Vivien Sansour, an agronomist from Beit Jala, is collecting seed varieties handed down by Palestinian farmers for generations with the aim of developing a seed library which aims to preserve seeds of crops that once grew across historic Palestine.
The Palestinian Heirloom Seed Library will be unveiled today in Battir, a West Bank village. Eventually, the library have a residence at the science studio of the AM Qattan Foundation, a Ramallah-based independent institute focusing on cultural and educational development.
Vivien Sansour, the library founder said, “What’s more symbolic and yet literal than the seed itself?” Farmers who have been role models in terms of developing seeds and passing them down over generations, are now losing this identity. We, as Palestinians, are losing what makes us who we are, which is our seed.”
“We make it a point to highlight that this is not a seed bank but a library, because you plant a seed that’s borrowed with the hope that it will grow, and you return it so other generations can make use of it,” said Nader Wahbeh, director of the science education project at the Qattan Foundation.
Cultivating the land is a central theme in Palestinian culture and identity. Farming is a livelihood that connects Palestinians with their land, and has withered over the years under the strain of the Israeli occupation.
(PC, Al Jazeera)