Karin Kloosterman – Green Prophet https://www.greenprophet.com Good news that impacts the Middle East and your world Sun, 22 Jan 2017 02:06:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://www.greenprophet.com/wp-content/uploads/cropped-green-prophet-logo-2-300x123-32x32.png Karin Kloosterman – Green Prophet https://www.greenprophet.com 32 32 A Wind Tree for the future https://www.greenprophet.com/2017/01/a-wind-tree-for-the-future/ https://www.greenprophet.com/2017/01/a-wind-tree-for-the-future/#respond Tue, 10 Jan 2017 14:31:59 +0000 https://www.greenprophet.com/?p=113701

Imagine a beautifully designed tree that you can place outside your house or look at in public spaces and that, when blown by the wind, produces enough energy to light your place up. That’s right; wind turbines can now have a different size and be harmonically integrated within the landscape. So instead of the huge wind turbines we are used to imagine when we think of the machines that create this type of energy we can now think of something different: a beautiful green and white tree that has its own small leaf-shaped turbines and a power output of 3.1 KW. Inspired by nature and its wisdom, this Wind Tree is the new option to fight climate change and other negative effects that conventional fuels have on our environment.


Led by Jérôme Michaud-Larivière, French company NewWind has conceived a design that brings together sustainable energy with beauty and emotion. Made with 72 turbines containing “Aeroleafs”, “L’Arbre à Vent” measures 8 to 11 meters and is capable of lighting 15 streetlights, 100 meters of space office, 71 parking spots, an electric car or the filtration system of a pool for a whole year. And so, with an engaging biomimetic design, these wind trees last close to 25 years, are completely silent – thus not invasive – and close to no permits are needed to install them.

To imagine that a single three represents 864kg of coal and 15 15-litre jerry cans of fuel is reason enough to consider it a fantastic option to slow down the inevitable effects that energy based on carbon-based fuels are having on our environment. As a matter of fact, these Wind Trees have already been installed in Paris, in Place de la Concorde. Allegedly, Michaud-Larivière actually got inspiration from real trees he saw in a Parisian plaza, which leaves kept shaking despite the absence of wind. Small wind currents seemed to him enough to produce energy, and the L’Arbre à Vent have proved this right.

Although the amount of trees needed to produce the same output as huge wind turbines is high, the truth is that if propagated in the right time frame, soon many households could depend on these bio designed Wind Trees, and the mid-term positive results of these would be outstanding. Also, they are designed in a way that if a turbine stops working the rest will continue to produce energy.

Wind energy is a clean fuel source, so its benefits are uncountable when we compare it to other types of fuels. Moreover, all countries have wind, which means that each nation has the ability of producing its own wind energy. It is also cost effective. So, in addition to other ways of protecting the environment we live in, including finding ways to stop fracking (many stars have actually come together against it on the platform Artists Against Fracking), using solar-powered panels in our households, or simply by having vegetarian diets like top celebrities do, also in an attempt to raise awareness about how this can have a positive impact on climate change (by reducing greenhouse gas emissions generated by cattle), a wind-energy powered city is an attainable dream that could help fix many of the environmental issues we are currently facing.

NewWind expects to be installing its trees around Europe soon, both in public and privates spaces. We can also hope that this new sustainable technology arrives to the Middle East, where many countries included more turbines over the last year. A future in which we can breathe fresh air and enjoy nature without having to give up the comforts of modern society is no longer an impossible dream.

https://www.greenprophet.com/2017/01/a-wind-tree-for-the-future/feed/ 0
Refugees plant roots in world’s first hydroponic community garden –– in Tel Aviv https://www.greenprophet.com/2017/01/refugees-plant-roots-in-worlds-first-hydroponic-community-garden-in-tel-aviv/ https://www.greenprophet.com/2017/01/refugees-plant-roots-in-worlds-first-hydroponic-community-garden-in-tel-aviv/#respond Wed, 04 Jan 2017 08:53:07 +0000 http://www.greenprophet.com/?p=113473 hydroponic vertical farming tel aviv israel

No matter where you roam, by choice or for political reasons, food brings us all back home. It’s like a time machine that transports us backwards to memories of our mothers and fathers. Or forwards when we share food traditions: A new project in a troubled neighbourhood of Tel Aviv, Neve Sha’anan, is attempting to connect people to their food traditions using hydroponics, a novel and sustainable way for community gardening.

