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Gardens Grow, People Thrive: The Importance of Urban Farming

Friday, November 18, 2016 6:50
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As the Urban Agriculture Coordinator at University of Maryland Extension, Prince George’s County, I learned the importance of food every day.

By Michelle Nelson
Maryland Humanities
Nov 9, 2016


Every day, I watched as Bhutanese and Cameroonian refugees report to the garden at 8 AM or sometimes earlier to tend to their gardens, anticipating a yield to feed their families and beyond. My favorite stories of the garden are about a Bhutanese elder in his seventies named Jamuna. When I met Jamuna, she could not speak English very well. She would affectionately speak to me in Nepali like an aunt speaks to her niece, but I often struggled to understand or respond.

I would smile in agreement, hoping the abundance of produce she always gave me was a display of appreciation and love. Her children would tell me stories about her transition to the United States; how she experienced multiple health issues and struggled to adjust to a new country far away from home. I believe the garden somehow rejuvenated her joy and continues to gives her strength.

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