Volunteer your muscles and get dirty! The Jolly Ave Garden always has needs in the following areas: spreading mulch, painting, small carpentry projects, plumbing, repairs, digging, tree removal, plowing and tilling, planting and beautifying.

Check out the link below to get a tour of the Garden from a local family:
Tour the Jolly Avenue Community Garden

About the Garden:

Since 2009, FOR has hosted the Jolly Avenue Community Garden on land owned by a FOR board member and donor. The garden is operated by 77 refugee gardener families, and coordinated by a Friends of Refugees staff. The Jolly Avenue Community Garden is a collaborative garden which allows refugee members to grow their own food and till their own land. The Garden is conveniently located within walking distance of several apartment complexes where most of the members live. We share approximately 1/3 of an acre, which is divided into 30 family plots, sized about 6’ x 20’. The vegetables grown here are a combination of familiar varieties (Silverqueen corn, okra, squash) and varieties popular in the countries in which our members lived (Malaysian eggplants, Thai peppers, various greens). Garden members come regularly throughout the season to tend their plots, enjoy the scenery and chat with neighbors around the cooking fire-pit.

In 2012 the Garden grew in size! The house and land that sits next door to the Jolly Avenue Community Garden property was bought by a generous couple who are donating the back half of their land to be used for more plots. This extra acreage will add 30 more family plots to the Garden!

Why Gardening?

When refugees come to America, they bring with them a great wealth of gardening and farming expertise. Unfortunately, being re-settled into urban areas has not often provided opportunities for them to practice their trade. But with the recent surge in enthusiasm for urban gardening, refugees are emerging as leaders in this new-old endeavor.

While we entertain some dreams of sustainable agriculture and small-scale agri-business production, we take great satisfaction in our primary garden product: Community. Nothing says “friendship” like working alongside each other, learning from one another’s techniques, and sharing space together in a collaborative and creative way. And nothing says “dignity” like having access to a piece of land and being free to do with it what you like.

Many have observed that gardening can be powerful therapy for those who have experienced trauma and psychological pain. We have such hopes for our friends who are gardening with us.