The neighborhood is problematic as is it’s low-income and has attracted dozens of thousands of refugees and migrants from East Africa. It’s causing political tension in the city by Israelis who believe the refugees are bringing crime into the city. Some “refugees” are seeking political asylum. Others are legal migrant workers and others in the hood are native Israelis born into a hard scrabble life.

The idea of the new project Rooftop Gardens, is to connect all the parts of this troubled community to one common denominator: real food from home.

hydroponic vertical farming tel aviv israel

Leading the project is Lavi Kushelevich (pictured above). He’s an urban farming consultant leading more than a handful of projects to rejuvenate Tel Aviv – including Green in the City –  and to turn it into a food-producing engine.

There are many benefits to this, Lavi will explain.

hydroponic vertical farming tel aviv israel

It is possible to grow food close to where we live, even when home is a concrete jungle or apartment building.

Since urban soil is contaminated with lead and other heavy metals, the best solution for growing food sustainably in cities is using a soil-less system, also known as hydroponics. Hydroponics requires treated water and a basic circulation system to work well. It’s actually a fast way to grow tasty, fresh food if you know how to handle some parameters like water chemistry and other environmental factors.

We spoke with Lavi about the project.

hydroponic vertical farming tel aviv israelThe first hydroponic garden has been built in the most difficult neighbourhood of Tel Aviv, on the most difficult street. The building is mixed with many cultures: Eritreans, Nigerians, Sudanese, Chinese, people from Darfur, Israelis – many languages and cultures. The objective is to make the apartment a food garden with tastes from home to connect residents to each other as a community, Lavi explains.

RELATED: Mini food computer Eddy gives you “easy button” for hydroponics

hydroponic vertical farming tel aviv israel

“It’s like the Tower of Babylon. They speak so many languages in that building and now they have a reason to communicate,” says Lavi.

The group currently meets formally on Saturdays, and showing up is also volunteers from the City of Tel Aviv to those from NGOs, and anyone interested in learning about this way of community gardening.

hydroponic vertical farming tel aviv israel

“Now these people who are outsiders are given a chance to talk and the Israelis can see that they aren’t monsters,” says Lavi. “That’s so beautiful. And it’s fun being on the roof.

“We have now given the residents tools to grow their own food. And taught them about hydroponics, while we bring them seedlings with tastes of flavours from all over the world where these people once called home.”

Learn more here on their Facebook page

https://www.greenprophet.com/2017/01/refugees-plant-roots-in-worlds-first-hydroponic-community-garden-in-tel-aviv/feed/ 0
Sundrop Farms grows tomatoes with seawater https://www.greenprophet.com/2017/01/sundrop-farms-grows-tomatoes-with-seawater/ https://www.greenprophet.com/2017/01/sundrop-farms-grows-tomatoes-with-seawater/#respond Mon, 02 Jan 2017 07:09:59 +0000 http://www.greenprophet.com/?p=113537

Saltwater greenhouses can save the Middle East and humanity from drought and climate change. Three cheers to Sundrop Farms in Australia for pioneering saltwater greenhouses in Australia: they are now harvesting tomatoes for a leading grocery store called Coles. And Sundrop is producing what they say is a “better product, better for the people, better for the planet –– all year round.”

Sundrop Farms is using hydroponics, a method of growing plants on a treated water medium, without soil. It’s an extremely efficient way for growing plants, and it’s now becoming a leading choice for growing food in difficult climates, in urban centers or in areas where water is poor and lacking. In China for instance where the soil is contaminated with cadmium and lead, people are very eager to buy organic food grown hydroponically.

