Community gardens as psychosocial interventions for refugees and migrants: a narrative review

Ramburn, T. T., Wu, Y. M., & Kronick, R. (2023, aout)

International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care

Vol. 19/Num. 2



Community gardens are increasingly used as interventions during the resettlement of refugees and other migrants. Little is known about how garden programs might support their mental health and wellbeing. Given the links between climate change and forced migration, community gardens are especially relevant, as they can also support climate change mitigation. This study aims to document psychosocial outcomes of gardening programs for refugees and migrants, and mechanisms leading to these outcomes.


The authors searched major databases and the grey literature up to 2021, resulting in the inclusion of 17 peer-reviewed and 4 grey literature articles in a thematic, qualitative analysis.


Four consistent themes arose from the analysis: community gardening programs promoted continuity and adaptation (81% of articles), social connectedness (81%), overall wellbeing (95%) and a sense of meaning and self-worth (67%). The results suggest that community gardens can strengthen psychosocial pillars that are key to the recovery and resettlement of refugees and migrants. The land-based and social nature of community gardening may enable connections to the land and others, nurture a sense of belonging in the host country and provide a link to the past for those from agricultural backgrounds.

Research limitations/implications

Further participatory action research is needed to develop guidelines for the successful implementation of community gardens by resettlement organisations.


This review indicates that community gardens can be effective psychosocial interventions as part of a network of services supporting the resettlement of refugees and migrants.