How Small Farms Reclaim Culture in Palestine

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Food sovereignty is an urgent issue in communities around the world, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic led to further disruptions in the already fragile global food supply chains. In Palestine, where traditional farming has been a way of life for millennia (and perhaps where farming began, according to historians), connections with land and food sovereignty are intrinsic to cultural identity. Palestinian people’s access to land and food has been seriously strained since long before the pandemic due to Israel’s policies and practices directed toward Palestine, and the pandemic’s recent impacts on global food systems have heightened existing food insecurity issues in the region. Small farmers around the world have faced struggles for years, but as a Washington Post article put it in 2017, “Palestinian farmers really have it rough.”

“In a century of Palestinian struggle against colonialism, land, in all of its forms and meanings, has constituted the ethos of our struggle and culture,” said Soheir Asaad in a recent webinar held in honor of Palestinian Land Day that Palestinians commemorate on March 30 every year. Asaad works as an advocacy team member for the Rawa Fund that supports local, community-led solutions to the issues Palestinians face. She was the moderator of a free online webinar on April 5 titled, Blossoming in Palestine: Community Organizing Around Land.

“The Zionist dispossession of our land, theft of natural resources, and ethnic cleansing have been part and parcel of a systematic, holistic targeting of the very existence of a Palestinian society,” she said during the webinar.

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