We learned more the happenings on the farm as well as some of the farm’s history. Bustan Qaraaqa was established in 2008 as a response to the ecological repercussions to the occupation. A week in the life of farmers and volunteers there consists of two main parts: on-site ecological farming and maintenance and off-site farming and water-harvesting education with the local community.
Amongst the Palestinian population, Bustan Qaraaqa invests a lot of energy to the Bedouin community–a community of nomadic tribes that have were forcibly evicted from their homes in the Negev desert by the Israeli government in both 1948 and again in 1967. Currently, the Israeli government has made earnest efforts to continue transferring all Bedouin refugees to concentrated villages in Area C (an area of eastern Jerusalem where Israel has full military and administrative control), a wide-spread plan that goes against international human rights law and compromises the Bedouin’s future cultural identity and livelihood.
Bustan Qaraaqa’s work helps counteract some of this harsh reality, by giving back power and control to the Bedouin community.
We ended our time together eating falafel with the other farmers and volunteers while taking complete advantage of the shaded outdoor seating. Our visit served as an important reminder that in the midst of a myriad of challenges in this seemingly hopeless situation, places that help harvest hope, creativity, and self-determination do indeed exist.