[permaculture] Marda Permaculture Farm growing Palestine resilience

Daniel Mazen Kablaoui dankablaoui at gmail.com
Tue Dec 29 12:32:06 EST 2009

I visited Murad for a few days in September while doing a 4 month stint at
another Permaculture project in Palestine called Bustan
Qaraaqa<http://www.bustanqaraaqa.org>in the Bethlehem district.  The
Salfit district is much different than
Bethlehem.  The sprawling Israeli settlement of Ariel is located on a ridge
overlooking Marda and her sister villages.  The settlement looks like any
kind of American suburban subdivision, and sits in stark contrast to the
tiny Palestinian villages below.

Murad's site is located on land he owns, and is still in the setting up
stage.  He is a very kind, very generous guy, and volunteers are given the
keys to his brother's house next to his own, and provided with ample food
for the price of a hotel room anywhere else in the West Bank.  The old
project located in Marda, which introduced Murad and others in the village
to Permaculture, was called the Sustainable Development Center, and is still
intact.  It is unkempt, messy, and has a dilapidated old house as its
centerpiece, but none of this stops the site from being extremely
impressive.  Nowhere else in the Palestine did I see such a lush space of
land, with tall trees in a wide variety, thick underbrush, and green grass
even in the summertime.  The site was rented by the Sustainable Development
Center, and though Murad has attempted to buy the space, the owner refuses
to sell.  His site is just a few hundred yards away, and seems to be shaping
up nicely.

As far as production, Murad gets a good crop of cucumber and tomato - two
Palestinian staples - that are valued higher than any of the other growers
in his district.  He has managed persuade a tiny, very conservative, group
of Palestinian villages to recognize the value of organic local produce.
This is hugely important for Palestinians, who, to their intense chagrin,
import nearly everything from Israel.

It is so easy to go to the West Bank and become consumed by the enormity of
the struggle Palestinians face, but Permaculture offered a very hopeful
perspective that I would have been lost without.  I encourage any travelers
to Israel & The Territories to hook up with the growing Permaculture
movement there.  There is a lot of wonderful work being done on both sides
of the wall.

Dan Kablaoui

2009/12/29 Permaculture Cooperative <permaculturecoop at gmail.com>

> Marda Permaculture Farm growing Palestine resilience
> Marda Permaculture<
> http://sites.google.com/site/mardapermaculturecentre/home>
> leader
> Murad al Khofash and new creative Wael Al Saad have recently received
> excellent media coverage, some extracts below
> http://permaculture.tv/marda-permaculture-farm-growing-palestine-resilience/
> --
> Permaculture Cooperative
> skype permaculturecoop
> email permaculturecoop at gmail.com
> --
> plans http://gaiapermaculture.com
> video http://Permaculture.TV
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