Located in the area around the Vocational training center, the garden functions as both a supplemental source of food for the boarding house as well as an opportunity for residents to gain hands-on experience. Students plant and care for tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, squash, eggplant, fava and green beans, bell peppers, hot peppers, and other seasonal vegetables and herbs. The garden also includes six grape vines, seven olive trees, lemon trees and fig trees.

The garden project, which began in 2008, empowers the women to take initiative in planting, caring for, and using the vegetables from the garden. When the harvest of some vegetables is too large for consumption by the Center, extra produce such as pumpkins and squash are sold to neighbors in the community. Sameera Alqam, a long time resident, enjoys working regularly in the garden. “I spend time every day collecting grape leaves for stuffing or tomatoes to make tabbouleh.”

The garden program provides practical training for the women at the center, many of whom come from rural or agrarian backgrounds. Despite the wide variety of produce currently grown in the garden, some of the space remains under-utilized, and there are plans to expand the garden to the back of the building and to build a small greenhouse.

Tomatoes Gardening