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The Vegetable Project in Wadi Atir – First Seeds and Winter Preparations
In the Wadi-Atir vegetable growing project, the seed-gathering season has come to an end, and now the women are preparing to plant the winter vegetables.
The vegetable growing project is part of a larger initiative in WadiAtir to create a Bedouin farm in the Negev that is based on a sustainable desert community. This project is a joint initiative of the Sustainability Laboratory (a non-profit organization in the U.S.) and the Local Authority in Hura.

Work on the project began in March 2014. Four Bedouin women, residents of Hura, underwent a training course that included learning Hebrew, acquiring practical tools for working in the field, and an introduction to traditional crops. The first plot of land was prepared – the women hoed and prepared the ground, an irrigation system was installed, and the planting process was begun. The seeds that were sown had been gathered from people who had preserved the seeds for years, seed that have been passed down for generations, preserving traditional Bedouin crops.

The first planting consisted of summer vegetables: tomatoes, eggplants, okra, pumpkin etc. In the summer months, seeds were gathered, dried and sorted. The results of this process are on display in the vegetable patch, in an impressive exhibition that offers a range of organic seeds. The women plan to distribute these seeds to visitors and to other women, in anticipation of the next summer planting.
Now, with the arrival of autumn, the women are preparing to work on a new plot of land, six dunam that will hold two crops – one constant crop of wheat and barley (in order to preserve the original seeds), and one crops that will change according to season.

The traditional Bedouin vegetable-growing project won a grant that supports local, sustainable economic initiatives in the Negev. The grant was provided by Project Wealth and the New Israel Fund, with the support of the European Union’sCBCMED andENPI.

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