As millions of Australians are experiencing lockdowns for the third time, it is possible that you are seeking comfort in the garden. For refugees and migrants living in Australia, gardening can be especially important when it’s shared with others in communal spaces.
But they aren’t all spaces of inclusiveness. As part of our newly released research, my coworkers and I examine the ways refugees and migrants aren’t able to enjoy community gardens and ways to make this change.
When gardens in community are inclusive of all and inclusive, everyone benefits. Communities with diverse communities can not only strengthen intercultural friendships but they also aid in learning how to be able to adjust to changes and the onset of crisis, for example the effects of climate change.
The advantages of community gardens
Lists of waiting lists to join community gardens can be very long in many regions of Australia as well as certain gardens that require an eight years of waiting. advocacy groups regularly demand more gardens and more financial aid to satisfy this demand.
This is the reason it’s vital to increase the opportunities for these gardeners and eliminate any barriers that prevent these gardeners from joining. Our study looked at studies from around the world on community gardens and discovered that the most common obstacles to the participation of refugees and migrants are based on three main areas:
The physical and material aspects of gardens
This is a result of high membership costs as well as the inability to easily get to gardens, and unsecure tenure of land.
Design of the site that restricts gardeners’ freedom and capacity to grow the same foods they are used to is a serious issue. This is often the case when there’s collective, not individual plots of cultivation, placing the pressure on gardeners who are new to plant food that is recognized by gardeners already in the area.
Another obstacle is insufficient space and smaller plot dimensions that make it difficult to cultivate important crops that are culturally significant, like maize.
Inclusion practices are not often included in information sharing or decision-making, for example, not transcribing information.
For instance, community gardens typically have formal meetings for management. However, these meetings might not consider diverse languages cultural customs, or different power relationships.
relying on community gardens to ensure food security is an issue for migrants and refugees, particularly for those who are new. The result is that gardens could end up being replaced by more comprehensive social programs.
Privileging particular values and aesthetics
The way we take care of gardens, and our ideas on how a successful garden will look, are typically dictated by whatever the cultural norm prevails. A uniform, well-groomed raised beds that are free of overhanging vegetation and weeds are frequently favored by councils that are risk-averse.
Gardening styles for refugees and migrants are often in conflict with accepted norms and values such as those. A lot of people are accustomed to growing directly in the soil and prefer to plant a broad assortment of plants in a single area, which might not look tidy but could improve the diversity of your garden. They could also create the space in order to increase yields.
This means that these accustomed, efficient, and suitable cultural methods of gardening that are appropriate for migrants and refugees could be viewed as devalued and discarded, as well as their abilities and experience.
Community gardens run by volunteer groups need to be given more resources. Shutterstock
It’s a good thing that that we can help make our community gardens inclusive and socially oriented. In order to do this, there has to be more funding from the government and local councils in the form of resources (including funding and land) for the mostly volunteers who are responsible for the development and management of these gardens.