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Jerash camp vision



Greening The Camps is a non-profit organisation that designs, develops, builds and maintains rooftop gardens in Palestinian refugee camps. The project is driven by our passion for environment and earthcare and our understanding of urban design and its toolsets. Sharing and gathering knowledge, as well as creating a truly sustainable livelihood are closely linked with our devotion to enrich impoverished urban and camp areas. The multi-layered process is, on every level, guided by the ideas and desires of the local community with whom we work. Through reconnecting displaced communities with food production from urban agricultural practices, we try to create opportunities for local empowerment and economic development. 

Omwas garden
Jerash camp planting
Logo shirt private garden
Urban agriculture pepper

Urban Agriculture

Urban agriculture


Urban agriculture is the cultivation of plants and animals in an urban environment. This form of agriculture is strongly integrated in and intertwined with the urban social, economic and ecological system. Agriculture in an urban environment provides physical and psychosocial benefits for urban residents. Urban debris, such as organic waste and wastewater, are deployed and up-cycled as valuable resources. This form of agriculture addresses consumers and incorporates them in the decision making process. It transforms the passive consumer into an active producer, who becomes aware of the intransparent food industry. Urban agriculture has a direct impact on urban ecology, resulting in a growing biodiversity. This in turn creates a healthier living environment. A majority of contemporary city dwellers have lost their relationship with their food supply. The distance between locations of food production and consumption has resulted in the art of growing and harvesting healthy crops being lost. This displaced affiliation has an even more damaging impact on the climate and vulnerable ecosystems. Urban agriculture becomes an essential part of the urban food system and propagates the creation of a circular economy where resources, produce and waste don’t leave the urban environment. Hence, it minimizes the contributors’ footprints in terms of transportation, food and water wastage. Urban agriculture is about more than food; it approaches sustainability, health and social justice, reflects on scarce resources and the empowerment of communities.

seed planting Jerash camp

Future Food / Future City x Amman Design Week


Future food Future city overview


Future Food/Future City is an open-air demonstration of possibility; an imagined future for the city’s public spaces, and a re-examined illustration of how our rooftops, gardens, streets, and schools could be transformed into green spaces that bring communities together and transform livelihoods. It introduces a holistic approach that tackles different parts of the food chain; the way food is grown, processed, transported, consumed, reused, and recycled. 


The swiftly evolving food technologies of hydroponics, aquaponics, and aeroponics are revolutionizing the way we produce our food and utilize and interpret our cities and countrysides. The exhibition engages audiences in a leap into the future with the use of digital tools, as well as a return to past artisanal rituals, common resources, and agricultural practices of organic farming and permaculture. 


Text by Amman Design Week,Video by Labiba Productions


Amman Design Week
What is Amman Design Week?


Amman Design Week is an annual immersive experience in local and regional design and culture. Focused on creating a forum for learning, exchange and collaboration, this platform empowers designers through its comprehensive program of large-scale curated exhibitions, workshops, talks, and events.


Amman Design Week offers a platform to designers and creatives to showcase their work and connect with other designers, audiences, and opportunities. We believe in talent development and providing the support required to create a favorable ecosystem for local designers and their work to create an impact.




Under the theme of Possibilities, the designers behind Greening The Camps created several modular system structures, used as information booths and food kiosks, which were reused as urban rooftop farms in Gaza Camp, Jerash.


Funded by Investbank and supported by Yasamin Landscape and Gardening.




As a continuation to the Future Food / Future City showcase at Amman Design Week 2019, Greening the Camps’ pieces were moved to the Gaza Refugee Camp in Jerash and were repurposed as farming and food growing booths. 



To assure a fruitful implementation of the project, the families were closely involved in the building process and participate in educative workshops about urban farming and plant care. 



Photos by Arthur Delarge

Help us grow!



