Our first experimental farm is well underway on the rooftop of ‘Jadal for Knowledge and Culture’ in Amman. Jadal is an initiative that offers an open space, where cultural activities and knowledge sharing fuse to evoke and spread new societal values. Sharing a similar mindset and vision makes it a great meeting point for all people that are interested in the project. On Jadal’s roof, the ideas of our future installations become reality. By reconstructing the existing shacks we were able to build two greenhouses, of which one provides shelter for non-season-related plants while the other one is home to hydroponic cultivation – a method to grow plants with nutrient water instead of soil. Deep-rooted and wide spreading vegetables like pumpkins, courgettes, carrots and rhubarb are planted in large wooden boxes that are placed on upcycled palettes. Each box is provided with a self-constructed watering system that maintains efficient irrigation and limits the evaporation of water on the wicking bed. Herbs such as za’atar, mint and sage are planted in the vertical garden. This installation promises easy harvesting, saves space and bears load by hanging the soil-filled boxes on the wall. In order to keep up the high standard of environmental friendly farming, we built an organic compost installation that provides nourishing soil and extracted juice that is used as natural fertilizer, also known as ‘compost tea’. A large wooden table with a comfortable seating area and creative light installations are meant to round off the green hideaway. Enriched with the experience of building our first rooftop farm we are better equipped to avoid future obstacles and make the design and building process for the implementation in camp areas more efficient and cost-saving.
Jadal is an initiative that offers an open space, where cultural activities and knowledge sharing fuse to evoke and spread new societal values. The project aims at encouraging creativity, innovation and collective activities that benefit the community. It also creates a space for self-exploration, questioning, sharing skills and experiences, critical discussions, reflection and artistic expression. The space is situated in one of the old houses in Amman, loved for its unique architecture, dating back to 1933, located on al Kalha stairs, connecting Downtown, the busy old heart of the city and Jabal L’Weibdeh, a neighbourhood bursting with ambitious start-ups and creative initiatives.
Since its opening in 2012, Jadal for Knowledge and Culture has been hosting various discussions, lectures, exhibitions for debuting artists, concerts and jam sessions. It has also been a space for different workshops and courses based on communal sharing of artistic/linguistic skills and knowledge. Some of Jadal’s activities are regular, such as the monthly International Dinner and the weekly Discussion Saloon, where a wide range of topics related to humanity, science, nature and society are discussed. Thanks to the diversity and the depth of its content, Jadal has become a safe space for different people and communities such as students, urban refugees, expatriates, artists, thinkers, activists.
“Jadal has a weird attraction on me. It is this kind of space you encounter very rarely in a lifetime. Jadal is this thing that doesn’t open and close at certain hours. Jadal is a concept, an idea that breathes life. That breathes future. A common future in which anyone willing can participate. It is so much at once, and yet so pure at the same time. It breathes an atmosphere of openness and appreciation. Jadal is this place that captures and inhibits your brains and heart and guides your feet through the maze of the city to its front door. In my naïveté I would wish every society to have its Jadal. But in all honesty, I believe there are few places on earth that deserve Jadal more than this city. The very existence of Jadal is one of the foundations of the growth of Greening The Camps. And in turn, it is an indescribable pleasure to be able to add our story to the book of Jadal.“
Machiel Van Nieuwenhove
“On my first day in Jordan, Machiel took me to Jadal and opened the door to a creative space that tackles important and often ignored challenges in our society. I was inspired by the endless enthusiasm and devotion that everybody brings to this cultural refuge. Jadal is a warm-hearted space where everyone is unique but feels welcome from the very first moment they walk in. Being part of their family is truly a blessing for us.”
“Since we started working on the rooftop in January 2017, Jadal has pretty much become my second home. From the start the Jadal family has been nothing else but welcoming, and has provided us with all the room we need to fulfill our first step in Greening The Camps, by letting us be completely free in building the rooftop garden at Jadal. Providing room for people with creative ideas, being a safe haven, where people can be themselves, and making people feel welcome and part of the ‘family’ is what makes Jadal special to me. My fondest memories during my stay in Jordan were made at Jadal, and I am grateful and proud to be part of this family.”
Joric Docters van Leeuwen
Ala’a Ziadeh started this project as reaction to the huge amount of waste that people are consciously and unconsciously throwing on the street. His vision is to give imperfect or broken objects and pieces a new life with a little bit of effort and creativity. His team is convinced that up-cycling and recycling can lead to a more responsible and respectful ecological lifestyle. “Imagine how pleasant your interior could be with simple, ecological and cheap recycled objects. Let’s bet that we can change anything you give us into useful and beautiful house decorations.”
The reuse of material stems from the need to raise awareness about earthcare and environmental issues. Recycling also calls for creativity and offers nearly unlimited possibilities. This is the reason why we were happy to connect with Ala’a Ziadeh, who shares the same mindset and ideas. We did not only receive important resources such as wood and glass bottles, but there was also the possibility to use tools from his workshop. We believe that working together with creative entrepreneurs is crucial for the development of our project.
PIECES OF WOOD