Sundrop says it’s the first farming system of its kind to have reached commercial scale. The 65-hectare facility was made possible with an investment of 200 million Australian dollars ($148 million) which paid for a desalination plant, greenhouses and other installations needed to grow the tomatoes.

It’s a bet worth betting as we see the rise in agricultural crops in Australia and the world.

The Sundrop greenhouses are powered by sunlight, using 23,000 mirrors that reflect rays toward the top of a 127-meter high receiver tower that turns the sun into electricity.

This power is used to pump seawater from 5km away. Beyond producing tomatoes, the facility also produces 1 million liters of fresh water every single day.

Sundrop Farms CEO Philipp Saumweber, a former investment banker, says the agriculture model as “innovative” in that it harnesses only seawater and sunlight.

A number of companies are leading technology in this area, including BrightFarms (US), Phillips (Holland), Aerofarms (US) and my startup flux, which has created artificial intelligence and a product named Eddy to understand the language of plants. Watch this market of vertical farming grow into trillion dollar opportunities.


https://www.greenprophet.com/2017/01/sundrop-farms-grows-tomatoes-with-seawater/feed/ 0
Baharat blend – make your own mouth-watering Arabian spice mix https://www.greenprophet.com/2017/01/baharat-blend-make-your-own-mouth-watering-arabian-spice-mix/ https://www.greenprophet.com/2017/01/baharat-blend-make-your-own-mouth-watering-arabian-spice-mix/#respond Sun, 01 Jan 2017 07:45:08 +0000 http://www.greenprophet.com/?p=113517

Baharat can be a different flavor depending on what Middle East or Arabian country you come from.

I live in the Middle East. Whenever my mom comes to visit she freaks out over the new flavors. Middle East cuisine has its own distinct curries and flavors for vegetables, fish and meat. There aren’t thousands of varieties, but like Indian cuisine the flavor of a good spice blend depends on its source, blend and freshness.

Baharat is a new spice trend in the western world but its an old Arabian favorite. Bahārāt (Arabic: بهارات‎‎) is just an Arabic word for spices and it’s usually used to season lamb, fish, chicken, beef, and soups. It can also be used as a condiment. I’ve been taught by my Arab-Israeli friends how to use it on chicken (season it very, very lightly – sprinkled on top before the oven), and it’s also essential in the Palestinian favorite maklooba (see recipe here). But if you are vegan you can sprinkle it on tofu or seitan. Why not?

Since I live in Jaffa, close to amazing spice shops, I just buy my own baharat.

If you don’t live near an Arabian market that will blend its own fresh spices, make your own. Because old spice mixes don’t work well for any kind of food. When it comes to spices, fresh is best.

Maqlub is a traditional Palestinian, one-pot meal that feeds dozens.

There is different baharat according to where you live. The Turkish baharat includes mint, while in Tunisia, baharat is a mixture of dried rosebuds, pepper and ground cinnamon. In the Arab Gulf, loomi (dried black lime) and saffron may also be used in kebsa, also called Gulf baharat.

Since I live in the Levante, I am going to give you the baharat I know, one used by Arabs in Israel. I’d be happy to know how it’s different in places near by.

Here’s how you make your own baharat:

Baharat Recipe
1 tbsp ground cardamom pods (the black seeds inside)
1 tbsp ground dry ginger
½ tbsp ground nutmeg
1 tbsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
½ tbsp allspice*

*Like me, if you don’t have an allspice on hand, you can simply make your own by combining 2 parts cinnamon, one part ground nutmeg and one part ground cloves.

You can simply mix all together, and store in a dark airtight jar for use on all foods that need a little Middle Eastern kick. I prefer to buy some spices like nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom – the dried spices, and grind them whole in my Vitamix machine (which also makes a killer ice-cream).

You can also use a mortar and pestle as shown in the video below.

