As a resident of Lincoln since 1999, Lamya has been involved with Community Crops two separate times, with her plot now flourishing in the 18th and F Garden. “I love gardening,” Lamya relates. She says that most of the time when she goes to her plot, not many people are there, and she enjoys “getting close to the earth.” However, her interactions with other gardeners have been helpful to her, especially in terms of learning to adjust to a different climate and type of soil. She admits that it takes more effort to make food grow here than it did in the Middle East, especially during dry periods when the soil gets hard.
I love gardening. I don’t know, getting close to the earth. It’s something that I was doing when I was a child.
Lamya and her family lived as refugees in Iraq before moving back to Iran and then to Pakistan. In the Middle East, Lamya remembers gardening with her family, which contributes to her continued interest in gardening: “It’s something that I was doing when I was a child, so I think it takes me back to the childhood, when I was helping my dad and all in the big garden that we had at home.” Lamya continues to include her family in her gardening, with her sister sometimes joining her to help in the plot, and with her sharing extra produce with her mother and sisters.
I know a lot of refugees are gardening and they have been doing that for a long time since the community crops started. They’re very helpful to the refugees.
Reflecting on the role of Community Crops in Lincoln, Lamya comments on the role of Community Crops with Lincoln’s refugee populations: “I know a lot of refugees are gardening and they have been doing that for a long time since the Community Crops started. They’re very helpful to the refugees. And especially the refugee community, when they come to the country they cannot afford buying a house or having their own garden, so this is a good opportunity for them to feel like back home, because most of them come from villages and areas where you plant your own herbs at least. Because back home they eat a lot of fresh herbs.”
If someone is interested in gardening and planting, it’s a very fun thing to do and it will help your family to eat healthy food, at least in summer.
Due to the various cultural influences in Lamya’s culinary life, she comments that her recipes are pretty diverse. “All my recipes are from back home,” Lamya says. She enjoys being able to use the fresh food from her garden plot to continue creating unique recipes that blend Indian spices with Iranian dishes. She plans to keep gardening with Community Crops in future growing seasons: “It’s a very fun thing to do and it will help your family to eat healthy food, at least in summer. It’s a big thing here in town that we can have Community Crops.”
Story courtesy of Emily Rau.