We got lost on the way to reach the farm and ended up in the wrong house (but found it was their relative's house). The woman opened the door and seemed to say (because I did not fully understand Arabic), "Well, just sit down," and kindly invited us to tea with freshly picked zathar from her garden.
While enjoying the zathar tea, I recognized the countless olive trees around the house. Olive trees do not need to take care besides cutting branch and weeds, she said. Even watering is not required because rain water is enough to grow them. Two thousand olives can be picked from their farm and they are brought to the oil press which is near the farm. The family sells the olive oil to Jordanian family.
If you release chickens where you want to make good soil, they will scratch and till the soil with their feet (this is known as chicken tractors). With the help of animals, work can be done efficiently. They also produce eggs for food and what's more, they are adorable.
Composting is a method of turning food into fertiliser instead of throwing it away as rubbish. There are cases of rotting and insect infestation, but if the food can be fermented properly, there is no smell and no insect infestation. Here, black sheets are used to collect sunlight so that the decomposition of the microorganisms can proceed.
It also has uses other than composting. They make dried pomegrenates powdered and turned into oil, which can be used as a stomach remedy. It seems the effects of pomegranates on health controversial...but I'm very curious to learn more about the nutrition. It would be great to be able to use them in a variety of ways if you harvest more than you eat.
③土質を変えるカバークロップ/Cover crop changes the soil quality
Cover crops are a technique where crops are used primarily to prevent soil erosion and nutrient loss, rather than for harvesting. Here, they are experimenting to see what changes in soil quality occur when the acidity of the soil is increased by a pomegranate cover crop.
Companion plants is planting certain combinations of plants together (e.g. chives x tomatoes) to make them less likely to attract insects. This technique is an alternative to pesticides such as insecticides. Pesticides are convenient, but they deplete the soil and are not a sustainable method.
In this region of 17 villages, a law banning the use of pesticides was created by the local people. It's incredible that they decided on their own that the best way to protect the natural environment. This spirit of self-government is way too progressive...! 😮
The woman further says, "Monsanto may be valued in the US, but here we value the environment. That's why we don't use Monsanto seeds and we don't use pesticides. We don't have to depend on them, but we can make good choices for the environment with a little ingenuity."
Mulch is a method of covering soil with weeds and other materials to prevent soil drying and weed growth. Here, leaves from trees pruned in urban areas in Jordan were taken before they were thrown away and reused as mulch. This kind of urban linkage is also attractive.
A system for purifying domestic wastewater, as described in Farm report vol. 1, by gradually laying down smaller and smaller stones from larger stones, which then act as a filter. This water is then reused for watering. In Jordan, an arid region with low rainfall, it is really important to make the best use of water without wasting it.
Jordan is dry and at first glance does not seem to be suitable for agriculture, but the woman says, “Drying is also thing” and can be advantage. Such an attitude is impressive😳✨ She says that some of the okra harvested is stockpiled as food for the winter.
An ant is carrying a grain of barley. It looks a loss, but the woman misses it, saying that it is fine as it is. On this farm, the attitude was not anthropocentric, but rather they always ask themselves whether this will benefit the environment and the community or not. Increased profit for oneself alone is not a goal here. The women said that there is an option to receive funding from 'big institutions', including international organisations, to farm, but 'we don't make that choice'. Rather than taking part in plans by 'big institutions' to increase their 'economic richness', they wanted to value more the richness of the natural environment that surrounds them and the richness of their social relationships.
If you want to support a farm in an arid and poor region, why not propose a method of permaculture? So I wrote this plan and presented it at Tobitate, and then many people said it was interesting, and some even said I should consider export to expand the market.
During my stay in Jordan, I happened to meet an organic farmer. What was being done there was exactly permaculture. But they did not adopt permaculture from abroad (permaculture is an English word in the first place). They said that they were practising what had originally been passed down to them as wisdom from their ancestors, and that it just happened to coincide with permaculture. I was trying to teach them eroquently something there, as a menber of "well-orderd society", rather than learning from them. Without knowing what 'profit', 'richness', 'wealth' meant there.
Aquaponic systems grow plants in soilless installations. Water is the main carrier to supply nutrients to the roots of the plants, while other materials such as peat, volcanic rock and rockwool can be used to provide physical support for the roots.
By circulating water through the system, the roots of the plants are provided with nutrient-rich water and oxygen. The nutrients can come from different sources. In conventional systems this includes, but is not limited to, compost tea, and organic or chemical fertiliser.
Aquaponic systems combine hydroponics with aquaculture - the process of raising aquatic animals, such as fish, snails or prawns. In a tank, in conventional aquaculture, the accumulation of the animal’s waste in the water increases the toxicity and brings about the need to filter the water, resulting in a wasteful by-product. In aquaponics, the water from agriculture is fed to a hydroponic system, in general, the aquaculture basin containing the animals is followed by a setting basin to remove fine particles and a biofilter where bacteria can grow that convert ammonia into nitrates. These nitrates are nutrients for the plants.
