‘Refugees and Restoration’ roundtable

Land restoration in refugee camps and wider communities has enormous potential to enhance the living conditions of forcibly displaced people and the ecosystems of war-torn regions.

To coincide with the official launch of the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration and World Environment Day on 5 June 2021, we were delighted to take part in a ‘Refugees and Restoration’ roundtable hosted by Tina Teucher.

Our Operations and Communications Director, Jennie Spears, joined 10 other speakers from regenerative projects, refugee organisations and funders to discuss why and how environmental and social problems can be solved collaboratively. Specifically:

  • What if we transformed refugee camps into regenerative camps, for the people’s health, wealth and peace, for the ecosystem’s regeneration? 
    • Why are regenerative practices a good idea for refugee camps? 
    •  What is needed to establish restoration projects in refugee camps?
    • How can projects multiply, speed up and scale?

In our experience at the Lemon Tree Trust, refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) want to engage in meaningful work just like any other human being – they do not need encouragement or motivation, but merely tools and education to get started.

That’s why our gardening projects, such as our annual home garden competitions, have not been set up with the primary objective of ecosystem restoration, but rather to help improve people’s mental health.

Gardening in this sense may be perceived as a powerful therapeutic tool, used to learn to cope with isolation, overcome traumatic experiences, and along the way, it produces beauty, belonging and food security.

Read the article summarising the roundtables

Refugees & Restoration: What if we transform refugee camps into regenerative camps?

Watch the recordings of the roundtable

Jennie speaks about the Lemon Tree Trust in session 1 at 33:30.

Session 1 Roundtable: Refugees and Restoration

Session 2 Roundtable: Refugees & Restoration


Domiz 1 camp is the home of our headquarters in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and one of our community gardens, Azadi. We regularly get asked questions about the set-up and infrastructure of refugee and IDP (internally displaced people) camps, as well as the living conditions there, so we wanted to share what we know. … Continued

Our thanks go to the Young Propagators Society for publishing Aisha Ahmed Omar’s story in their digital zine. Aisha is a gardener who lives in Domiz 1 camp, in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, after she was forcibly displaced from Syria. She shares how gardening brings her connection, comfort and joy:⁣“I have had great success in growing leafy vegetables, which … Continued

Congratulations to graphic designer Kulsum Karolia on winning a Bronze Creative Conscience Award for her Lemon Tree Trust project.   As part of a final year project at the Manchester School of Art, UK, Kulsum and fellow students were tasked with creatively responding to and raising awareness about a social issue – to inspire and educate a global audience.  We were delighted when Kulsum chose Lemon Tree Trust.   She said: “Something that really stood out to me … Continued