Refuge Gardens in Greater Portland

MercyCorps NW

Photo Bruce MacGregor for Mercy Corps

At Refuge Gardens recent refugees are connected with land, supplies, and markets they need to improve their livelihoods through small-scale farming enterprise. We currently work with refugees from Burma and Bhutan. Read More


We provide refugee farmers with:

  • Land access
  • Business planning and market development
  • Financial assistance
  • Infrastructure, equipment, and supplies
  • Agricultural skill development (classes, hands-on workshops, and mentoring)

Refuge Garden Programs

  • Portland Grower’s Alliance and Community Supported Agriculture: In partnership with Grow Portland, we provide marketing support for new and refugee farmers. This effort is designed to help growers reach profitable direct market outlets like farmers markets and restaurants. Produce from the Growers Alliance is available for purchase in the summer and fall on Wednesdays at the Shermaski Farmers Market and Saturdays at the Portland State University Farmers Market..

  • Damascus Training Farm: Larry Thompson of Thompson Farm donates land to make this initiative successful. Refugee farmers work their own plots of land ranging in size from one-half to one acre. Mercy Corps Northwest and Thompson Farm are jointly investing in the infrastructure and equipment needed to develop the site.

  • Nepalese Gardens—Southeast Portland: We work with recent refugees from the countries of Nepal and Bhutan to develop urban market gardens.  These productive and profitable gardens are grown on reclaimed, overgrown land that is donated by private owners or vacant City of Portland lots. MCNW is the first nonprofit to secure land through Portland’s “Diggable Cities Project,” an effort to utilize vacant public land.   

  • Staff Contact

    Seth Belber, Program Manager
    P: (503) 896-5076  
    E: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)