Available seeds at Disarming Design from Palestine:
— Abu Samara (wheat)
— Bamyeh / Okra (ladies’ fingers)
— Molokhia (Jute Mallow)
— Sabanikh (spinach)
— Yakteen (gourd)
— Zinnia Sabella (flower, edible petals)
— Bitinjan (Eggplant)
On top of the political violence, Palestinian farmers also face the dangers of agribusiness with its corporate seed production and land dominance. But many of these farmers are the heroes who have been safeguarding the precious seeds, and the knowledge that these carry. Palestinian Heirloom seed varieties are under threat; many have gone extinct. These seeds have been passed down to us over the centuries, and carry in their genes the stories and the spirits of Palestinian indigenous ancestors. Aside from their cultural significance, these seeds carry options for our future survival as we face climate change and the erosion of agro-biodiversity worldwide. As such, it is urgent that we save heirloom seeds, and propagate them.
Founded by Vivien Sansour, the Palestinian Heirloom Seed Library project seeks to preserve and promote heritage and threatened seed varieties, traditional Palestinian farming practices, and the cultural stories and identities associated with them. Based in the Village of Battir, a UNESCO World Heritage Site outside Bethlehem, the library also serves as space for collaborations with artists, poets, writers, journalists, and other members to showcase and promote their talents and work. Working closely with farmers, the Library has identified key seed varieties and crops threatened with extinction, and provides opportunities to inspire local farmers and community members to actively preserve their bio-culture and recuperate their local landscape.
The library has also launched a global platform for conversations about bio-cultural heritage. Its Traveling Kitchen is a mobile venue for social engagement in different communities, promoting cultural preservation through food choices.
Established 2014, Bethlehem, Palestine
Learn more about the Palestinian Heirloom Seed Library and the work of Vivien Sansour on this website.
For more on Abu Samara, listen to this song dedicated to the wheat by Zaid Hilal: Abu Samra أبو سمرة حبة القمح .