Category — Middle East
See larger image here. “What is remarkable, in the intensely urban setting of Sana‘a — a walled metropolis crowded with towers today, and the place where the Sabaeans built the 10-story Palace of Ghumdan some two millennia ago — is that not only the words survive: So, too, do the gardens.”
Miqshamah (plural: maqaashim), the garden where they grow their produce, all have an origin just as old but better preserved: qshmt, the Sabaic word for a vegetable plot.
By Tim Mackintosh-Smith
Saudi Aramco World
Tim Mackintosh-Smith lives in an ancient tower house off the “Market of the Cows” in the old city of San’a, Yemen. He is the author of the Yemen: Travels in Dictionaryland (1997) and Yemen: The Unknown Arabia (2000). He is one of the foremost scholars of the Moroccan traveller Ibn Battutah. Mackintosh-Smith has published a trilogy recounting his journeys in “the footnotes” of Ibn Battutah; Travels with A Tangerine (2001), The Hall of a Thousand Columns (2005) and Landfalls (2010).
The Italian writer Alberto Moravia once described Sana‘a as a “Venice of dust.” Since his visit, the streets have been paved with stone, and the dust is less in evidence. But the first impression is still one of sun-dried palazzos, of deep-cut streets flowing with people but devoid of moisture and vegetation. Amid this, it’s easy to overlook the quiet spaces in between. And that is the only way most of the city’s gardens can be seen at all: by overlooking them. Climb to the fifth floor of my house, and two gardens reveal themselves. To the east is Maryam’s, the miqshamah of Khudayr Mosque, a rectangle of green—mostly chives (bay’ah), the dominant garden crop—subdivided by little banks of raised earth. To the west, there is Bustan Na’man.
April 27, 2013 No Comments
Noga zohar on community garden in beer sheva.
19 gardens are already established while an additional 4 groups are being formed
By Aya Tager
March 27th, 2013
In September 2012, the Israeli desert city of Beersheva became the second municipality in Israel to staff the newly created post of community gardens coordinator. The multidisciplinary position was born through fruitful cooperation between two of the city’s municipality departments – environmental and welfare, following a strategic process aimed at reinforcing local community and environmental elements while encouraging activism amongst the city’s residents. This move marks a significant shift in policy as the municipality re-defined its role over the issue of community gardens around the city.
March 28, 2013 No Comments
35 million people in Egypt are concentrated in urban centers and 32 percent of the overall population resides in Cairo
By Rana Khalid
March 9, 2013
Shagara hopes to combat poverty by teaching families how to establish small-scale house farms where they can plant different kinds of fruit trees and vegetables such as tomatoes, mint and parsley, in addition to endangered indigenous species like acacia, sycamore and fig trees.
“Because it is difficult to increase environmental awareness among people who can barely make a living, we insist on the economic benefits first and explain the health and ecological interests later on,” he says.
March 11, 2013 No Comments
International Colloquium Of Urban Agriculture
27 Feb-02 March 2013,
Dr. Amin AL HAKIMI, University of Sana’a, Yemen
Thiago BARBIZAN, Municipality of Sao Paulo
Dr Alison BLAY-PALMER, Wilfried Laurier University, Ontario
Dr Moez BOURAOUI, Université Tunis
Sonia CALLAU, City of Barcelona
Nevin COHEN, The New School, NYC
Julien CUSTOT, FAO Food For Cities
Marielle DUBBELING, Head of RUAF Foundation
Moncef FADILI, UN-Habitat, Morocco
Mehdi GUADI, Association Marocaine pour des Éco-Villes (AMEV)
Dr. Hans R. HERREN, Millenium Institute, Washington
Dr. Abdelkader KAIOUA, Inspecteur de l’Urbanisme, de l’Habitat et de la Politique de la Ville du Grand Casablanca
Andrea KOCH-KRAFT, German Federal Ministry of Education and Research
February 15, 2013 No Comments
Saniora Al Dirawi, is a Gazan woman who helps support her household of nine family members with the food she produces in her urban garden. After her husband was no longer able to work, she applied to the program and learned new techniques, such as proper spacing, composting, cultivation of better varieties of vegetables and the use of a drip irrigation system. “This home garden is the backbone of my ability to provide my children with fresh food,” she states proudly.
The home egg production kits consist of egg-laying chickens, cages and fodder
By AlertNet Contributor
January 21, 2013
Global Communities is supporting households in Gaza by helping them to plant urban gardens to improve their food security. This initiative is being conducted under the Palestinian Community Assistance Program (PCAP) in partnership with Mercy Corps and USAID. The overall goal of PCAP is to support economic recovery and development in Gaza through the creation of income generation and business development opportunities. The agricultural component aims to help vulnerable households by providing urban garden and small livestock kits along with technical training and support to help these families become more food self-sufficient.