Since November we devoted ourselves and our personal resources to the creation of Greening The Camps. Establishing awareness about the topics descibed on our website and connecting with like-minded people in Jordan has encouraged us to start exploring the next phase. Within the next 6 months our goal is to implement the urban farming project in Jerash Refugee Camp. Working together with displaced families that have little to no extra resources, we are aware of the need to source new funding in order to both achieve our goals and assure the sustainability of the project. Crowdfunding allows us to directly implement our ideas into a successful practice, whilst providing us the freedom to implement our vision according to our experience, our beliefs and our best knowledge. With the collected funds we seek to reimburse our pilot project in Amman and cover the costs of two rooftop gardens in Gaza Camp. Despite our ambition to use as much recycled material as possible, we are aware of limited resources in the campsite. That’s the reason why we will still face expenses for fixing material (screws, nails, binding wire), organic seeds and bigger investments such as sun boilers, water tanks and rainwater harvesting installations. Especially the water scarcity forces us to calculate a financial buffer to outbalance a certain period of drought. Our teamwork and our belief in the philosophy and purpose of this project and its potential and ability to change the mindset of a society is our fuel to make it a success. We warmly welcome you to be part of this.

Crowdfunding campaign August 22 – September 23 2017


 Spread the word with #greeningthecamps
team logo



Evi Hellebaut

Co-Founder, Designer & Media Manager


27, Belgium, Architect and Warm-Hearted Soul


Reborn as Daisy

This project creates a necessary awareness about the poor conditions in the region. Working actively together with a community on topics that are dear to me is a very enriching experience. Positively improving women’s and youth’s self esteem by creating a green open space where they can develop themselves, building on a more sustainable way of living and creatively working together on a greener environment and a healthier diet are challenging but rewarding.

Machiel van Nieuwenhove

Co-Founder, Creative Manager & Designer


27, Belgium, Architect and Designer


Reborn as Mulberry tree

Greening the camps is an idea that got out of control. It is a dream that has become practice. It is a realisation of theory and research by design. Imagined by the brains and built by the hands of many volunteers, this incremental project carries a tangible vision for a green and common future of plenty for all.

Marwa Ershaidat

Project Manager


30, Jordan / Turkey / France, Mama Bear and Feminist


Reborn as Almond Flower

The project is necessary for our physical and mental health, but also for our survival. It’s part of a long-term vision of the future that we can embrace. The environment is as much a priority as political issues and conflicts in the region. Plants are alive, like us, and we need to take care of them like we take care of ourselves and each other. “Don’t forget to drink water and get some sun because you’re basically a plant with more complicated emotions”.

Yazan Abozaineddin

Field Coordinator & Carpenter


22, Jordan, Handicraftsman



Reborn as Walnut Tree

This project is pushing me one step away from a system that is destroying our beautiful earth. And moving forward to push this system away from it.

Murad Salameh

Agricultural Specialist & Designer


27, Jordan, Architect



Reborn as Oak Tree

Greening the Camps is a magical journey with other living things, a journey of survival and change.

Joric Docters van Leeuwen



28, Netherlands, Adventurer and Viking


Reborn as European searocket

What is really important for me in this project is awareness. By building the first garden in Amman we were able to attract a lot of volunteers, who were in Jordan just to spend their holiday. Some of them also joined us to Jerash Camp, and some of them decided to come back after their holiday to volunteer for longer periods. To see people whose first priority was having a good time during their holiday give up some time to help us build these green spaces and opening themselves up to learn more about people’s situations in the camp has been an amazing motivator for me in this project.

Kristina Kaghdo



30, Syria / Lithuania, Jadal Team Member



Reborn as Magnolia Tree

“Earth doesn’t belong to us, we belong to Earth.”

Reem Kiwan

Project Officer


22, Palestine, Student



Reborn as Blue Jasmine

This project provides open work space for many people and it made me passionate about plants because of its simplicity in creating a useful green space.

Jule Elsäßer

Architectural Intern


21, Germany, Goofball



Reborn as Lotus Flower

Greening the camps is from people for people. Awesome people from all over the world come together and move rocks to bring greenery into concrete jungles, to give people an opportunity and happiness. Back to the roots, plant your own food and you’ll know what matters in life: healthy plant, healthy you.

Fadi Amireh

Founder Jadal 


36, Jordan, Founder of Jadal



Reborn as Marijuana Plant

This project is a revolution. It’s one of the effective ways to overcome capitalism, become producers instead of consumers, live green and healthy.

