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Category — Middle East

‘The future is edible landscaping,’ predicts CEO of Israel’s GreenWall

Visitors to the World Expo 2015 in Milan (Expo Milano) next May will see a 1,200-square-foot GreenWall outside Israel’s pavilion growing wheat, rice and corn in keeping with the expo’s theme, “Feeding the world.”

By Karin Kloosterman
Israel 21c
December 15, 2014


First, the company incubates the “look and see” wall at its farm before installing it on the customer’s location. The systems incorporate technical knowhow from Israeli drip-irrigation pioneer Netafim; and GreenWall has developed its monitors, sensors and controls in cooperation with Israeli water-monitoring company Galcon.

Even European companies that have built vertical gardens of their own are making serious inquires to Barness. “Five years ago, when I came with this idea of saving water to the Europeans, well, they just laughed at me. They have those water fountains that run all day long outside in the villages and cities,” he says.

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January 1, 2015   Comments Off

Syria Pulse: Besieged Aleppo residents turn to farming

Ahmad planting vegetables near his house in the Masaken Hanano neighborhood of Aleppo city, Nov. 14, 2014. Photo by Mohammed al-Khateib.

In his modest garden, Ahmad planted mint leaves, potatoes and fava beans.

By Mohammed al-Khatieb
Nov 14, 2014


Suleiman and his friend take turns to look after the new “residents.” While he was feeding one of the rabbits, Suleiman explained how the idea was conceived. “My friend and I were wondering what we could possibly do if Aleppo was besieged. We got the idea of building large farms that cater to the people’s animal-product needs. But, nobody adopted the project, so we reduced its scale, and I found that my deserted house would be the perfect place for it.”

“In cooperation with the neighborhood councils, we are seeking to spread this idea all over the city. Whether we want to prepare ourselves for the siege or we are doing this as a hobby or trade, it is still great,” he added.

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December 12, 2014   Comments Off

Istanbul’s Threatened Urban Agriculture

Garden in Piyale Pasa. Photo by Jennifer Hattam.

“These fields here used to meet one-third of the food needs of the European side of the city, and it’s still the closest large agricultural area to the city center – just 25 kilometers away from Taksim Square,”

By Jennifer Hattam
Culinary Back Streets
September 30, 2014,


Many of the city’s once numerous small farms and market gardens (known in Turkish as bostan) have already fallen victim to urbanization or are at risk of doing so. The grubby neighborhood between the Emniyet bus station in Aksaray and the Yenikap? metro terminal was as recently as the 1950s covered with green fields famed for their cucumbers. Parking lots and gas stations sit atop what were bostan lands just a few years ago in the grey and gritty Piyale Pa?a neighborhood of Beyo?lu. That area’s one remaining market garden, alongside the 16th-century Piyale Pa?a Camii, is hemmed in by a busy highway, service-bus parking strips and carwash and tire shops.

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October 2, 2014   Comments Off

Refugees from Syrian attacks fight starvation with food gardens

Yarmouk residents (in Damascus) transform the spaces between buildings into gardens that can produce vegetables.

Accused of using starvation as a weapon of war, the Syrian government continues to besiege areas across the country, forcing civilians to find new ways to make ends meet.

By Olivia Alabaster
The Daily Star
July 12, 2014


In Yarmouk (in Damascus), the activist said that people mostly grow cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant and zucchini, but even then people do not have enough to eat, and there is no bread – wheat being too difficult to grow, and requiring machines which in turn rely on fuel, a scarcity, and lots of open space.

But, Hevi said, the ability to produce one’s own food was important for people in these areas. While the U.N. occasionally delivers food baskets to the area, which they refer to as “food security,” being able to grow one’s own food is much more sustainable and offers “food sovereignty.”

Growing one’s own food “makes sense on so many levels,” said Hevi, who is German-Iraqi. “You can produce your own food, and you can also sell it, so you can refinance some of the project.”