The dry container that you use for grinding flour is the one you use for making baharat. Enjoy!

https://www.greenprophet.com/2017/01/baharat-blend-make-your-own-mouth-watering-arabian-spice-mix/feed/ 0
The White House Garden gets support to endure from Burpee seed company https://www.greenprophet.com/2016/10/white-house-kitchen-garden-burpee/ https://www.greenprophet.com/2016/10/white-house-kitchen-garden-burpee/#comments Thu, 13 Oct 2016 09:13:53 +0000 http://www.greenprophet.com/?p=113045 michelle-obama-white-house-garden

Michelle Obama has made America’s gardening great and she’s now laying down roots so the gardening tradition will continue even after her family leaves the White House this January. Obama created the garden in 2009, and made sure to expand it twice so it will be hard to plow under by the next family. She’s expanding and improving it so it will endure, along with the American values of gardening to discourage obesity, and get kids outdoors.

The garden started at 1100 square feet to more than double in size at 2800 square feet. It has walkways, wooden tables and benches. A stone reads: “White House Kitchen Garden, established in 2009 by First Lady Michelle Obama with the hopes of growing a healthier nation for our children.”

A new endowment by the seed and home gardening company, W. Atlee Burpee Company, and The Burpee Foundation will keep Obama’s dream alive. While there is no White House law that must keep the garden alive, Burpee’s latest $2.5 million donation will ensure that it is tended to and thrives into the future, as Michelle has intended as a legacy to her husband’s time in Office.

Burpee Seeds, officially W. Atlee Burpee & Co., is a seed company that was founded by Washington Atlee Burpee in 1876.

burpee vintage-burpee burpee-seeds

According to Venelin Dimitrov, a senior manager at Burpee, regardless of who moves into the White House, Michelle’s garden can live on: “The idea is to preserve the legacy left by First Lady Michelle Obama,” he tells Green Prophet.

Dimitrov, a specialist in flowers, helped create the special seed blends that were donated for distribution at U.S. national parks.

Honey bees are on a swift decline, and Monarch butterflies are now considered endangered. By encouraging people to plant flowering plants, we can ensure that pollinator food such as fruits and many vegetables that will continue to feed us into the future.

Dimitrov says that it’s also about historical preservation to have a garden in the White House: “Most of the Founding Fathers were farmers and gardeners and it’s a neat idea to have a garden in the White House similar to President Jefferson’s garden in Monticello” where he grew more than 300 varieties of plants.

Thomas Jefferson's food garden at Monticello.

Thomas Jefferson’s food garden at Monticello.

“If we had established it 100 years ago, every president could have left their mark. Now it has been started by Mrs. Obama and can be there for every Administration after the Obamas. It would be neat to see, 100 years from now, how the garden evolves,” he says.

The mission is to get people up, moving and gardening; but Dimitrov holds off giving us the list of what the White House Kitchen Garden is growing, saying we shouldn’t try to mimic what’s being grown there, since every region and state has different species and varieties that work best locally.


White House Garden, 2012. Planted: Mustard Greens, Dill seed, and five varieties of potatoes, including red Sangre, purple fingerlings from Peru called Purple Sion; Mountain Rose, Red Thumb and Canola Russet.

The point is that if our leaders set an example, the people will follow.

There is diabesity and obesity and “from a gardening point of view we would like to see people broaden their horizons by getting outdoors and growing plants.”

What’s exciting to grow? Dimitrov says that exotic fruits such as figs are becoming popular with Americans, as are jujubes and goji berries. There are lots of new fruit that are grown in tough climates around the world. These work well in the US as they are used to drought and do not require a lot of maintenance.


President Obama shows off the Kitchen Garden.

There are traditional vegetables that are high yield and low maintenance, such as cucumbers and melons. Urban farmers with little space should try their hands at vining plants such as peas, pole beans, and tomatoes.

Do garden Jujitsu

Dimitrov says: “It’s like garden Jujitsu. Use plans to fight the elements to your advantage. Use plants for shade if you are exposed to heat — there are excellent tomato species, such as ‘Heatwave II’.

Urban Farm School teaches you how to grow food in your city.