Greta Aigner

Content Creator


23, Germany, Student and Wordplay Addict



Reborn as Magnolia Tree

I fell in love with the project, because it succeeds in reviving the cultivation of own crops while combining ordinary methods with modern forms of urban agriculture and reusing material that people consider as garbage. The full engagement of the community makes this project unique. Accompanying families from the construction of the garden over harvesting the first vegetables to finally cooking delicious recipes creates space where volunteers and inhabitants meet on equal footing to share knowledge and experience.

Laurenz Vanbekbergen

Intern Sustainable Development


23, Belgium,Education Generalist & Traveler



Reborn as African Savannah Tree

When I first read about the project I was immediately motivated. At that time I was searching for an internship within the context of sustainable development and this project seemed perfect. Machiel, Joric and Evi seem like friendly and motivated entrepreneurs and I could immediately start working. A healthy workplace where there’s room for creativity.


Farah Abdel Jawas – Volunteer
Rana Abdel-Hamid – Volunteer
Aisha Alseddiq – Volunteer
Nada Atieh – Volunteer 
Malek J. Al-Raggad – Volunteer  
Diana Al-Zubi – Volunteer 
Dina Amro – Volunteer
Pavel Borecky – Volunteer 
Tayler Bunchan – Volunteer
Sky Emerald – Architectural Intern
Martina Fabris – Architectural Intern 
Ala’a Khoury – Sandmaster
Hannes Hellebaut – Volunteer
Kelly Heuten – Volunteer 
Gina Hu – Volunteer
Anne Katrine Jensen – Volunteer 
Michael Kegyes – Volunteer 
Sophy Levy – Grant Writer
Tatiana Meijer-Lippert – Volunteer
Zayd Mseis – Volunteer 
Anas Mubaideen – Video-editor
Geronimo Ominoreg – Volunteer 
Christina Pianca – Volunteer

Tina Pinxten – Volunteer 
Christian Promberger – Volunteer 
Lennert Rasking – Volunteer 
Mariam Rukundo – Volunteer
Waleed Sheikh Yassin – Volunteer
Lipace Su – Volunteer
Saif Yousif – Jadal Team
Omar Tarefi – Volunteer 
Lennart Van Nieuwenhove – Volunteer
Emmanuel Van Oost – Volunteer
Mohammed Zakaria – Camera Operator

Jerash Camp view mosque

Gaza Camp – Jerash

Gaza Camp

Jerash, Jordan  

Jerash Camp, locally known as Gaza Camp, is one of ten officially recognised Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan. It is situated in the north of the country, a one-hour drive from Amman and close to the Syrian border. Since its establishment in 1968 it has steadily grown to a size that provides shelter for more than 29. 000 Palestinian refugees today. The campsite is part of the Jerash Governorate, the smallest of the 12 Jordanian Governorates. It includes 22 villages and two Palestinian refugee camps: Gaza Camp and Souf Camp. According to statistics gathered by the FaFo Institute for Applied International Studies in 2013, Jerash Camp counts as one of the poorest camps in Jordan having more than 50 % of Palestinians living below the national poverty line of JD 814 per year. Only 12 % of refugees are covered by health insurance. When analysing the natural environment one notices that the dense concrete fabric of the refugee camp lacks the necessary fertile lands. This scarcity of green space in combination with a threatening shortage of water in the region has caused a severe disconnection of the current generation with agriculture. Rooftop gardens address this directly by inserting a green oasis where a family or community can grow its own food provision, find rest and foster their connection with nature.

Unemployment (Women)
Inhabitants live under the national poverty line
Health Insurance

Cultural Heritage

Farming roots in Palestinian Culture


For more than thousand years agriculture and farming has been a crucial part of Palestinian culture. It is seen as an integral component of peoples’ communal, cultural, economic and social life. Hence, it is all the more staggering to observe the on-going systematic alienation of the Palestinian farmer from the land and the increasing disappearance of agriculture while the service industry is rapidly growing. Beside the fact that familiar phenomena like urbanisation and globalisation contributed to a growing rural exodus, the disconnection of land as a sustainable resource has further been accelerated by the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Since the 1950’s, water restrictions in Palestinian territories have been a major challenge for the agricultural sector. The scarcity of water forced farmers to reduce the plant diversity and focus on crops that could prosper with less irrigation such as olive and palm trees. Since the dispute has been characterized by the struggle over land/territorial sovereignty, it had also a major impact on the distribution of fertile land. Over time many Palestinian farmers faced restricted access to or significant loss of their land due to Israeli nature reserves, military zones and settlements that were established on the farming fields.

