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.
"The well-being 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
“[The organic 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
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 disabilities.
"Everything needed 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 a
co-op/NGO to re-establish organic farming and awareness.
"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