Urban Farm School teaches you how to grow food in your city.

“Morning Glory flowers provide plenty of shade, helping to cut down on energy bills. Even hyacinth bean; let them climb up, creating beauty to your porch, patio or roof, and an impact on your air conditioning use.”

Dimitrov says Burpee cultivates varieties of seeds that grow well in small spaces to give you great output with little requirements in terms of water and attention.

Want to know what to plant? “Bush bean, ‘Beananza’ in your balcony box, tomato, ‘Patio Princess’, cucumber, ‘Spacemaster’ or small okra, like ‘Baby Bubba’, may look tiny, but they can really bring a lot of food to the table,” Dimitrov adds.

Go to Burpee.com to cultivate your next meal and family project.

https://www.greenprophet.com/2016/10/white-house-kitchen-garden-burpee/feed/ 1
Chefs’ dream garden grows in the middle of Manhattan at Farm.One https://www.greenprophet.com/2016/10/hydroponic-chef-garden-rare-herbs/ https://www.greenprophet.com/2016/10/hydroponic-chef-garden-rare-herbs/#comments Thu, 13 Oct 2016 07:09:19 +0000 http://www.greenprophet.com/?p=113017 rob-laing-farmone

Rob Laing, the founder and CEO of Farm.One.

Local, real food (#realfood) is more than a rage. It’s the new everything in food. After decades of eating shipped-in waxy veggies, greens and fruits, consumers and chefs are demanding a new kind of food. Vegetables and fruits that are local, and full of flavor. We want food with high oil and vitamin content that looks out of this world. Food that is pesticide-free.

The problem with these demands is checking all the boxes. How in the world do you grow local, fresh, tasty and diverse foods in cities like New York City where good food is more than in demand, it’s a way of life?

Going big by growing small


Farm.One a new urban farm startup located inside the Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan, has a bold new idea. Instead of going “big” as its predecessors have done, this vertical farming company has done the opposite by growing small.

Farm.One CEO and founder Rob Laing (pictured below, and very top) came from the startup world “merry-go-round”. After founding a successful VC-backed startup, he wanted to change gears. While taking chefs classes in LA Laing discovered on outings to the farmer’s markets that new flavors are transitory. No chef in the world can build a menu around a herb, spice, flower or microgreen that has a season of only 2 weeks: Laing’s idea? Build chefs dream gardens near their restaurants so unique, fresh food can be available year round.


How do they do it? With technology: Farm.One uses a special space age cultivation technique called hydroponics to grow unusual fresh herbs and plants indoors, using highly controlled processes to perfect flavors and indulge what their local chef customers desire. The company is working with a dozen local restaurants already on private orders, and offers home chefs a weekly herb and flower discovery box for only $15 a week.

Hydroponics means growing plants on water, with added nutrients and lighting. It’s also called controlled environment agriculture, greenhouse ag, or vertical or urban farming. There are lots of ways you can do it, with larger farms like Brightfarms, Gotham Greens, Farmed Here, and Aerofarms gaining notoriety for their plant factories that grow monocrops like lettuce or spinach.

Farm.One takes another angle: “we want to grow interesting crops, stuff you can’t get anywhere else –- for chefs,” Laing says.


He explains: “If you’re a farmer and you’ve got something good like a unique herb that you grow for 2 weeks of the year, you can’t share it with chefs because they build menus around special ingredients and recipe development. Sometimes chefs take months perfecting a texture and flavor.


Growing hydroponic garlic chive, mint, red-veined sorrel.

“New York has a crazy climate and then it’s hot. Its lack of local farmland and dense population means chefs end up buying basil from Israel, which is crazy. I decided that there could be an interesting niche. I don’t want to be the biggest and I don’t want to buy commodity crops.”

How does Farm.One work?

Like renting server space on a server farm: chefs work with Farm.One to determine what they want on the menu, and pay a set fee for regular deliveries, always within a hyper local 15-minute bike ride to their restaurant. Or direct orders can be placed via the website where 150 herbs, greens and flowers, some rare, can be grown to order.

