Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Negev Desert: Strawberry Fields Forever

Greenhouses in NegevWhenever I think of them, I can’t resist that Homer Simpson-style exclamation “Mmmm, strawberries….” But do strawberry fields and the desert go together? I guess so, surprising as it is! Here are some details for the technically inclined:

General description of the method: Strawberries are grown in detached, small volume plastic foam containers in beds hanging on the greenhouse construction above the soil surface. The container is placed on a drainpipe, which enables drainage and collection of the drained water. The greenhouses are highly computerized and powered with solar energy.
Advantages of the method: Extremely high yields, optimal utilization of greenhouse area, maximum work convenience, relatively disease-free crops, relatively low costs, collection and recycling of drainage water.
Disadvantage of the method: The greenhouse construction requires special support.

And here are some pictures for the visually/romantically inclined:
Strawberries in Negev desert
Strawberries in Negev desert
Strawberries in Negev desert

Golda Meir once said, “We do not rejoice in victories. We rejoice when a new kind of cotton is grown and when strawberries bloom in Israel.“ And so they grow in the sand just about year round. I think I know exactly how Golda felt.

Please visit the web site of The Negev Foundation to learn more about sustainable desert development efforts.

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