by Rebekah Warren
For refugee children, fleeing from war and destruction, Trevecca’s urban farm camp can bring the comfort of home.
“Many of the refugees come from agricultural backgrounds,” said Karen Shaw, coordinator for the urban farm. “They come with skills they can use to make ends meet, and that’s the connection we want to make.”
During May and June, high school and middle school students living in the Nashville area will have the opportunity to learn how to care for farm animals, build a garden and learn about healthy cooking and eating.
The goal is that the kids attending the camps will develop a basic understanding of the importance of environmental justice for their local communities as well as the world.
“We want to educate and equip the broader global community,” said Jamie Casler, director of the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice.
This involves understanding the way the health of the environment is directly correlated to the health of entire populations and the potential of humans to alter the course of environmental destruction and injustice.
“We are hoping children will make the connection between the food they grow and equity for people,” said Jason Adkins, environmental projects coordinator.
In addition to the opportunity to use the skills they already have, refugee kids find the program to be healing, helping them recover from the trauma of leaving war-torn regions.
“They have all experienced displacement,” said Adkins.” We are convinced that the emotional and mental health of children is improved by being in the created world…it can be therapeutic.”
Shaw recalled the students from last summer who brought growing practices with them from their home countries, many of which were in the Middle East and Africa. They were often able to share the knowledge they had grown up practicing.
“Jason always asks, ‘how do you do this where you’re from?’ ” said Shaw. “We want refugees, especially those that come from agricultural backgrounds because we can learn from them.”
To learn more about the farm camps and register online, visit trevecca.edu/urbanfarm