Sde Eliyahu       BIO-ORGANIC FARMING

      What is organic farming? It is a philosophical view on how Man is obliged to relate to Nature as a whole. It is written in the book of Genesis, chapter 2, verse 15: “To work the land and to guard it.” And so it can be understood, to work the land while guarding Nature as the Lord created it.

     Organic farming on Sde Eliahu began in practice in 1974. That was also the beginning of organic farming in Israel. Up until then, Israel had practiced farming with the guidelines of the manufacturers of chemicals, those for fertilizing the soil, and  those for killing insects or weeds.The turning point came with the disagreements about the use of  chemicals in farming, expecially the ones for pest control which were proving to be dangerous not just to the pests themselves, but also to other creatures which shared the surroundings.  In addition to the protest of chemicals, we saw that the ways of Nature are different from the conventional methods of farming.

     In the beginning, we tried to deal with growing organic vegetables and field crops  on 20 h of land. The original intention, if we succeeded,  was to  spread/circulate/share/distribute our knowledge with the  farming community. And so we did.

     Organic farming is uncontrovertibly connected with the principles of guarding the environment, our health, and the relationship of Man and Nature. These principles are an integral unit, which cannot be separated.  It takes a lot of dedication to make organic farming work.  It demands time, patience, and a community that is willing to commit itself to the idea.  Kibbutz Sde Eliahu is on its way to being just such a community.

     We began with the following crops: potatoes, wheat, vetch, chickpeas, sunflowers, corn, fennel, sugar beet, beet root, and others.

     Even before we began organic farming, one of our members, Yaakov Nakache, was observing and researching the insects that live on the crops, and the insects that eat the insects that live on the crops. These are known as pests and their predators.  He discovered solutions for pests that  were ruining harvests of fruit trees, dates, pomegranates, and grapes. In the last few years, all of our fruit trees have been grown organically.

     In addition to organic farming, twelve years ago we opened up a new branch on kibbutz of raising predatory insects to sell to farmers who also want to raise organic crops.  This includes a section of bees which are used to  pollinate hot-house plantings, which are not exposed to normal factors such as wild bees and wind.

     Compost is another product on our kibbutz. Both the knowledge and the methods have been circulated throughout Israel. Compost is one of the most important ingredients in the groundwork of organic farming. It replenishes the soil, using by-products of the farm, such as animal manure, and crop residues.

      In our development as an organic farm, we have made connections with other organic farmers, and also share our information with new organic farmers all over Israel.  By the end of the ‘70’s, there were tens of organic farmers in Israel, and we decided to form a national organization.The idea of organic farming slowly spread throuhgout Israel, to different agricultural areas, to a wide variety of products.

     We have followed the guidelines of international organic farming, maintaining the international standards of the organic market in Israel and abroad.

     Most of the organic produce, both fresh and processed, are exported to other countries. On Sde Eliahu, we produce and sell the following organic products: potatoes,  carrots, dates, pomegranates,  frozen corn, wheat kernels for sowing, grapes and grape juice, alfalfa, and cotton.

     In 1999, we began an organic vegetable garden for personal consumption, in which we raise a large variety of vegetables according to the season.

     Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu has been the center for the development, growth and expansion of organic farming in Israel, encouraging farmers to farm organically, by sharing knowledge acquired by experience.

     For more information, please contact Mario Levy, Director of Organic Agriculture

 
Phone: 972-4-6096695
Fax: 972-4-6096909


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