February 13, 2013 No Comments
Khader Najjar waters his vegetables in his rooftop greenhouse on the roof of his four-storey building in the Dheisheh refugee camp. The vegetables help feed his and his brother’s families. Photo by Khaled Zighari.
The funding for Mr Najjar’s greenhouse was supplied by Karama, a Dheisheh-based non-profit organisation. It paid roughly US$900 (Dh340) for each of the first 15 greenhouses given to Dheisheh residents.
The National AE
Dec 13, 2012
With the help of makeshift greenhouses, more than a dozen Palestinian families have started to farm on the roofs to blunt the harshness of a financial crisis that has crippled the Palestinian Authority (PA) and drained the pocketbooks of the refugee camp’s 13,000 residents.
Here they tend to their modest crops with remarkable dedication. Not only does rooftop farming mean less cash spent for food. For many, it is a remedy to the claustrophobia of camp life.
December 16, 2012 No Comments
Abu Ahmed looks out over a sea of grey, empty Gaza rooftops, and smiles as he looks back at the lush greenery sprouting in tubs and pipes on top of his apartment building.
By Sara Hussein
26 Oct 2012
He is part of a United Nations agency project to introduce cutting-edge urban agriculture to Gaza City, teaching Palestinians to farm without soil in the space available to them in one of the world’s most densely populated places.
Most of his rooftop is given over to an aquaponic system, which produces food by linking fish tanks of tilapia with gravel-filled planters.
The integrated system feeds the water from the fish tanks into the plant beds, where Abu Ahmed’s crops — lettuce, peppers, broccoli, celery and herbs — are fertilised by waste produced by the tilapia.
October 27, 2012 No Comments
The Secretariat provides packages for every citizen seeking to join the project, including some crops and various forms of basins, bottles and even bags which are attached to the walls, roofs and gardens.
By Sawsan Mukahal
Excerpt roughly translated by Google:
Amman – Given the importance of agriculture in food security on the one hand, and maintaining a clean environment on the other hand, carried the Amman Municipality undertook the launch of “urban agriculture” within the range of activities dedicated to greening populated areas, five years ago, according to the project manager in the Secretariat Hisham Al Omari.
The project has so far beautified the surfaces of 110 homes, and about 50 chosen from among the samples in different areas of the capital, Amman, mostly in the eastern regions, and included the clean surfaces, cosmetic and cultivated, were also implemented the project in Jebel castle, garden Queen Rania, according to Omari.
October 22, 2012 No Comments
Read all the papers online
Watch Letter No. 18
International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Studies
Redefining a sustainable role for Urban Agriculture in the Middle East and North Africa
By Salwa Tohmé Tawk, Ziad Moussa, Diana Marroush Abi Saiid, Mounir Abi Saiid, Shadi Hamadeh
Environment and Sustainable development Unit, American University of Beirut (Lebanon)
Urban and periurban agricultural issues in Tunisia
By Hichem Rejeb
Research Unit “Horticulture, Landscape and Environment” IRESA, University of Sousse (Tunisia)
Multifunctionality of periurban agriculture in Italy
By Annarita Antonelli, Lamberto Lamberti
August 17, 2012 No Comments
Eventually, Schaduf aims to set up a small farmers market at a neighborhood sporting club where the urban farmers can sell their “made in Maadi” produce.
By Megan Detrie
Feb 7, 2012
On a small rooftop in a residential building in Maadi, Sherif Hosny has swapped satellite dishes for hydroponics to grow crops using mineral nutrient solutions in water, without soil. And he hopes to soon do the same to rooftops in surrounding lower-income areas.
The name of this micro-agriculture initiative, “Schaduf,” refers to a simple tool composed of a long suspended pole maintained by a weight at one end and equipped with a bucket attached at the other to lift water.
Hosny and his brother Tarek launched Schaduf in September to create a second source of income for low-earning families through micro-urban gardens. The company plans to install hydroponic growing systems on roofs in the poorer neighborhoods surrounding Maadi.
February 20, 2012 1 Comment
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel
via The Horticultural Channel
Oct 20, 2011
The UK may be the heartland of allotments but throughout the world people are coming together and creating their own allotment site, or community gardens as they are often called.
Five years ago, the plot of land on the grounds of the Natural History Museum in Jerusalem was barren and unused. Today it has become the city’s largest community garden.
Designed as a space to grow organic crops, the garden — located just a stone’s throw from a busy street – is also an educational institution and an urban refuge for the people of Jerusalem.
December 29, 2011 No Comments
Labib’s private rooftop in Mohandessin is going to serve as a pilot location for one of Cairo’s first permaculture – self-sustaining environmental systems.
By Steven Viney
In Cairo, urban agriculture is growing in popularity as more and more people strive to adopt more eco-friendly approaches to the environment and encourage the decentralization of the community’s reliance on farming corporations.
Many academics and supporters are championing methodologies by hosting workshops in which attendees can learn how to set up small urban gardens and make use of their personal spaces – rooftops, balconies and private gardens.
