We have developed an Urban Agriculture demonstration garden, called Liberation Garden in Domiz Camp, Iraq to demonstrate, educate and support small-scale growing. We argue that all refugee camps should have demonstration gardens.
The purpose of the Urban Agriculture demonstration garden is to share the many different techniques used in small-scale food production within a camp environment. These techniques include recycling greywater, composting, planting in small spaces, breeding small livestock for meat and growing under plastic.
The Demonstration Garden: ‘Azadi’, or ‘Liberation’
We conducted a needs assessment with gardeners in Domiz Camp in 2016 which highlighted their interest in having a demonstration garden within the camp. We were given permission to take on and manage a disused site by the camp authorities and then refurbished a broken bore hole located at the site with the help of Human Relief Foundation. The site was already called ‘Azadi’ which means ‘liberation’ in Kurdish. We used a participatory mapping approach to design the garden and employed refugees to develop it. It is now operating as a training and demonstration centre, providing advice on how to use greywater use for irrigation, raising seedlings for distribution, and growing and distributing vegetables. There is a recreational space for men, rasied-bed gardens for women and children and livestock and greenhouse areas.
The garden is supported by a decreasing subsidy model, with 100% funding in the first quarter of operation, reducing subsidy for wages by 10% a quarter. In the second year workers will receive 60% of their original salary, with the intention that they can make the additional 40% through selling vegetables and seedlings.
Any surplus profits and produce will be distributed and/or sold to benefit vulnerable households.