Project Wadi Attir is a groundbreaking initiative of a Bedouin community in the Negev desert, demonstrating an approach to sustainable dryland agriculture that leverages Bedouin traditional values, know-how and experience with modern-day science and cutting edge technologies.
Initiated by The Sustainability Laboratory and the Hura Municipal Council, the governing body of a local Bedouin township, the project showcases implementation of holistic sustainability principles developed by The Lab. It demonstrates an approach to sustainable development in an arid environment, valid and replicable locally as well as in other similar regions around the world.
Herding and Dairy Initiative
The Herding and Dairy Initiative demonstrates a modern, economically-viable model for animal husbandry that is consistent with traditional practice. It produces a variety of high-quality cheeses, and will soon utilize the full range of herding byproducts, including dairy products, bio-gas fuel, manure for fertilizer, and wool for weaving and crafts.
Medicinal Plants Initiative
The Medicinal Plants Initiative preserves, documents, and showcases traditional Bedouin knowledge in natural healing remedies and body care utilizing desert herbs. It is currently establishing a high-quality brand of healing and cosmetic products, including creams, soaps, infusion teas and essential oils.
Indigenous Vegetable Initiative
The Indigenous Vegetable Initiative involves the cultivation of a variety of authentic, indigenous desert vegetables, in order to preserve heirloom desert varieties that are disappearing from use and contribute to better nutrition within the community. A women-led training programme helps reintroduce the cultivation of indigenous vegetables on family-managed plots.
Ecosystem Restoration Initiative
The project’s Ecosystem Restoration Initiative incorporates an extensive soil enhancement, rainwater harvesting and biodiversity enrichment agenda, demonstrating an effective, low-impact approach to combatting desertification.
Integrated Infrastructure of Green Technologies
The project site is supported by an integrated infrastructure of green technologies. It includes a
pioneering hybrid wind/solar energy system, a state-of-the-art irrigation system, a bio-gas production system, a wastewater treatment system, and a compositing facility.
The Visitor, Training and Education Center
The project’s Visitor’s Center is designed to serve as an important eco-tourism destination, providing a source of income, while introducing visitors to Bedouin society, tradition and culture. The center also provides technical training for surrounding communities, acting as a source of ongoing empowerment, and it functions as a significant regional research and education center, serving primary and high schools from around the Negev.
27 September 2015
Over the years Israel has seen many initiatives and false starts to bringing tourism to its diverse communities that tend to live on the margins of society. The Beduin are a perfect example of this. The 200,000-strong community is one of Israel’s fastest growing, and also one of its poorest. In the 1970s and 1980s the country built several planned towns, such as Lakiya, for Beduin residents, but many Beduin still live in unrecognized villages, or in parts of these towns that are not recognized.
26 July 2015
Launched in 2009 with funds from a US nonprofit and the Hura Municipal Council, Project Wadi Attir combines cutting-edge Israeli approaches and traditional Bedouin knowhow to establish ecologically sound income-generating activities.
1 July 2015
The project has been designed to avoid the pitfalls of previous projects and settlements, in the hopes of preventing further erosion of Bedouin culture and sidestepping, perhaps even healing tribal fractures. It is located on land made available by the government—and unclaimed by any tribe—so that all Bedouin can participate. Women, too, can participate in culturally acceptable ways, such as making dairy products and raising medicinal plants, as well as learning skills that can be applied to home gardens. “This is a way for Bedouin to adapt to Israeli society without losing identity and to be self-sufficient, as well as to develop skills of new middle- and long-term planning—and at the same time helping Bedouin reclaim some of traditions we have lost over the last decades,” says Hura's mayor.
23 June 2015
An amazing farm project has started operating in the past year on the outskirts of the Bedouin town of Hura, close to a thicket of warehouses, factories and unapproved buildings. The goal of Project Wadi Attir is to develop a model for a sustainable desert community in the Negev. This is not a project that the know-it-all establishment forced on the Bedouin, but rather an initiative with the blessing of the Bedouin residents.