Neot Semadar: An Eco Village in the Southern Negev

Negev eco-village Neot Smadar IsraelIf 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.

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simchatshlomo:: flickr

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

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7 thoughts on “Neot Semadar: An Eco Village in the Southern Negev”

  1. jannys says:

    I only stayed in Neot Smadar for one night. Although I was impressed, I gave up my initial plan to stay as a volunteer due to illness. Now I am fifty and too old to volunteer. But it 's nice to see a beautiful experiment flourishing. Maybe I 'll come to visit one day as a tourist if there is a guest house.

    1. dave says:

      who says you are too old?

  2. Paul says:

    I lived and worked at neot Semadar in 1995 and helped with the construction of the art centre. I also worked in the date plantation. Probably the best job I have ever had! I met a lot of amazing people with a truly unique way of life – sharing and loving are high on the agenda. It’s the first time that I have seen the building and I would love to go back there, and to meet my friends again (if they are still there) Galit leshem, Shir, Pele, mayan, Shevi and Ronny! Love to all. Pauldjazz(at)yahoo.co.uk (UK)

  3. M. RUBENSTEIN says:

    is it possible to purchase items from this kibbutz on-line??
    i just returned from the negev, had lunch and bought a few things..would love to purchase more!!!!!
    please let me know a.s.a.p.
    thank you.
    m. rubenstein
    [email protected]

  4. A couple of stories about Neot Smadar:
    1. legend (second hand for me) has it that during one of the frequent Kibbutz meetings before the Kibbutz was organic, one of the members stood up. He said that although the topic was not on the agenda, it really bothered him that they were using toxic pesticides and herbicides on their crops. They discussed deep into the night, and decided overnight to go organic. The next day the other kibbutzim in the area got a message saying: “we have all of these pesticides and herbicides that we won’t be needing – come and get them.” I don’t know if it’s true, but it is certainly in keeping with the level of commitment that the residents have.
    2. During 2002-2005 I was project manager for a field campaign to measure background levels of air pollution in the Negev desert. Neot Smadar is in an ideal location, so we contacted them asking to set up our mobile laboratory for 3 one-month sessions over the next 3 years. After discussing our request, they decided that this project was important enough that they would give us full room and board for 2-3 people without charging a shekel. We were finally successful in convincing them that we should pay for the electricity we used.
    Simple people with a simple life, and focusing on important things. So if you head down Eilat way, drive through Shizafon junction and stop at their roadside stand – for some great food and delicious goat cheeses, and to support some very deserving people.

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