July 4, 2011 1 Comment
To address food security for Beirut planners, policy makers, and municipal officials need to reevaluate the potential of urban agriculture.
By Sandra Rishani
Spatially Just Environments Beirut
June 25, 2011
Sandra is a Beirut-based practicing architect.
Past present and Future
The case shows how the lack of government initiatives and problems with land tenure and market land prices make urban agriculture rarer in cities like Beirut. Moreover hardly controlled imported crops and competition with them also make the agriculture sector in Lebanon weak. Several steps can be taken to encourage urban agriculture. These may include protection and promotion of urban agriculture by the government.
June 26, 2011 No Comments
With so many flat roofs across the Middle East, surely the region is ripe for a bit of rooftop gardening?
By Arwa Aburawa
December 15th, 2010
Neveen Metwally, a researcher at the Central Laboratory for Agriculture Climate in Cairo, Egypt spoke to IRIN about urban gardening in the region. She explained that city dwellers must be convinced of the benefits of urban horticulture by focusing on the needs of ordinary people and the benefits that urban agriculture brings to them. “I can say to someone, ‘A rooftop garden will help the environment’, and they’ll say, ‘No, thank you – I just want to feed my family’. So I must identify and communicate benefits that are of interest to that person.”
February 20, 2011 1 Comment
Photo by Emad Badwan
What started as a project from fascination has developed into a relatively lucrative means of contributing to his family’s needs.
By Eva Bartlett
2 December 2010
On the flat, square, cement roof of another Beit Hanoun home, Ahed Shabat, 42, looks after the plants and vegetables growing in tubs and cement planters amidst hung laundry and water tanks.
“We grow things we can use year round, like garlic and onions,” he says. “But also seasonal plants like spinach, parsley, radishes, eggplant, corn, okra and chili peppers.
“We also grow flowers and herbs to use in tea, like mint, mirimiyya and zaatar,” he adds. The latter two herbs, that commonly grow wild in the hills of the occupied West Bank, are a staple for most Palestinians’ tea, and have medicinal uses.
December 7, 2010 1 Comment
Growing fruit and vegetables in and around cities increases the supply of fresh, nutritious produce and improves the urban poor’s economic access to food
FAO urban projects in: Plurinational State of Bolivia, Burundi, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guatemala, Namibia, Nicaragua, Rwanda, Senegal, Venezuela. Details here.
Fruit and vegetables are the richest natural sources of micronutrients. But in developing countries, daily fruit and vegetable consumption is just 20-50 percent of FAO/World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations. Urban meals rich in low-cost fats and sugars are also responsible for rising levels of obesity and overweight. In India, diet-related chronic diseases, such as diabetes, are a growing health problem, and mainly in urban areas.
June 11, 2010 1 Comment
Film by Dr. Shadi Hamadeh
American University of Beirut
In Arabic with English subtitles
(Very interesting! Mike)
Animal husbandry remains the livelihoods of many communities, even in urban areas. This documentary film is a live witness of Arab Khaldeh families raising sheep in the suburbs of Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, an integration of rural communities in urban areas.
March 11, 2010 No Comments
Sana’a Gardens. Photo by Jeff Lindstrom
Larger image here.
By Amwl Al-Ariqi
Source: Yemen Times (YCPMI)
Date: 28 Dec 2009
Yemen has suffered greatly during the world food crisis, since early 2008, which increased the number of people in poverty. About two million people are depending on the aids given by the World Food Program in Yemen.
The country imports as much as 75 per cent of its food requirements, and hence is vulnerable to shortages in world stocks. Yemen’s poorest households may have no mechanism to cope with astronomical prices, warned international aids agencies in Yemen.
The WFP says that higher prices have already forced six percent of the population of 20 millions according to 2004, below the poverty line.
January 3, 2010 1 Comment
Un hectare à Beyrouth – “Planete reporter” Le Monde.fr et Youtube
Une évocation de l’exploitation de Rahmé, agricultrice à Beyrouth. Les atouts de l’agriculture urbaine sont-ils une réponse aux enjeux environnementaux contemporains?
Un reportage destiné au concours “Planete reporter” organisé par Le Monde.fr et Youtube
December 17, 2009 No Comments
Photograph courtesy of OPP-RTI. As food prices rise in Pakistan, some are turning to home gardens to put food on the table.
by Zubeida Mustafa
August 13, 2008
Many enterprising women have risen to meet the challenge by encouraging the poor to acquire self-sufficiency in food by growing their own vegetables in their backyards. Parveen Rahman, director of Orangi Pilot Project’s Research and Training Institute, comments on her organization’s aborted attempt to launch a program encouraging a kitchen garden in every home in the low-income Orangi Township. “This was many years ago and we could not get the women to take an interest in horticulture. So we cultivated OPP’s own little plot of land and grew vegetables there which the staff would purchase.” But now Parveen is hopeful that there will be more interest when she revives the kitchen garden program.
August 29, 2008 3 Comments