Amidst the conflict and destruction that plagues Palestine, the Marda Permaculture Farm stands out as a model of sustainability and greenery. Founded in 2006 by permaculturist Murad Alkhufash (pictured above) who is a tenth generation farmer, the working farm blends local traditional farming methods with modern permaculture techniques and science. It also empowers the local community to produce healthy food for itself in a cheaper and more eco-friendly way, by avoiding industrial fertilizers or pesticides.
“The farm is an oasis of green in a land that is dry, where Palestinians have lived under great hardship, yet where there is a promise of a new future. We believe that permaculture is a key ingredient in the future, not only for Palestine, but for the Middle East and the world. We’re setting out to show how it’s done.”
Marda Permaculture Farm is a sustainable development NGO that focuses heavily on education and transmitting its beneficial lessons to others. It held its first Permaculture Design Course (PDC) this past June, which was attended by both Arab and international students. In order to contextualize the course within the local culture, a traditional Palestinian cooking workshop and an intensive Arab language course were offered in conjunction with the PDC.
Community outreach takes place throughout the year, however, and visitors are welcome to stay at the farm for 1-3 day visits to experience Palestinian farming and permaculture techniques. The farm is also able to offer certified PDCs in Arabic.
Marda Permaculture Farm is currently looking to expand its ability to instruct the community by building an education building that would include a classroom and accommodation for students.
Some eco-tourism around Marda is also available through the farm, which organizes eco-social hiking tours of the region.
Read more about permaculture in the Middle East:
Permaculture and Green Communal Living Through Eco-Israel
From Capitalist Pig to Living In A City Tree
Learn Permaculture and Green Building Techniques in Israel