Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Refugee Gardens and LSS Market Day

You may not have heard much about our Refugee Gardens project here at Friends of Northeast Florida Community Gardens.  It's time to change that. While the project is in its infancy here in Northeast Florida, Refugee Gardens can be found in many cities around the country.   

Garden @ Jackson Square
Refugee Gardens link impoverished refugees with growing spaces enabling them to increase their own food security and helping to build community within and without their ethnic groups. Many refugees come from areas where our American style social "safety net" programs do not exist so there is not a cultural predisposition to expect those programs and seek them out. Additionally, language barriers prevent them from having easy access to the programs impoverished Americans can rely upon. Community gardening allows refugees to rely upon the skills that served them well in their countries of origin (many are self-identified as farmers) to feed their families.

Where we have seen it implemented in Northeast Florida, the results have been nothing short of phenomenal.  These are not gardening hobbyists - these are farmers with an eye to the harvest.  Our recent involvement with BEBCO (Burmese Ethnic Based Community Organization) through Lutheran Social Services has been a great success.  Given large tracts of garden space, this group has mobilized a work force from within the Burmese community to clear the land, cultivate it and plant it.  They can build a garden in one day.  These gardeners are pulling food from the garden in weeks.  All of this done by hand with nothing more than a few simple hand tools and little to no money to speak of. 

Now that you've had an introduction to Refugee Gardens, we want to let you know about an event that is partially a fund raiser for the BEBCO Community Garden project.  Please see the flyer below for the details on the LSS Market Day. We hope that you can find time to stop by this Saturday and support these wonderful gardeners in our community. 

If you are interested in finding out more about Refugee Gardens in Jacksonville, please contact Carol at ckartsonis@fnfcg.org

Market Day Nov Letter Size Poster LSS