1. Elaine Solowey at Kibbutz Ketura
is a California native Elaine Solowey is a scientist
with a mission, evaluating plants from around
the world in the harsh Arava desert. She wants
to discover "small steps towards abundance"
(her book title) for the coming years of harsher
climates around the world.
of the world depends on agricultural stability
and health. No one seems to understand this."
2. Kibbutz Neot Smadar –
About 20 years ago, a group of unacquainted urbanites
formed to explore issues of community: what is
means and how is it formed. The place is an experiment
to live out what they’ve agreed upon --
a healthy community based on self-sufficiency
that includes organic orchards and farms, natural
building, a flock of goats, and much more.
farmer] made it all seem like a puzzle to us,
the connections he was trying to make between
plant and earth, plant and plant, human and earth.
This was his lifework, a never ending one."
3. Alon and Rachel Zimmerman at Moshav
Itamar This West Bank farming couple
coaxes an agricultural existence from a no-man’s
land between Arab-controlled Nablus (Shechem).
and an Israeli army firing zone. Conflict forced
changes in crops and marketing that led Alon to
devise highly integrated, self-sufficient system
of crops, fish, microclimates and livestock.
His fingers wrap around
a silver goblet, full with dry red wine, reflecting
the eyes of those peering in. A drop escapes and
trickles over the side. Prayer sanctifies the
wine, which sanctifies the moment.
4. Beit Elisha at Kibbutz Harduf …is
Israel's only Biodynamic farm, but one so large
that it is also the country's largest supplier
of organic produce, from veggies to cheeses. It
is also a working agricultural kibbutz -- one
of the last in Israel -- whose wholistic environment
provides a healing medium for members with developmental
to sustain and allow the continuation of creation
is already here, given to us with the first light.
All we have to do is harness it, gather a small,
potent dose and apply." Gadi, farmer.
5. Laithi Gnaim in El-Batuf Valley
farms near the Arab village of Sachnin. He is
dedicated to revitalize the agricultural lifestyles
of the neighboring Arab communities. He is collecting
nuggets and glimpses of the past while creating
co-op/NGO to re-establish organic farming and
"This valley will
be the micro-region for an organic renaissance
in the Arab communities... this needs to work
for everyone's sake, for a return to dignity.
…Even if we have our land, if we have evolved
into creatures that don't interact with it, we
have lost ourselves."
6. Amnon and Dalie; Amir & Yael
The government owns 95 percent of the land in
Israel, usually in organized communities such
as a kibbutz (a large communal farm) or a moshav,
(made up of an agricultural sector with many farms
and many homes in a living sector). To create
a small family farm that is agriculturally self-sufficient
and private, some persistent families just select
an unclaimed spot and stay, taking on the legal
ambiguity as one of many challenges of living
with their particular piece of this land.
“We are working
the land organically, setting proper and healthy
boundaries, putting a balance together between
us and the landscape." – Amir, homesteader