Uncertain living conditions and unpromising perspectives in the agricultural sector forced many Palestinians to reorientate themselves within the service field that promised higher salaries as part of the Israeli economic integration and containment policies.

What do we want to achieve?


Greening the Camps wants to reconnect local communities with their cultural heritage of farming. One of our aims is to create awareness of the distance between the locations of food production and consumption in order to stop the on-going alienation of organic produce. With this in mind, the rooftop garden is the beginning of a self-sufficient economy that is created and maintained by manual work. To work with recycled material, to make use of biological compost to fertilize and the permanent reuse of wastewater is part of our vision to contribute to an environmental sustainability. Furthermore, the rooftop gardens should be a space for ideas and creativity – a tiny green oasis where the family can grow its own food provision, find rest and a refuge to escape the daily routine.


Women & Youth
Engagement of the Community


One of our main visions is the permanent engagement of the local community in the campsite. Through reconnecting displaced communities with food production from urban agricultural practices, we try to create opportunities for local empowerment, economic development and healthier diet. Our aim is to design, build and maintain urban farms closely together with families that desire to turn their rooftops into green surfaces. Within the building and running process of rooftop gardens, we strive for a closed circular system where resources and produce don’t leave the cycle. In order to establish a circular economy, we focus on recycling and reusing material considered as waste and outbalance the resource scarcity with adjusted installations, such as rain water harvesters or solar boilers. Inside the community we decided to focus especially on working with women, youth and children. The project should empower them to explore and develop their talents, to improve their food-security and general livelihood. Furthermore, the rooftop gardens should serve as a safe-haven and refuge from the daily routine while providing a working space for socially and economically disadvantaged groups excluded by society.


Sprouting Interest


An important part of our work will be the organisation of workshops that vary in type (e.g. lecture and practical courses such as planting and cooking), size (family, friends or community) and social groups (special events to focus on women, youth and children). To be more precise, the seminars encompass lectures about alternative forms of farming and the importance of biodiverse planting as well as practical courses about recycling processes and other cost-saving strategies to reuse material. In order to close the cycle of food production, we will organize cooking courses with recipes that are adapted to the cultivated crops from the roof. Here, it must be underlined that once families have gained experience and gathered knowledge about urban farming, we want to empower women and youth to take leading roles as teachers in the workshops. By organizing these events we do not only want to link people with similar mindsets within the community and offer space to be creative together, but also foster the exchange between volunteers and refugees.

APN (2017). The 3rd Million Trees Campaign (MTC III). http://apnature.org/en/content/3rd-million-trees-campaign-mtc-iii. Last Accessed 13 July 2017.

Pinxten, T./Rasking, L./Van Niewenhove, M./Van Oost, E. (2015). Towards a territorial and urban integration of Gaza Camp (Jordan). The main road as mediating figure. Leuven: KU Leuven, Department of Architecture. p. 21-24.

UNCTAD (2015). The Besieged Palestinian Agricultural Sector. www.unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/gdsapp2015d1_en.pdf. Last Accessed 13 July 2017.

UNRWA (2016). Where we work. https://www.unrwa.org/where-we-work/jordan. Last Accessed 13 July 2017.

UNRWA (2013). Insights into the socio-economic conditions of Palestinian refugees in Jordan. https://www.unrwa.org/resources/reports/insights-socio-economic-conditions-palestinian-refugees-jordan. Last Accessed 13 July 2017.


Pilot Project

Jadal for Knowledge and culture


at work

Belgian Ambassador’s Residence

 Showcase Rooftop garden – Crowdfunding

Gaza Camp

Jerash & Community work

Pilot Project – Amman



Our first experimental farm is hosted on the rooftop of ‘Jadal for Knowledge and Culture’ in Amman. Since January 2017 the garden has been our laboratory for new designs and innovating ideas. On Jadal’s roof, the ideas of our installations become reality.

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.

Sharing a similar mindset and vision makes it a great meeting point for all people that are interested in the project.


Jadal – Knowledge and Culture
What is Jadal for Knowledge and Culture?


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.


What does Jadal do?


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.

What does Jadal mean to us?

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.”

Evi Hellebaut
Jadal greenhouse
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