Every year, thousands of refugees enter the United States. Conditions prior to resettlement, such as exposure to conflict, persecution, and loss, as well as conditions after resettlement, such as isolation and adjustment to a new culture, impact refugee mental health, economic security, and food security. Refugee access to land and resources for gardening has been shown to have quality of life benefits, including enhanced food security and mental health outcomes. This research brief summarizes the results of a recent study that examined how community gardening may reduce food insecurity and adverse mental health among refugees living in Central New York. Findings demonstrate that refugee gardening positively impacts mental health, food security, and feelings of connection with refugee communities.

Document Type

Research Brief


Refugee Health, Mental Health, Gardening, Food Studies


Community Health | Food Studies | Mental and Social Health | Public Health






This project would not have been possible without the time and willingness of the research participants and cooperating organizations, The Salt City Harvest Farm and Refugee and Immigrants Self-Empowerment (RISE), as well as the generous funding and support from the Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion & Population Health and the Fahs-Beck Foundation. We are grateful for student support from our team of student research assistants, Anna Zoodsma, Dr. Shaelise Tor, Dominique Walker, Zhihan Su, and Claudine Lucena. We thank Alexandra Punch and Shannon Monnat for editing previous versions of this brief.


Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion & Population Health and the Fahs-Beck Foundation.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.