“Garden Wall” helps Fayze support her family

“Garden Wall” helps Fayze support her family

12/07/2016

“We, the women of the Bekaa, love being productive and cannot stay idle,” says Fayze, a Lebanese widow and mother of five who has recently initiated a “garden wall” at her house in the village of Bar Elias.

Garden walls like Fayze’s were developed through a micro-gardening project implemented by FAO and the Lebanon Humanitarian Fund to improve the nutrition of Syrian refugees and host communities who did not have access to any arable land. This allowed them to grow vegetables and herbs vertically and with a quick turnaround.

Plastic boxes without structure

The walls are made from very cheap and readily available material such as used or discarded plastic crates or from recycled plastic. Each crate can be used to plant two consecutive vegetable crops per year and can also be used to grow a wide range of summer and winter vegetables that can be harvested throughout the year.

Fayze’s children are married and one of her sons is unemployed. Her difficult economic situation requires that she works to support her family and earn a living. She used to work in agriculture with her brothers-in-law. However, family problems that arose this year stopped her from continuing her job.

With vegetable seeds provided by FAO, Fayze has been able to benefit from the crops produced throughout Ramadan. “We have the tradition of preparing fatoush or tabboule for the iftar, and this year we are using our own in-house planted vegetables,” says Fayze, adding that the amount has been sufficient for her family.

Fayze decided to build on her previous agricultural experience and added new vegetables like cucumbers and lettuce to her micro-garden and also included various herbs like coriander, parsley, oregano, and dandelions.

Through the training that Fayze received on micro-gardening, she is now able to pass this knowledge on to her family. “I am teaching my daughters-in-law how to plant and I supervise them throughout the process. Now they can plant at their homes,” she says proudly.

Through this project, micro-gardens are producing much-needed food for women-headed households, particularly Syrian refugees and vulnerable Lebanese families living in host communities. Funded by the United Nations Office for Coordination and Humanitarian Affairs, beneficiaries included poor and vulnerable households living in Akkar, Tripoli, and the Bekaa.

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