Samson Organic Farm – Under Threat?

Green Prophet recently highlighted the dilemma of buying organic eggs from a Jewish farm in the West Bank. A little investigation by yours-truly revealed that the picturesque Givaot Olam organic farm is a settlement outpost established with no authorisation from the Israeli government, meaning that the farm is (theoretically) slated for evacuation. (Could even be a blessing in disguise for the ‘free-range’ chickens, all of which were locked in their massive sheds when I paid them a visit earlier this month).

This week I visited another organic farm also facing the threat of being closed down. But Samson Farm isn’t a settlement – it’s well within the Green Line, close to the believed resting place of biblical Samson north of Beit Shemesh. Amir Dromi was encouraged to establish a farm there 25 years ago by various government authorities who have since had second thoughts about him being there. The trouble is, Amir never got planning permission to build on the land which makes things like putting a roof over the head of his family, not to mention his sheep, a little tricky.

Tucked away at the end of a dirt track a couple of miles from Kfar Uriah, the farm offers views stretching across what seems like the whole country, producing olive oil and dairy products from his goat herd on a small-scale to organic agriculture principles, as well as vegetables at times other than the shmita year.

While Amir’s case continues at the Jerusalem Magistrate Court, visitors are invited to buy his organic olive oil or come to a fundraising concert at the farm on Thursday 19 June. Samson Farm is 20 minutes west of Jerusalem on Route 44 between the Shimhson and Nachson Junctions, take the road to Kfar Uriah to end of the moshav. Amir Dromi: 054-7557091.

Related Prophecies: Small-scale farming goes big and Israel’s Organic Eggs: On the Political Edge?

Photo: Michael Green.

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7 thoughts on “Samson Organic Farm – Under Threat?”

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  2. Yonatan Shaked says:

    They are good people and should be left in peace.
    It’s actually rather funny because if they were Bedouins nobody would bother them!

  3. sam says:

    amirs is amazing wow what a view u cant discribe
    good vibes happy family very friendly
    a good example for life

  4. samsonite says:

    I hope all goes well for Chavat Shimshon.

  5. Again, I don’t know the specifics of this particular case. It may well be that Dromi is a protection for rather than a danger to the landscape. But environmental groups oppose such individual farms in the Negev, for example, precisely because farmed and grazed land is nevertheless not the same as natural land, even if the farm is organic.

  6. Michael says:

    Part of the reason why Dromi was originally encouraged to settle in the area was to steward the land which was regularly devastated by fires and used by thieves to hideout, he has also renovated archaeological artefacts including an ancient well and Byzantine house.

    Not sure what ‘this kind of agricultural sprawl’ refers to, but Samson Farm consists of 200 dunams of grazing pasture, 10 dunams of crops and 2 families. If it wasn’t farmed, it would most likely be sold to the highest bidder for sprawl of the urban kind…

  7. The problem is that the Beit Shemesh area is supposed to have limited settlement in order to preserve its rural character. It’s pretty much the only such area left in central Israel. The government, unfortunately, has approved the establishment of new settlements in this area, see my post on South Jerusalem, http://southjerusalem.com/2008/04/04/why-israel-is-losing-its-green-spaces-the-pointed-roof-hypothesis/.
    It’s great to have organic farms, but planning is required even for organic farmers. I don’t know the particular case of Samson Farm, but there’s good reason to limit this kind of agricultural sprawl.

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