If you choose to live in the heart of the Negev desert – or any desert for that matter – chances are, you’re pretty in touch with nature. Because you’re surrounded by it. There just aren’t any of the modern distractions that many of us know and love, like movies, frozen yogurt stands, etc.
But the approximately 200 people living at the Neot Semadar village in the southern part of the Negev desert can – and do – live without those distractions in an environment that is completely harmonious with its surroundings.
The village, which was founded by a group of close friends in 1989, is really a community of people trying to understand their relationships with each other as people and their relationships with the earth. The 200 people living there are friends, children, youth, and visitors from both Israel and overseas who are looking for a fresh perspective.
Among the efforts that the residents of the village make to create a more harmonious relationship with the earth is the organic farming conducted around the village. Neot Semadar has approximately 400 dunams of farm land and they grow a wide range of things such as olives, almonds, grapes, nectarines, wheat, guavas, pomegranates, mangos, and avocados. So in addition to growing organic produce, the village is virtually self sufficient – eliminating the need for polluting transportation to bring food to the residents.
But perhaps one of the more impressive features of the village is the Neot Semadar arts center – created with the purpose of blending organically into the surrounding landscape. Made mostly out of mud, the arts center was built without an overarching plan but was rather allowed to grow naturally from the collaborative efforts of the many volunteers who worked on the project. Twelve years of daily construction by this assortment of volunteers led to the construction of the truly unique building on pictured above.
Interested in learning about Neot Semadar in greater depth? They offer week long seminars throughout the year, with the next one coming up on September 28th.
Read more about other unique Israeli eco villages:: Vertigo Dancers Get Their Groove On in an Eco Arts Village and Green Prophet Visits Amirim, a Vegetarian Paradise in the Galilee