Traveling Kitchen: Reviving Ahl al Thra (People of the Soil)

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Beit Sahur Palestine

Traveling Kitchen: Reviving Ahl al Thra (People of the Soil)

Like farPicture2mers all over the world, Palestinian farmers are losing their heirloom seeds, becoming completely dependent on agri-companies for their yearly seedling and seed supply. Being forced into a system of mono cropping, these farmers are now vulnerable to middlemen who dictate prices and crop varieties. It has also forced them into abandoning their old farming traditions which were based on intercropping and crop diversity. As a result, we are facing the loss of the native seed varieties and in some cases their almost full extinction

These heirloom seeds are the products of tens of generations that have carefully selected and propagated our daily bread and our heritage. In short, these seeds have been the ancestral gift from which we gain and maintain our power and political sovereignty.

The purpose of the Traveling Kitchen: Reviving Ahl al Thra is to take advantage of this historical challenge and opportunity. We wish to join the global movement to save biological diversity by saving seeds and will, in turn, create autonomous spaces to preserve Palestinian heritage.

Picture3Hence,As part of the work of the Palestine Heirloom Seed Library,  our traveling kitchen (a kind of carrito-carriage) will visit 10 villages across Palestine and invite farmers and their communities to make traditional foods from the heirloom varieties local to their region. This food preparation will help foster a discussion about both the story of the seed and the importance of organic agriculture, seed preservation, and heirloom variety seeds. Our goal is to bring people “back to the table” to cultivate social interaction over conversations about our agricultural DNA.

This project will take place over the course of one year. It aims to engage not just in cultural preservation but cultural regeneration in which we learn about who we are and our ancestral gifts that have kept us alive for millennia.




  • Focus on 10 Villages across the West Bank with varying microclimates  
  • Engage 10-20 farmers in cultivation of old varieties
  • Identify more heirloom varieties throughout the journey and document their story
  • Create more awareness about the importance of heritage seeds
  • Conduct a cooking conversation in each village–10 Total conversations throughout the year



  • Heirloom cultivars are saved and regeneraed
  • More farmer engagement in heirloom cultivation
  • Farmers and community making healthier choices
  • Less chemical inputs used in local farms
  • Farmers become more engaged in seed saving and exchange
  • Establishment of farmers’ annual seed exchange event in Palestine
  •  Farmer knowledge is integrated and conserved in bio cultural practices



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