Gardening has the power to positively address issues of isolation and mental health.
For displaced people globally, the simple act of gardening produces beauty, restores dignity, creates community and offers opportunity.
Transforming refugee camps and communities, one garden at a time
Since 2015, the Lemon Tree Trust has supported refugees and communities of forced migrants, to create home and community gardens, garden competitions and education projects.
Working with like-minded organisations and partners, we empower people from the ground up to improve their wellbeing and their environment, with a particular focus on women coming together as a community to affect change.
“I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard I could have a garden here… We’ve all been displaced and are suddenly living in a desert without trees… I see life in this garden. It cleans the air and gives people hope.”
Ahmed Tamo, Domiz 1 camp, Kurdistan Region of Iraq
Our long-term vision is to bring gardens and gardening initiatives to every refugee camp and community of forced migrants in the world.
Our activities are focused on four main impact areas:
Improving mental health and wellbeing
Community building and women’s empowerment
Improving local environments
Independent access to fresh food
We do this by supporting people to build home gardens, supporting communities to build community gardens (both ornamental and productive) and supporting women-led agriculture and horticulture initiatives and small businesses.
“For the people we work with in refugee communities, gardens are an essential part of their lives. They bring beauty, restore dignity and reignite hope in the future. But importantly, we know that gardens offer an incredible opportunity for profitable enterprise and we are committed, personally and professionally, to helping drive a new refugee economy through horticulture.”
Stephanie Hunt, Founder & CEO, Lemon Tree Trust
Where we work
Since 2015 most of our work has been in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The Azadi Community Garden in Domiz 1 camp was established in 2016 and since then, we have continued to roll out gardening activities to more refugee and IDP camps across the region – as interest and popularity has grown in our garden competitions.
While our efforts are largely focused in Kurdistan, we continue to partner with organisations in other countries.
Our long-term vision is to expose every refugee camp in the world to garden competitions and gardening initiatives and to encourage self-sustaining ventures run by and for refugees.
At this time of year when the weather is turning colder in refugee and IDP (internally displaced people) camps in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, our gardening activities are more important than ever to bring people together and give them hope for their futures. That’s why, this Christmas, we have launched a special appeal, where … Continued
For the last few winters, the road linking the four sections of the Azadi Community Garden in Domiz 1 camp has become extremely waterlogged. Heavy winter rains often wash away the top layer, leaving deep ruts in both sides and with each heavy rainfall, the roads become fast flowing streams and in the case of … Continued
We’ve set up a mini library in our lounge area of the Azadi Community Garden in Domiz 1 camp. It’s a small way we can help our children to grow and flourish. Right now we only have a few books in our cabinet but we will continue to add to our small collection so that … Continued