Empowering the Gardener
EM: What inspired you to build a career in permaculture? Is it easy?
Salah: My inspiration were the small farmers in Palestine and Jordan who are struggling in the face of industrial agriculture to keep their land, to keep their families on the land, and to keep their communities dependent on the land they lived and farmed on for centuries.
These struggles are not unique to Palestine and Jordan or to the Muslim World (maybe Palestinian farmers have a unique struggle with the occupation), but in general the struggles and difficulties that small farmers face are shared by small farmers and peasants all over the world. To do something that can change their destiny we should think in global terms and work towards reaching the tipping point that will get this small idea of working with nature and not against it become a global norm.
EM: What are your own aims?
Salah: Our intention is the sustainable design and rehabilitation of land, habitat and landscape according to the methods and principles of Permaculture. But this is achieved through the education of people and the demonstration of what is achievable by working with nature, its patterns, intrinsic characteristics and constants, such as water, wind, and the sun.
EM: Is it easy teaching people about living off the land? What challenges have you faced?
Salah: Fear of change! Farmers know that what we are doing is common sense and fool proof because it's how their grandparents and ancestors used to farm and live. But to make that decision to change takes a lot of courage.
That’s why starting small is the secret, “start at your backdoor and expand from there,” is what we tell them and that’s how they can be convinced, because they are not risking much and growing their understanding, diversity and abundance at the same time, bit by bit.
EM: You mentioned educating people about permaculture. Can anyone get training, whom do you cater for?
Salah: Permaculture principles, ethics and ideas are applicable to every human being on earth...
Read the full interview here.