Laing wants every chef in Manhattan to have a kitchen garden (like the White House!), but most “probably don’t have space or expertise on how to grow themselves. They can rent space with us and we will manage the garden for them,” he tells Green Prophet.

Yield and variety will be determined by the restaurant.


Chefs and partners visit the Manhattan farm, Farm.One

“Some chefs,” Laing notes, “want to have secrecy and I am happy to go down that route. We can keep it ninja for these chefs. We could grow something unique to them, in a particular size or in a particular flavor. And introduce new tastes to people, like wasabi arugula,” he points out.

If you want in on the new flavors, but are still an aspiring chef (at home) Farm.One also has a fresh herb subscription box which will provide you weekly flavors of pesticide-free herbs and greens –– among 150 varieties grown. All cycled to your Manhattan-based home.


While most of us don’t have a Manhattan zip code and can’t enjoy the benefits of Farm.One, we can be inspired and start growing our own at home. A trip to the local hydroponics shop for growing equipment and some heirloom seeds should satisfy some basic urges.

For more inspiration on what New York chefs want? Look to Farm.One’s catalog.

Laing’s top 7 pics of new herbs and plants for chefs to grow are:


1. Papalo – Central Mexican herb, used in sandwiches known as cemitas in central Mexico.



Bronze fennel on white background



2. Bronze fennel – At a young age has a sweetness to it. Not rubbery or chewy.



purple-ruffles-basil3. Purple Ruffles Basil  – Ruffled and jagged purple leaves, with a strong aroma of anise.




4.  Nepitella – a Tuscan herb which has disappeared from a lot of recipes. Has beautiful tiny pink flowers.



sheep-sorrel5. Sheep’s sorrel – Sour and intriguing herb, very hard to find






6. Minutina (Erba Stella) – Italian salad leaf, shaped like grass but succulent and crunchy.



pluto-basil7. Pluto Basil – small, highly-fragrant leaves, perfect for garnish



Check out subscription options at Farm.One

https://www.greenprophet.com/2016/10/hydroponic-chef-garden-rare-herbs/feed/ 1
Climb Mount Kilimanjaro with Oola’s modesty-wear for Muslims https://www.greenprophet.com/2016/10/climb-mount-kilimanjaro-with-oolas-modesty-wear-for-muslims-and-jews/ https://www.greenprophet.com/2016/10/climb-mount-kilimanjaro-with-oolas-modesty-wear-for-muslims-and-jews/#respond Sun, 09 Oct 2016 09:48:37 +0000 http://www.greenprophet.com/?p=113002 oola-head-covering

Amid news of France’s overturned ban of the full-body “burkini” swimsuit, Playboy and Women’s Running magazines featuring women in hijab for the first time the hijab is turning heads and making headlines. The hijab or face-covering for Muslim women needs to be comfortable and sport-relevant says Qatar-based founders of Oola Sportswear. They just launched an Indiegogo campaign that not only celebrates modest activewear such as comfortable head coverings and workout suites, but they bring much-needed athletic wear technology to the segment.


The Oola team launched a campaign Oola Sportswear: Activewear That’s Got You Covered on crowdfunding platform Indiegogo on Sunday morning (the start of the week in Qatar, where the team is based). With a goal of $15,000, the campaign offers elegant, functional, loose-fitting activewear and sports hijabs that finally make outdoor sports accessible to women who prefer coverage with their workout gear.


Most women’s sportswear is tight, short, low-cut, or designed in short-sleeved-only options. For women who value modesty out of personal values or religious practice — such as those of the Islamic, Orthodox Judaic, Coptic Christian, or other faiths — finding athletic wear that performs and comes in desired styles is a tiring hunt.

Good activewear, depending on the sport, is quick-drying, breathable, and/or water-repellent. Coming across attire that is made of suitable sports fabrics and enables a woman to stay covered fashionably in comfort is all too uncommon.

