Collective garden "Rizq El Wafq"
Since April 2020, Buzuruna Juzuruna has been supporting a community garden in Saadnayel. By the end of 2019, 20 families from the village, both Syrian and Lebanese had been outreached by our team, following a wide range of criterion (vulnerability and inability to access land; availability to participate to all trainings and commit to work in the garden; geographic proximity to ensure a smooth coordination between us…)
For a year, BuJu had organized three training cycle in parallel, one cycle on agro-ecology with 35 days of practical and theoretical training (integrated pest management, crop rotation and diversification, natural fertilizers, seed extraction, etc) ; one cycle on all the processing techniques, from the garden’s products (conservation and sterilization techniques, jams, pickles, bread making, use of aromatics and flowers, etc) ; and one cycle for children of the families, with educational activities on environment, gardening, etc.
To prevent the complicated relationship between such groups, including Syrian families, and landlords; BuJu has rented a 1ha (10dn) land on its own name, 5mn away from our own farm. Thanks to a support from Orienthelfer/BMZ, BuJu was able to provide the collective garden with all the long term equipments needed (irrigation system and water pump; tools; shading structure and toilets, etc) and the agricultural inputs for their season (seeds, seedlings, natural fertilizers and pesticides).
Then, from April 2020 and ever since, each family engaged in the garden has its own parcel of 500m2, in which they are free to plant whatever varieties they want. A series of workshops has been organized with the families so that they build together a common charter of use. It includes the agroecology principles that one has to follow to be part of the garden, but also ways of entering or exiting the collective, ways to share the common tasks and tools, aside from the family parcels. The workshops also allowed them to find a name for the garden: Rizq el Wafq ! (which could be roughly translated by The subsistence coming from the cooperation)
The first season had extremely positive results, which has motivated the families to continue together. In 4 months (june-sept 20), more than 13 tons of vegetables have been harvested (+600kg per family) which allowed them to feed family and neighbors, prepare jars for winter and even, in some cases, to start selling the surplus in local shops.
Garden in the camps
Since its very beginning in 2016, Buzuruna Juzuruna has implemented different projects to support families living in refugee camps all over Lebanon, by supporting the construction and follow-up of family vegetable gardens.
The first attempts were done in 2016 in different refugee camps in Beqaa, with the support of Soils Permaculture; SyrianEyes and MercyCorps.
Then, between 2017 and 2019, Buzuruna Juzuruna was the main partner of Amel Association International to carry out a national-scale food security project.
The latter project has benefited to 475 families, both Lebanese and Syrian households (60%-40%). The families were outreach amongst the most vulnerable ones by Amel professional social workers, in the area located near their Primary Health Care Center: 100 families in Ersal (Hermel), 100 families in El Ain (Hermel) ; 75 families in Kamed el Loz (West Beqaa), 100 families in Khiam-Marjayoun (South Lebanon) and 100 families around Saadnayel (Central Beqaa).
Each family, either in the village or in refugee camps benefited from the construction of a small vegetable gardens (8m2 to 50m2); with a minimum of 14 days of training on agroecology (compost, integrated pests management, crops rotation and diversification, etc); and days of practical work to install the garden (work the soil, install a fence and irrigation system) and plant it. Each family received the necessary agricultural inputs, all produced by Buzuruna Juzuruna: a set of seeds and seedlings, natural pesticides and fertilizers for each season.
Since 2019 and the end of the project; BuJu team has maintained a strong link with the families previously involved in the project. Every year since, in May and September of each year, our team goes back to the different locations to follow up on the gardens, take news from the families and distribute additional sets of seeds and seedlings.