Home Gardening news Flower and veg seeds sent to Syrian refugees

Flower and veg seeds sent to Syrian refugees

Syrian refugees at one of the Northern Iraqi camps. Picture; Mr Fothergill's
Syrian refugees at one of the Northern Iraqi camps. Picture; Mr Fothergill's

Mr Fothergill’s, The RHS and The Lemon Tree Trust join forces to help camps

Syrian refugees in Northern Iraq are to receive flower and veg seeds to brighten up their camps.

The 2,000 packets of seeds, from Mr Fothergill’s, will be going Domiz and five neighbouring camps.

This is the second year of a project (see here for more details) that was inspired by a WWI seed lift from the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) to British prisoners of war living in an internment camp in Germany.

Sent as part of a project set up by the RHS and The Lemon Tree Trust, the seeds were specially chosen for 200 Syrian families, who despite living in difficult circumstances, hope to gain some joy from the benefits of gardening.

A Syrian refugee child. Picture; Mr Fothergill's
A Syrian refugee child. Picture; Mr Fothergill’s

Harsh conditions

The list was made up of varieties that would bring colour to the camp and could be grown in the harsh conditions, including marigolds, sunflowers, peppers and cucumbers.

Seeds were also given to researchers of the University of Duhok as part of ongoing studies testing grey water success rates for both edibles and ornamentals.

Some 250 packets of seeds were used in garden starter kits for community gardens and schools in Mosul, Iraq.

The Lemon Tree Trust is transforming refugee camps, using gardening as a powerful therapeutic tool, addressing issues of isolation and mental health, producing beauty, belonging, food security and promising economic stimulation.

The Lemon Tree Garden. Picture; RHS/Neil Hepworth
The Lemon Tree Trust Garden at RHS Chelsea 2018. Picture; RHS/Neil Hepworth

Cultural identity

It pilots agricultural businesses and gardening initiatives in refugee communities, creating employment and restoring cultural identity, dignity and purpose.

Tim Jeffries, Mr Fothergill’s Commercial Director said: “We are absolutely delighted to be able to help out the RHS and The Lemon Tree Trust by donating seeds from our ranges.

“We hope that they will provide some pleasure for those living in the difficult conditions of the Domiz Camp.”

For more information about seeds, visit www.mr-fothergills.co.uk; on the Lemon Tree Trust’s activities, log on to https://lemontreetrust.org/.

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Mandy Watson is a freelance journalist and an incurable plantaholic. MandyCanUDigIt grew from the tiny seed of a Twitter account into the rainforest of information you see before you. Gardening columnist for the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail and editor of the Teesdale Mercury Magazine. Attracted by anything rebellious, exotic and nerdy, even after all these years. Passionate about northern England and gardens everywhere. Falls over a lot.

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