The combination of both systems results in an efficient technique where the by-products of the aquatic animals provide nutrients for the plants, and the plants filter the water which returns back to the aquaculture basin. The result is a harvest of fish and vegetables.
Similar to soil-based crops, soilless grown plants have pH and nutrient preferences that are integrally incorporated in the design of every system and its nutrient composition.
The biggest benefit of soilless agriculture is its reduction in water consumption and space usage. It can save up to 90% of water used for the same crop size compared to regular agriculture techniques.
このおしゃれなオブジェは「Seed to Eat」という名前で、エアロポニックスを用いて果物、野菜、ハーブを有機的に栽培するために設計された、先進的な農業装置。従来の栽培方法に比べて必要な水の量が75％も節約できる。各タワーにつき4家族が1年中食料が得られるように設計されている。
Aeroponics - Soilless Agriculture
Aeroponic systems grow plants in soilless installations, The main difference with hydroponics and aquaponics is the absence of a growing medium to support the plant. Water is the main carrier to supply the required nutrients to the roots of the plants. In an aeroponic system, the plants are grown in a closed or semi-closed environment, in which the lower stem and roots are suspended. These parts of the plants are sprayed with a nutrient-rich water solution. while the leaves and crown remain in the visible part of the installation. Hence, the roots are not exposed to or submerged in a flowing water source, but are hanging inside the structure and are nourished with water, oxygen and nutrients through misting.
Seed to Eat
Recycled polystyrene and cement
Seed to Eat is a technologically advanced agricultural installation designed to organically grow fruits, vegetables, and herbs. The parametric modular structure houses pods where fruits, vegetables, and herbs can grow. Plants are nurtured through an aeroponic system. As a result, it requires 75% less water than traditional growing methods. Each tower is sustainable, modular, and designed to feed four families all year around.
A wicking bed is a type of sub-irrigated growing container. It is designed with an enclosed reservoir at the bottom. Instead of watering the growing-medium from above, water is added to the reservoir through a pipe at the side of the container. Water from the reservoir moves upwards through the soil via capillary action. Using this irrigation technique, combined with mulching, heavily reduces water wastage and evaporation at the surface.
Depending on the type of crops, the microclimate and the season, the water reservoir needs to be filled every two to four weeks, making this type of growing container amazingly efficient and low-maintenance. An overflow is added to prevent the soil from being drenched, which can cause rot at the roots or kill essential bacteria in the soil.
The options for making a wicking bed vary widely, and it can be created using new or upcycled wood, buckets, bathtubs, and storage boxes.
The Urban Pigeon Tower is an urban acupuncture intervention that touches on issues of urban biodiversity and sustainable food production within cities. A modern structure that can be installed anywhere in the city, the pigeon tower is a small-scale food production system, a valuable resource for soil building and crop production, and a gateway to nature that aims to expand our urban compassion footprint and rewild the city as a rich multi-species ecosystem. In many cities around the world, pigeons are part of daily life. They can be found on rooftops, in parks and public squares, on street lights, or circling in flocks above the skyline. Yet, urban wildlife is declining fast in the absence of proper plans for urban conservation, and pigeons, along with other birds, are increasingly losing nesting location as cities default to glass and steel. Pigeon droppings help in building nutrient-rich soil, limit greenhouse gas emissions, and protect groundwater, rivers, and oceans from nitrate contamination. Many cultures see pigeon droppings as the primary reason for raising pigeons, harvesting and applying it to various crops and food growing systems. To improve the urban ecology and the liveability of our cities, it is crucial to bring animals back into the realm of city planning and urban agriculture. Rewilding the city into a rich, multi-species ecosystem addresses urban ecology, animal rights and urban biodiversity. Its tangible scope spans fields of architecture, urban agriculture, permaculture, and animal systems design.
While large green areas in cities are becoming more rare, smaller public gardens are also disappearing due to the rampant construction of large real estate projects. Urban hives proposes to reintroduce the garden in parking lots (and potentially other public hard-surfaced spaces), where the space can both be used to grow food for the neighborhood and provides an important pollination spot for urban bees. Bees play a crucial role in the maintenance of our ecosystem, but are at increasingly risk of extinction.
The proposed car-sized lightweight, modular, scaffolded structure, is erected at car height, providing a shaded area beneath and a garden above. Each module is low-cost and can be multiplied to create a site specific communal garden.
Population growth and climate crisis. Under these, food security and food safety have become major concerns. With the production of agricultural goods growing to opaque industrial and factory-scale proportions, we need a moment of counter-consideration and introspection. What is the impact of food consumption and patterns on the environment, economy, health, and society? How can we be independent and resilient in a rapidly changing world? How can we deepen our connection to our cities, communities, and the land through food? With these questions in mind, attention to the potential of urban agriculture is gaining momentum in many parts of the world, including Jordan.
