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
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 70s, 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
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
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
Copyright Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu 2002
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