Syrian refugees grow crops in old mattresses

Using old mattresses and a little water, Syrians in a refugee camp in Jordan grow healthy plants and fresh vegetables.

At Zaatari refugee camp in the Jordan desert, small oases of greenery now dot the landscape.

Plants are thriving despite the infertile land, thanks to water and some old mattresses.

Syrian refugees and the UNHCR worked with experts from the UK’s Sheffield University to develop a form of hydroponic farming using foam from old mattresses placed in small recycled cups.

The UNHCR says this method consumes 70-80 percent less water.

“The soil in Zaatari camp is not suitable for agriculture, so we decided to experiment with new technologies that will help the refugees, whereby they can use this process here, or when they return,” Hani Naser from the UNHCR said.

Zaatari refugee camp is home to almost 80,000 Syrian refugees.

More than 1,500 camp residents have already learned to use this method and started growing their own plants, including mint, tomatoes and cucumbers.

“I love this, especially since the process is technologically advanced, and the process is clean,” Ahmad Zoubi, a Syrian refugee, said. “Traditional agriculture is full of mud and sand, this is just water. We come clean, and we leave clean.”

This video was produced and edited by Al Jazeera NewsFeed’s Hassan Ghani.