Urban agriculture, or urban farming, is the practice of cultivating food in and around urban areas. It covers a wide range of activities, from growing vegetables, herbs, and fruit trees to keeping animals like poultry, pigeons, bees, and fish. It has the following benefits:
Fresh food - having your own farm will not only supply fresh food for you and your family but will also generate income.
Community - It is an opportunity to share with your neighbors, resulting in stronger bonds, reduced social barriers, and a stronger neighborhood.
Economy - It contributes to a self-sufficient economy: an inclusive circular arrangement in which materials and resources are produced and consumed.
Environment - It helps us in reducing our carbon and water footprints and delivers us fresher food by producing and consuming closer to home.
City- It creates green pockets inside the urban fabric, which increases liveability.
Health - The exposure to greenery brings us better mental health, and labor required to maintain a farm positively impacts our physical health.
Education - Young and old can learn from a lot of things by working on the urban farm, opening every generation up to the wonders of growing, caring and preparing food.
Urban farming contributes 14 of the UN sustainable development goals:no poverty, zero hunger, good health and well-being, quality education, gender equality, decent work and economic growth, industry innovation and infrastructure, reduces inequalities, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, climate action, and life on land and partnership.
Urban farming can be done on nearly stretch of land or neglected space. An enormous amount of untapped area in the city consists of rooftops.
Farming on top of buildings requires a more-meticulous approach than ground-level sites since rooftop climates can be significantly harsher. It is essential to assess the roof's microclimate, orientation, sun and wind exposure, and practical and technical constraint. Installations, such as plant boxes and greenhouses or cold frames, need to be firm, and crops need to be protected against the scalding sun and beating wind.
These constrains can be easily overcome through good design. The benefits of rooftop farms include:
Improving the lifespan of the roofing materials by limiting their exposure to the elements.
Boosting the insulating capacities of the root, creating a buffer for the summer heat and an insulating layer for the winter cold. (Benefit for building)
Collecting rainwater is ideal for irrigating crops, further reducing the water consumption of the farm. (Benefit for crop)
Improving the water harvesting quality of the building and the city, as the farm retains water during heavy rainfall and reduces the number of handlined surfaces greatly limiting water runoff and flood risk.
Creating a microclimate where the temperature drops, reducing the heat island effects. (Benefit for city)
I had no idea there were so many benefits to using rooftops 👀 I'll introduce some specific techniques that are attracting attention in urban agriculture in my next blog👇
Greening the Desert Projectが展開されているファームがある死海のすぐそば（Dead Sea Valley）まで、アンマンから西へ1時間ほどTAXIに乗る。TAXIのおじさんテンション高くて、ミントティー奢ってくれたり死海の側の谷で写真撮ってくれたりした。
Dead Sea Valleyはなんと世界で最も低い場所。低地という土地柄、夏は厳しい暑さだけど秋冬は過ごしやすい（つまり死海観光は秋冬がおすすめ！）。また雨季の冬には雨水が溜まるので土砂崩れの危険もあり💦植物が植えてあることで土砂崩れを防げるので、作物を育てる意義が大きいのです🌳
Dead Sea Valley is the lowest slope area in the world. It’s baking hot in summer.. but it’s comfortable in autumn and winter. In the rainy season, which is winter, the rainwater pools on the ground. Soil erosion can be prevented if more plants that store water grow.
The building is made from mud blocks, Straw blocks. Because this is built against the sunlight, it is cool in summer and warm in winter. The building is used for the classroom of a Permaculture Design Course (PDC). The students who finish the course can obtain the certificate:)
There has a natural filtering system for gray water from a kitchen and shower. It uses gravel and reeds. Reeds filter the wastewater (so that some preservation campaigns of reeds are going on in Japan).
3 steps: Gravels→ reeds →gravels (from the right side as you can see in the picture below)
The farmers see everything as valuable! There are composting toilets on this farm. The straw in the blue box is to be used when flushing to make manure. Toilet paper should be put in a trash box. After 3 months, the waste is put outside. In a year, it becomes soil compost which is good for Nitrogen trees.
Mix the waste of sheep, chickens, multi, and grass. For 1 week it is put under the chicken cage so that they cultivate it by their feet. After a week, it is put in the inner cage for another week. Repeating this process about 5 times creates good compost for fruits. The local people can buy this and baby fruit trees from this farm. They can take a shot at farming in a permaculture method!
This is a method to maximise the potential of water by using the minimum amount. It has a water pipe inside the box, and water is given from the pipe. Watering from the pipe → Going through the gravel layer → Going through the soil layer To prevent evaporations and weeds from growing, multi is covered around the plant. Extra water can be discharged from the tap attached to the wicking bed. This protects against the decay of the plants.
This is the end of the virtual tour of the Greening Dessert Project! Last but not least, all species there are originally from Jordan. This farm is the exact hub where the idea of 'localisation' is put into practice! Recommended paying a visit if you are interested in ;)