Holy Land Arabs, Jews cooperate over

seeds -- for food, for peace -- for life

Saturday, 16 December 2006


     Holy Land Arabs and Jews are cooperating to preserve seeds for food. . .and for peace, and life itself.

     Ancestors of Jews and Palestinians migrated north out of Africa toward the Middle East -- some, 30,000 years ago.
     They were intimately related by DNA.
     Maybe 8,000 years ago, many moved west with their farming skills and precious seeds.
     Walking across the Fertile Crescent in small clans, they took successful agriculture toward the Mediterranean.

     The lands of Israel and Palestine, in the southern arch of the Fertile Crescent, are the ancient center of origin for almonds, artichoke, barley, beets and chards, black mustard, celery, chickpea, date palm, emmer, pear, fig, flax, lentil, lettuce, melon, olive, pea, radish and safflower.
     Wild edibles, herbs and indigenous knowledge of their uses are embedded in both Jewish and Arab traditions.

     Today, sister and brother Semites remain intimately related by DNA.
     Palestinian and Jewish lives are equally dependent on healthy,  enduring DNA.
     DNA of our bodies.
     DNA of the seeds of food that keep us and humankind alive.

     Yet, too much of this is being lost today.
     We cave in to urbanization, racing toward technology, and forgetting our inherited, wise blueprint for for sustainable living.
     And lose track of who we are and where we came from -- our ancient story of successful life on Earth.
     Our seeds, our very DNA of life, must be preserved.

Professor Mohammed Saleem Ali Shtayeh, Ph.D.  (Nablus, West Bank, Palestine)

In the West Bank, there is a considerable decline in local varieties due to introduction of hybrid 'high-input' varieties. At least 90 percent of Palestines farmers have no irrigation. Both the drought-hardy traditional cultivars and farmers traditional knowledge of seed selection are disappearing. There is a critical need to revive traditional varieties in the Palestinian Areas. However the PA has no central seed bank. Existing facilities are weak or non-existent.

Israeli Report, The Convention on Biological Diversity, 2006

"In Israel, commercial agriculture relies on high-performance hybrids and intensive year-round cultivation. Together with spreading urbanization this threatens many old landraces, some of which date back many centuries. It considers an imperative the preservation of the country's wild genetic resources, in view of the spreading urbanization, habitat destruction, intensive farming ."

     Today, a  dynamic, grassroots circle of Jewish and Arab small-scale farmers and seed savers have begun pooling shared genetic resources together to conserve and improve threatened native varieties in the fields of traditional and organic farmers, and to teach cooperative gardening with Arab and Jewish young people.

     This ISRAEL SEED CONSERVANCY -- http://www.growseed.org/mideast.html -- teaches cooperative gardening with Arab and Jewish young people.
     Too, they influence and work with others like JERUSALEM CITY FARMERS -- http://www.jerusalemcityfarmers.org/ and many others.
     Read more at:


Published in The New Farm -- Thursday,14 December 2006

Seeds for peace

Restoring ancient seed for Arab and Jewish organic cooperation

By Eli Rogosa


     The Winter Solstice in late December is the darkest time of year.
     It caused  the ancients to wonder if sun, crops and hopefulness would return.
     Today there is reason to believe that many people are slowly becoming more human -- more connected to Earth, Life, Each Other.
     We can celebrate these cooperating Arabs and Jews who preserve life -- precious DNA and relationships.
     They are re-creating modern education for students and teachers in Sustainable Schools programs.
     Remembering, learning, teaching who we are and what life is at the highest -- neighbors forever.
     Connected by DNA and so much more.

                - L&L