Project Wadi Attir--A Model Sustainable Desert Community

 


The Sustainability Laboratory has launched an initiative to support the development of a model Bedouin enterprise in the Negev.

The project, known as Project Wadi Attir seeks to develop and demonstrate a model for sustainable, community-based organic farming, adapted to a desert environment. It is designed to combine Bedouin aspirations, values and experience in desert agriculture, with sustainability principles and cutting edge, appropriate, “green” technologies, including renewable energy production, resource recycling and arid land stewardship. The underlying approach integrates social, economic, environmental, and technology considerations. It is intended to showcase a breakthrough approach to environmentally sound sustainable development, which could impact the Middle East region as well as other parts of the world.

The project, a collaborative effort of the Hura Municipal Council, the governing body of one of seven Bedouin towns in the Negev, and the Sustainability Laboratory has already attracted a significant group of partners, representing key sectors of Israeli society. Collaborators in the project include Bedouin community members, university scientists and researches, local non-profit organizations, a nearby kibbutz, government agencies and private sector companies. Project Wadi Attir has recently been established as the first ever, Bedouin agricultural cooperative in Israel.

The core of the enterprise will involve raising several hundred goats and sheep, and the production of organic meat and dairy products. In addition, a significant portion of the farm will be dedicated to the cultivation of a wide variety of medicinal plants that have been valued by generations of Bedouins for their health benefits. The medicinal plant operation will showcase and preserve Bedouin knowledge of natural remedies and will produce a line of healing and body care products. Project Wadi Attir is also re-introducing the production of highly nutritious, desert hardy, indigenous vegetables which once formed an important part of the Bedouin diet. In addition to growing such native vegetables on the site, a seed bank will be created and a women-led program will be launched to help spread the cultivation of vegetable gardens on family managed plots.

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"To make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time
through spontaneous cooperation without ecological damage or
the disadvantage to anyone."

R. Buckminster Fuller

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© 2009, The Sustainability Laboratoriessm