Experiencing this struggle themselves, Oola co-founders Haya Al Ghanim and Amina Ahmadi decided to design activewear that has all of the above. “While we were training for a Mount Kilimanjaro hike, we really wanted to train outside, but we were really struggling to find something to wear that was appropriate for training outdoors,” says co-founder Amina. “We knew at that point that we wanted to do something about it, but it was the experience of Kili itself that brought Oola to life. We made up our mind that we were going to go back home and do something about it.”

More about Oola Sportswear

Oola Sportswear is a modesty-inspired fashion brand that provides loose-fitting, contemporary activewear for women who prefer more coverage for outdoor activities. Our vision is to promote a healthy lifestyle by making outdoor sports accessible for our clients.


Oola believes that every woman possesses the strength to push boundaries, redefine limits, and overcome challenges. Equipped with the right tools, a woman can unlock her potential, achieving goals that may have seemed unreachable, enjoying experiences that seemed limited, and inspiring communities around them. Oola provides activewear that will enable women to push their fitness goals and challenge their limits. To plant a seed of empowerment is all it takes to lose one’s inhibitions. Oola is that seed.

Support Oola here!

https://www.greenprophet.com/2016/10/climb-mount-kilimanjaro-with-oolas-modesty-wear-for-muslims-and-jews/feed/ 0
City mapping for refugees locked in a concrete jungle https://www.greenprophet.com/2016/10/city-mapping-for-refugees-locked-in-a-concrete-jungle/ https://www.greenprophet.com/2016/10/city-mapping-for-refugees-locked-in-a-concrete-jungle/#respond Sat, 08 Oct 2016 20:02:44 +0000 http://www.greenprophet.com/?p=112984 green-balloon-lebanon-2Palestinian refugees in Lebanon have been living in a concrete jungle for decades. Unlike the tents and temporary conditions of Syrian refugees in Jordan, Palestinian refugees in Lebanon have put down roots. More than 400,000 refugees live in a labyrinth of concrete structures, built one on top of the other.

It’s a mess, but volunteers now plan on making some “green” sense out of the madness.

Claudia Martinez Mansell has launched Citizen science in a refugee camp on Kickstarter to collect funds to help her create maps of the Bourj Al Shamali refugee camp.

We’ve participated in balloon mapping projects in the West Bank. The notion goes like this: how can we save or better a situation or environment if we don’t know what’s there? A low-cost to build accurate maps is by sending weather balloons up above the city, with an always on camera taking photos from multiple directions. These images can later be sewn together to create a comprehensive map.

We take maps of our towns and cities for granted, and applications like Google Maps has made us more aware and curious about locations far away.

But such maps don’t provide the resolution needed to give answers like: where should we build an urban garden? A playground for children? Recycling centers? How is power and water distributed through the city, if at all?



Mansell, who’s been connected to the refugees for 2 decades reasons that when the citizens can make where they live, they can analyse, improve, green, and take charge of their environment.


The Kickstarter campaign is looking to raise $12,500 for:

1. The completion and production of the map of the camp, building on several months of self-funded balloon-mapping that have already been carried out.

2. Funding the remaining transportation costs associated with bringing a few mappers to speak about this project at events in the United States.




We like the idea, especially because we already see urban farms dotting the horizons of the refugee camps. Support the campaign here on Kickstarter. We did.

Read here about the bigger initiative.

https://www.greenprophet.com/2016/10/city-mapping-for-refugees-locked-in-a-concrete-jungle/feed/ 0
Algae returns as fuel for our future https://www.greenprophet.com/2016/10/algae-returns-as-fuel-for-our-future/ https://www.greenprophet.com/2016/10/algae-returns-as-fuel-for-our-future/#respond Thu, 06 Oct 2016 18:12:23 +0000 http://www.greenprophet.com/?p=112978 arabs, jews, algae, Kibbutz Ein Shemer, Eco-Greenhouse, agriculture, biofuels, wastewater treatment, food, medicine

Researchers at Tel Aviv University have revealed how microalgae produce hydrogen, a clean fuel of the future, and suggest a possible mechanism to jumpstart mass production of this environmentally-friendly energy source. Their results have been published in back-to-back studies in Plant Physiology and Biotechnology for Biofuels.

