The farm is 2 1/4 dunams in size. A duman is about 1 square km. As you make your way in, old Almond trees stand on the left and a large raised bed built of tyres, earth and clay stand on the right. Behind that, is a concrete cistern. With funding Murad had this built as a means of managing his own water supply as well as being the foundation for the future volunteer guest house and learning centre he plans to build. Just beyond this is the Poly tunnel, full with tomatoes; chiles; beans; cauliflower; cucumbers and za’ atar amongst other things. In front of that is the completed design of the farm: a network of trees, beds, borders, paths and trellises designed carefully around the principles of permaculture: Care for the earth; Care for the people; Return of surplus. I’m oversimplifying it but basically this means creating a sustainable and independent eco system which supplies the food and resources people need and making sure nothing is wasted . Some examples of this were:
organic waste and weeds for bird feed, compost and mulching; companion plants and trees to attract pest-controlling bugs, ground-fertilising nitrogen and sun-protecting shade; naturally built structures and recycling of materials to house livestock and support plants.
The farm has Bees and produces large quantities of honey each year, 5 kilos of which is exported to customers in Qatar. He has chickens and pigeons (with their own cob-built houses) for eggs and meat and and plans on getting some goats and a cow.
The farm is Murads livelihood, but its more than that. The farm is his way of fighting the occupation. By growing his own food and providing his own income, he doesn’t need to buy expensive food and water or look for work abroad or in Israel. Permaculuture gives him good health, independence and empowerment.
The farm is a centre for students, activists and volunteers and Murad hopes his model will raise awareness of Permaculture in Palestine and begin to change local peoples attitudes towards farming.
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