refugee-farm

The farm that refugees call home

By Nikita Mandhani

The Global Gardens Refugee Training farm is a one-acre plot of land in the Albany Park neighborhood of Chicago that serves about 100 refugee families mostly from Bhutan, Myanmar (Burma) and Congo.

For Linda Seyler, the founder, director and the farm manager, the program is a way to help refugees segue into the American culture while holding onto their national and religious identities.

The Global Gardens Refugee Training farm uses agriculture as a means to help refugees feel closer to home (Nikita Mandhani/Medill)

The refugees actively get together to grow a variety of crops that form their staple diet, along with a few that they got acquainted with after coming to the U.S. Every family owns a plot where they grow daikon, bitter melon, mustard, broccoli, carrots, red and black beans and Swiss chard.

According to Seyler, most farmers use the produce for home cooking and a few also sell it at the market.

Photo on top: A refugee woman cleaning up her part of the global gardens farm area. (Nikita Mandhani/Medill)