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July 28, 2014   Comments Off

Urban Agriculture in Casablanca, Morocco

How can agriculture be integrated into the urban structure and the urban development process in Casablanca

The project is a research and demonstration project of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) under the research program “Research for the Sustainable Development of Megacities of Tomorrow – Energy- and Climate-Efficient Structures in Urban Growth Centres” of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Urban Agriculture in Casablanca, Morocco

1. Challenge
• Rapid urban growth is reducing and fragmenting agricultural land within the city region
• Conventional planning tends to neglect agriculture and open space as valuable resources and parts of the regional land use structure
• Informal development further contributes to the fragmentation of land us patterns and the reduction of open space
• Low awareness of the potential of urban agriculture for a productive green infra- structure and sustainable food supply

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December 27, 2013   Comments Off

‘Lettuce Grow’ – An environmental citizenship project in Pakistan


‘Lettuce Grow’ project for young people and communities – introducing them to growing Kitchen Gardens

Society for International (SIE) runs the iEARN Pakistan Centre in Karachi, Quetta and Islamabad focusing educational development and capacity building of K-12 students, teachers and youth in general
Dec 12, 2013

Excerpted from the Facebook page:

“I am extremely excited to start a kitchen garden at a school in my community,” says a YES alumna during the Lettuce Grow Training Program.

Twenty YES Alumni and Access teachers enthusiastically participated in the Lettuce Grow project today on December 12, 2013 at the iEARN Center, Karachi. The day was packed with an interactive session on container gardening and hands on experience of growing vegetables and fruits easily.

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December 23, 2013   Comments Off

Amman, Jordan: In home gardens, there’s income and food for urban poor


Last week the Jordanian ministry of agriculture decided to start selling fruit saplings to the public at bargain prices

By Elizabeth Whitman
The Business Mirror
Inter Press Service
14 Dec 2013


As utilitarian as it is cheery, this rooftop array is one of several urban-agriculture projects that are significantly improving livelihoods for the urban poor in this sprawling city. A slowly but steadily growing phenomenon in Jordan, urban agriculture has vast potential for reducing poverty and improving food security, and it has the added benefit of greening and cleaning up more rundown sections of cities.

But the success of urban agriculture depends on key components that are increasingly difficult to secure: land and water. Space for planting is growing ever slimmer in Jordan, and the country suffers from a perpetual shortage of water.

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December 20, 2013   Comments Off

Urban Agriculture and the Transformation of Yedikule in Istanbul

The public gardens offer jobs and income for approximately 200 Bostancis and offer town grown products for the regional market.

A lot of farmers migrated to Yedikule from more countrified regions.

By Lennart Kudla
December 3, 2013


The public gardens of Yedikule in Istanbul are not only one of the oldest intra-urban agricultural areas of Istanbul (more than 1500 years old), but also a fragment of one of the largest green spaces of the city. They are located close to the ancient city wall (built between 413 and 412 B.C.). In former times there were moats to protect ancient Byzantine from its numerous enemies during sieges. After the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks (1453) the walls and the moats slowly lost their importance.

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December 12, 2013   Comments Off

Gaza Urban Rabbit Raising Intervention


A January 2013 evaluation found that two years after the initial support, 50% of rabbit kits that were distributed were still in operation.

Written by Elena Qleibo and Elena Bertola
Edited by Zalynn Peishi, Laura Phelps and Carol Brady
OXFAM 2010


Rabbit Raising intervention

The rabbit raising intervention is funded by the European Commission Humanitarian Office (ECHO) and implemented by MA’AN Development Centre.
The rabbit raising intervention seeks to protect the livelihoods of unemployed people and to provide very poor households with increased consumption of protein or vitamin-rich food. This activity was implemented with the intention of increasing household consumption of fresh meat, and allowing beneficiaries to sell surplus rabbits to local markets at affordable prices. Rabbit rearing has been showed to be a sustainable and profitable intervention for small-scale household food production. The intervention was also expected to empower women, as household members recognise the economically productive role that women play. 286 Gazan households were involved.
The rabbit raising intervention was implemented as part of a twelve-month project starting in November 2009.

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November 15, 2013   Comments Off

Aquaponics in Gaza


The project will continue to focus on female producers offering the means for them to secure fresh, nutritious food and potentially generate a supplemental income for their family.

By Christopher Somerville and Cyril Ferrand
Field Report/Emergency Nutrition Network
Sept 2013 Issue 46


Initial results
The initial 15 rooftop aquaponics units showed some promising results. Most of the beneficiaries exerted considerable effort into the management of their units and most harvested a summer crop that was used for household consumption. For some beneficiaries, it reduced the need to purchase food (such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplants) in local markets. Others paid less attention to reaching the full production potential of their units and concentrated more on growing some of their favourite herbs and vegetables. Every beneficiary mentioned that they thoroughly enjoyed managing their units.

