Refugees from around the world grow urban gardens



Down a busy Baltimore street, hidden behind an unassuming storefront, Joyce Kedan visits an urban garden


… filled with fruits and vegetables from across the globe.

SOUNDBITE 1 Joyce Kedan (woman), refugee from South Sudan, age 32, (Sudanese dialect, 7 sec):

“When I come here and grow these things, I feel very happy and positive. And I think of home.”

Home was what is now known as South Sudan but she fled during the country’s bloody civil war. Then last year, she and her children moved to Baltimore where she is now a gardener at New Roots. It’s a non-profit that helps refugees grow food-- providing a link with tastes and smells from back home.

SOUNDBITE 2 Joyce Kedan (woman), refugee from South Sudan, age 32, (Sudanese dialect, 8 sec):

“I used to farm in the refugee camp in Uganda and some of those vegetables and foods, I can’t find them in the markets here.”

For refugees from war-torn countries like Burma, Iraq, and Sudan, New Roots is not only about hard to find ingredients and saving money on groceries.

SOUNDBITE 3 Aliza Sollins (woman), Community Garden Specialist, New Roots

“The great thing about the community gardening program is that it provides a lot of different aspects of support for the gardeners// It is not only a place to grow food. But also is a social place and healing place for people to come and do something different.”

(NAT SOUND: “I like this flower, just for the smell”)

Nidaa Haseeb Al Dafrawi was an avid gardener before she left her home in Iraq where she was kidnapped and robbed. Now in the US, she is growing eggplants and tomatoes to make a traditional spiced rice dish called Maklouba.

SOUNDBITE 4 Nidaa Haseeb Al Dafrawi (woman), refugee from Iraq, age 70

“It is very delicious cooking. And very soon I will make this kind of cooking for everybody here//Anything possible makes me think of my home, of course, anything, but i decide to live here and i enjoy to live in America. I want to be a good citizen.

And for Nidaa, that starts with growing fragrant herbs like rosemary and basil, and giving them all away.

(NAT SOUND: “here, take these, take these”)




-PAN Joyce Kedan walks down the street

-CU Joyce Kedan walks in the door of the Baltimore Orientation Center

-WIDE Joyce Kedan works in the garden


-VAR Joyce Kedan picking carrots

-VAR New Roots mural


-VAR refugees visiting the New Roots garden

-MID Joyce works in the garden


-VAR Nidaa Haseeb Al Dafrawi at her flower bed in the New Roots garden


-CU Nidaa Haseeb Al Dafrawi's face

-VAR Nidaa Haseeb Al Dafrawi picking herbs