2012). The focus in this chapter is on the purpose of gardening as an occupational therapy intervention (OTI). Gardening is a normal authentic common activity that is easily graded to all situations, from indoors in a nursing home, to community gardens. It is a versatile therapeutic medium, and different aspects of gardening can be graded and adapted to meet the needs of a wide range of clients. Evidence from occupational therapy gardening research supports its use in stress reduction. Skills and knowledge that an occupational therapist (OT) needs such as plant care are considered. Evaluations of the effectiveness of gardening in occupational therapy conclude that it increases motivation to participate, provides enjoyment, and creates a profound and intimate connection to the natural world.
Article
Purpose - The number of gardening-based mental health interventions is increasing, yet when the literature was last reviewed in 2003, limited evidence of their effectiveness was identified. The aim of this review was to evaluate the current evidence-base for gardening-based mental health interventions and projects through examining their reported benefits and the quality of research in this field. Design/methodology/approach - Studies evaluating the benefits of gardening-based interventions for adults experiencing mental health difficulties were identified through an electronic database search. Information on the content and theoretical foundations of the interventions, the identified benefits of the interventions and the study methodology was extracted and synthesised. Findings - Ten papers published since 2003 met the inclusion criteria. All reported positive effects of gardening as a mental health intervention for service users, including reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety. Participants described a range of benefits across emotional, social, vocational, physical and spiritual domains. Overall the research was of a considerably higher quality than that reviewed in 2003, providing more convincing evidence in support of gardening-based interventions. However, none of the studies employed a randomised controlled trial design. Research limitations/implications - There is a need for further high-quality research in this field. It is important that adequate outcome measures are in place to evaluate existing gardening-based mental health interventions / projects effectively. Originality/value - This paper provides an up-to-date critique of the evidence for gardening-based mental health interventions, highlighting their potential clinical value.
Article
Introduction The use of horticulture in mental health settings is widespread. Moreover, its effectiveness is supported by a body of qualitative evidence. Aims The investigators in this research study sought to determine those aspects of their horticultural projects that conferred the greatest therapeutic benefit to their clients. They used outcome measures to rate the responses of participants, paying particular attention to the participants' expressed motivation. Method Qualitative and quantitative methods were used to evaluate six horticultural projects. Ten participants were interviewed, using an adapted version of the Work Environment Impact Scale (WEIS) to rate factors that supported their motivation. Fifty participants were assessed, using the Volitional Questionnaire (VQ) to observe and rate the extent of their motivation. Findings The therapeutic value of horticulture arose from a complex interplay of personal factors, including gender-based preferences, individual interests and social needs. Conclusion The benefits of engaging in horticultural activity are not automatic. The external environment provides challenges, which can be graded by the facilitators to maximise the therapeutic benefit.