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November 11, 2013   Comments Off

Bombed Syrian city of Homs – rooftop agriculture photographed

See larger image here. Then click below the image – ‘Open Photo Viewer’ – to see full screen view. (Must see. Mike)

Urban farming on rooftops of buildings in Bab Dreib in besieged Homs

Photo by HOMS Promedia

Also Read: Final dispatch from Homs, the battered city

Marie Colvin (1956-2013) was the only British journalist reporting from inside the besieged Syrian enclave of Baba Amr. This is her final report.

The Sunday Telegraph
19 Feb, 2012


Syria, 2012

They call it the widows’ basement. Crammed amid makeshift beds and scattered belongings are frightened women and children trapped in the horror of Homs, the Syrian city shaken by two weeks of relentless bombardment.

Among the 300 huddling in this wood factory cellar in the besieged district of Baba Amr is 20-year-old Noor, who lost her husband and her home to the shells and rockets.

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November 5, 2013   Comments Off

Roof-Top Farming in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Dhaka roof farmer with his goats. “Dr.M.H.Rahman: I served the Dhaka community through my Veterinary Hospital. The Hospital is still open in my absence. I encouraged people to rear goats, pigeons, ducks and even Japanese quail on their roof-tops since these items have a big market value as there is a consumer preference for micro-livestock. The animal manure is also a source of fertilizer for pot nurseries in Dhaka where this has been the practice for some time.”

Roof-top farming in Dhaka city, where crops include goat, spinach, jute, lemon, guava and many other vegetables that are grown throughout the year.

By Dr.Mohemmed Habibur Rahman, Professor of Pathology, Department of Pathology, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh, Bangladesh
At present: School of Veterinary Medicine, College of Agriculture and Consumer Science, University of Ghana, Legon, Accra, Ghana. P.O.Box: LG 586, Legon
All photos by Dr.Mohemmed Habibur Rahman.

The Case for Building-Integrated Food chain in the inner city

Beyond energy cost, there are additional vulnerabilities in our conventional food-production system. Political crisis like hartal, natural calamities like too much rain, little rain and even flood in the north disrupts communication and in the long-term, reduction of flows water from the upstream will cause water shortages in Bangladesh and its primary vegetable-producing regions. These vulnerabilities are reviving interest in growing food locally (using available resources by the innovative Bangladeshis – once the bottomless basket), and even on the roof tops.

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October 21, 2013   Comments Off

‘Crops in Pots’ – Karachi, Pakistan

Photo of Zahra Ali Husain.

To spread urban farming in Pakistan

By Farhan Anwar
The Express Tribune, Pakistan
October 7, 2013


One such initiative has been undertaken in Karachi by the husband and wife team of Yasir Husain and Zahra Ali. They have called it ‘Crops in Pots’, which Zahra Ali started as a blog in 2008. It has grown into a community of 1,500 members who exchange inspiration, ideas and knowledge about organic urban farming. The basic idea is to connect urban organic gardeners and farmers with the general public and to start a conversation about the importance of heirloom seeds and organic farming in cities and also create green spaces from where people can get free food and fight food insecurity.

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October 7, 2013   Comments Off

Urban Agriculture and Ethiopian Jews

French news report showing the Kalisher Community Garden.

The Kalisher garden enables the Ethiopian community to dig deep, to vitalize and enrich the landscape, to stay connected with their past culture, and to look forward to a bright future in their new homeland.

By Doni Kaye
Aug 28, 2013


This scene encapsulates a typical gardening session at the Kalisher Community Garden located near one of Beer Sheba’s absorption centers designated for families of immigrants from Ethiopia. This summer, I have had the opportunity to work in urban agriculture spaces located near several centers of Israel’s recent immigrant communities, many from Ethiopia. During this time, I have seen how these urban gardens encourage intermingling between community members; yield produce which offers families with an additional source of income; and affords residents with supplemental food options.

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August 29, 2013   Comments Off

Storytelling in an Israeli Community Garden


Ethiopian immigrants tell their stories

Excerpts from Earth’s Promise website:

We recently launched a new storytelling/oral history series with members from the Kalisher Absorption Center in Be’er Sheva, which serves the Ethiopian immigrant community. Sitting in the godjo (mud hut) we built in the Kalisher Community Garden, we have a men’s group and a women’s group of 10 to 15 people each that will meet three times each over the course of a few weeks. With the help of a Hebrew translator, participants each share stories about life back in Ethiopia and coming to Israel. Each session is tape recorded and our goal is to transcribe the stories and compile in a book that will be available in Amharic, Hebrew, and English.

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August 7, 2013   Comments Off