Garden Market


Garden Market

Amidst the aftermath of the devastating Beirut Blast in 2020 and the ongoing crises plaguing Lebanon, the Municipality of Beirut found itself struggling to manage one of the city’s few public gardens. Consequently, the garden remained closed for an extended period, depriving the local community of a vital recreational space and further exacerbating the challenges faced by residents amidst the turmoil. However, in a testament to the resilience and resourcefulness of the Lebanese people, local citizens decided to take matters into their own hands.

Faced with the prospect of an underutilized urban area and a desire to foster community cohesion while addressing pressing social and environmental issues, these proactive individuals embarked on a transformative journey. They envisioned a future where the public garden could be revitalized through a community-led approach, integrating principles of livelihood enhancement, social cohesion, and self-sustainability.

Presently, the Jesuit Garden Neighborhood Group (JGNG) stands as a beacon of hope and progress in the heart of Beirut. Through a series of innovative initiatives and collaborative efforts, the group has succeeded in breathing new life into the once-neglected public space. Central to their endeavors are the Garden Market, a vibrant monthly event supporting local businesses and fostering a sense of community pride, and Sobiyhe gatherings, where residents come together to share updates and strengthen social bonds over coffee and treats.

Furthermore, the JGNG’s involvement in weekly and monthly activities at the Jesuit Public Garden and Assabil Association has been instrumental in promoting community engagement and environmental stewardship. These activities, which range from walking clubs to composting initiatives, not only serve to beautify the garden and its surroundings but also empower residents to take ownership of their shared spaces.

Thanks to the support received from the Sustainable Job Integration Project (SJIP), the JGNG has been able to realize its vision more effectively. With a significant grant of $20,000, the group kickstarted various projects aimed at restoring the garden, organizing community events, and implementing sustainable practices such as composting. The success of these initiatives is evident in the impressive turnout at events like the Garden Market, which drew over 3000 visitors and generated substantial revenue.

At the core of the JGNG’s operations is a diverse collective of citizens hailing from different backgrounds and nationalities, united by a common goal of fostering positive change in their community. By leveraging an Entrepreneurial NonProfit (ENP) model with community enterprise elements, the group has been able to not only improve the management of the public garden but also generate income to sustain their projects and support local individuals and businesses.

Looking ahead, the JGNG remains committed to ensuring the long-term success and positive impact of their initiatives. To this end, they plan to develop a comprehensive sustainability plan for their neighborhood community center, taking into account social, cultural, environmental, and economic factors. By actively engaging the community, preserving local culture, implementing eco-friendly practices, and diversifying income streams, the JGNG aims to create a resilient and thriving community space that serves as a model for sustainable urban development.