by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor September 13, 2012
This is an urgent call for support of the Marda Permaculture Farm, which is in dire need of financial support to bring it beyond day-to-day survival into a thriving, ecologically and economically sustainable farm and training center. At this time, its finances are at an all-time low, and immediate support is needed to maintain it until further funds are raised through produce sales and grants.
On a scanty budget of about $15,000 to $20,000 per year, the Marda Permaculture farm has hosted hundreds of international interns and volunteers, provided Permaculture Design Courses for nearly 50 local farmers, agricultural engineers, activists, and backyard gardeners, and about as many international students.
With support from local and international partners, the Marda Farm has transformed into a thriving model of all-organic local permaculture design featuring traditional Palestinian terraces, swales, a greenhouse, plant guilds, construction using natural building and recycled materials, an orchard, bees, chickens, pigeons, compost system, and much more. It is the only fully developed permaculture farm of its kind in the West Bank.
Perhaps most importantly, over the past four years the farm has gained the support of its surrounding community — the village of Marda, and become a vital source of support for local food production. Local farmers and backyard gardeners visit the site on a daily basis, receiving technical assistance and mentoring from Murad, and when available, seeds, seedlings, or extra produce.
The Farm has provided locals with economic support by hiring local laborers when finances allowed, as well as the opportunity for families to host international students for a fee. Last year, 10 families received technical support and supplies to build graywater systems on their properties, in orer to reduce precious fresh water use, reduce water bills, and thus enable more extensive gardening.
Also last year, seven families were provided with bee hives and training to care for the bees. This year we have applied for funding to support 10 more hives and a honey processor that can be used by community members. The presence of the Marda Farm, and Murad’s diligence in developing it and sharing his knowledge has led to a marked increase in backyard gardens, and production of organic produce in the village of Marda.
Each year Murad struggles to make ends meet. Without the funds to bring on a consistent administrative person to write grants, support income generating strategies, and assist with international communications, Murad becomes overwhelmed, and stressed, as financial resources continue to barely cover costs.
The Farm has an urgent need to bring on administrative support and increased local labor to help oversee management of the Farm. This will enable Murad to increase outreach activities, expand farm operations, and build a foundation of financial support and organizational capacity so that it can reach its full potential as a long-term learning site and center for cross-cultural exchange between the people of rural Palestine and the international community.
Please help us ensure that the Marda Permaculture Farm can be sustained into the future!
To find out how you can donate, please email the farm at:mardapermaculture (at) gmail.com
Note: Murad has asked me to request that Australian residents who want to donate can pay through PRI Australia, to make it easier for you. Please see different options for paying here. Please ensure to put a note that the donation is for ‘Marda Permaculture Farm’. If in doubt, please email education (at) permaculture.org.au to advise of the payment, and the method used. 100% of donated money goes to Marda. Thank you for your assistance.
Read more about Marda Permaculture Farm via the following links: