Syrian refugees help Saskatchewan food farm ‘do something for Canada’

The Star.com - Moose Jaw, SASK. - A number of Syrian refugees are helping out with a community harvest in Moose Jaw, Sask., saying it is a way of giving back to the country that has taken them in.

The second annual Mosaic Community Food Farm harvest is a collaboration between the potash mining company and advocacy groups such as Hunger in Moose Jaw, Riverside Mission, Moose Jaw and District Food Bank and Tree Canada.

The food farm, located in Moose Jaw’s Wakamow Valley, was created to help sustainably feed vulnerable populations in the city.

This season, it yielded just over 1,300 kg of potatoes and carrots, among other produce.

Celeste Geisbauer, Mosaic’s senior community investment specialist, says it’s been a real bonus to have the Syrian refugees take part and learn what kind of vegetables can be grown in Saskatchewan.

Farming is nothing new for refugee Mohammed Aboukhir.

“I have farmed in (Syria) before, and I worked more than 20 years - all week and weekend - at my farm,” said Aboukhir. “All my family likes to farm.”

Having arrived in Saskatchewan just six months ago, Aboukhir was eager to find ways to give back.

“Canada gave me a lot of things for me and my children,” he explained. “Now, (I’m trying) to do something for Canada.”

That’s a sentiment echoed by Ahmad Alkhaldi, who also comes from Syria.

“It’s very important for us at least to show the people that we are able to do something - make a difference,” said Alkhaldi.

He said being in the garden also reminds him of home.