The research was led by Dr. Iftach Yacoby, head of TAU’s renewable energy laboratory, and Rinat Semyatich, Haviva Eisenberg, Iddo Weiner and Oded Liran, his students at the School of Plant Sciences and Food Securityat TAU’s Faculty of Life Sciences.


Researchers in the past believed that algae only produce hydrogen in the course of a single microburst at dawn lasting just a few minutes. But Dr. Yacoby and his team used highly sensitive technology to discover that algaeproduce hydrogen from photosynthesis all day long. Armed with this discovery, the team harnessed genetic engineering to increase algae‘s production of this clean energy source 400 percent.

Increasing algae‘s output of hydrogen

Laboratory tests revealed that algae create hydrogen with the assistance of the enzyme hydrogenase, which breaks down when oxygen is present. The researchers discovered effective mechanisms to remove oxygen so hydrogenase can keep producing hydrogen.

“The discovery of the mechanisms makes it clear that algae have a huge underutilized potential for the production of hydrogen fuel,” said Dr. Yacoby. “The next question is how to beef up production for industrial purposes — to get the algae to overproduce the enzyme.”


Some 99% of the hydrogen produced in the US comes from natural gas. But the methods used to draw hydrogen from natural gas are toxic — and wasteful.

Answering the need for clean energy

“I grew up on a farm, dreaming of hydrogen,” said Dr. Yacoby. “Since the beginning of time, we have been using agriculture to make our own food. But when it comes to energy, we are still hunter-gatherers. Cultivating energy from agriculture is really the next revolution. There may be other ways to produce hydrogen, but this is the greenest and the only agricultural one.

“The world burns in just one year energy it took the earth over a million years to produce,” Dr. Yacoby continued. “We must stop being hunters and gatherers of energy. We must start producing clean energy — for our children and for our children’s children.”

Dr. Yacoby is now researching synthetic enzymes capable of increasing hydrogen production from microalgae to industrial levels.

https://www.greenprophet.com/2016/10/algae-returns-as-fuel-for-our-future/feed/ 0
The Silicon Valley for agriculture to be built in Denmark https://www.greenprophet.com/2016/09/new-agro-food-park-for-denmark-to-change-the-core-of-a-broken-system/ https://www.greenprophet.com/2016/09/new-agro-food-park-for-denmark-to-change-the-core-of-a-broken-system/#respond Sun, 18 Sep 2016 07:38:13 +0000 http://www.greenprophet.com/?p=112813 denmark-food-park

We all need better food in our lives.

Now Denmark is putting its stake in the ground and ploughing ahead with new ideas. It’s working with leading architects and is making investments in a making huge investments in a balanced whole-systems and ecological approach to growing our food.


William McDonough + Partners, GXN, 3XN Architects, BCVA and Urland have put together the master plan the Agro Food Park (AFP), which is built on an existing hub of agricultural innovation center. The firms designed a connection between research and business and urban agriculture to the needs of food of tomorrow can be me without further degrading our planet.


The original food park opened in 2009 and is owned and run by The Danish Agriculture & Food Council. William McDonough + Partners said it is expected to “create synergies among the many existing tenants while building an ecosystem inviting new entities to further strengthen products and expertise developed within the hub.”

Related: Creating a food and expert network for urban farmers


“Embracing Agro-Urban Ecosystem Design, the AFP treats urban and agricultural development together as a unified, productive and restorative ecosystem,” said William McDonough + Partners.


“By integrating the carbon cycle and other ecological processes into large scale urban systems and their surroundings – buildings and energy flows, water cycles and wastewater treatment, land use and food production – the AFP creates economic value within the urban and agricultural infrastructure.”

https://www.greenprophet.com/2016/09/new-agro-food-park-for-denmark-to-change-the-core-of-a-broken-system/feed/ 0