Jerusalem Foodsong

Food is central to our beng, our culture and our relationship to other living beings on our planet. Farming is at the core of how each person interacts with their environment. As our farming and food systems become industries, our connection to ecological living on the land is being lost. The Mideast is the ancestral home for many world foods and untapped wild food crops; yet due to the turmoil that plagues our region that biodiversity is endangered. By restoring native habitats, wild-harvesting, growing food, cooking and saving 'seeds of diversity' each of us can help restore and celebrate our irreplaceable shared food heritage rooted in Jerusalem.

Our Goals:

- To restore our local circle of farm, garden and market to kitchen and table - for healthy food for all people, and food-gardens with young people.

- To steward our land and water for ecological farming, in ways that foster the biodiversity and cultural diversity that sustains healthy land and people.

- To draw on our shared love of farming, cooking and food arts to foster coexistence between the diverse peoples of our region; through mutual understanding and practical cooperation, we will nourish the true one path - that is peace.


 Seed Exchange
& Wild Foods Buffet

Aug 19th, 2005 - SPNI - Jerusalem

2:30 - Food as Path for Cultural Restoration - Dr. Gary Nabhan
3:30 - Action-Planning
Moshe Basson, Naomi Tsur, Eilon Schwartz, Yitzik Gaziel, Ula Biran

4:30 - Heirloom Seed Exchange and Wild Food Tasting
Bring your open-pollinated seeds and wild edibles to share.


The Israeli Seed-Savers 'Zarei Dror' is a decentralized, self-organizing intitiative for the free exchange of seed and gardening resources.

Keynote Speakers


Dr. Gary Paul Nabhan

A 'Johnny Appleseed' of the remaining genetic riches of the world, Gary (an Arab-American with family roots in Lebanon) cross-pollinates traditional ethnic knowledge and cutting- edge science; working landscapes and wildness. Dr. Nabhan's books include: 'Coming Home to Eat; The Pleasures and Politics of Local Food', 'Enduring Seeds: Native American Agriculture and Wild Plant Conservation', 'Geography of Childhood - Why Children Need Wild Places', 'Forgotten Pollinators' - integrating biology, agroecology, ethnobotany, and cultural geography. Co-founder of <> and on the board of Seed-Savers Exchange. <>

Article: Listening to the Other

 Renewing Biblical Food Traditions for Today

Food historian, storyteller and restaurateur Moshe Basson, scours the hills of Jerusalem as well as local traditions and ancient writings for foodstuffs and methods for an authentic Jerusalem cuisine. Moshe tramps through unkempt fields and overgrown gardens, "sometimes in the middle of town, sometimes in the mountains," to find humble delicacies like khubeiza, a mallow akin to spinach. He plucks sage and sumac, saffron and thyme, hissop and even dandelions. Walking the ancient hills, telling stories of Jerusalem history, experimenting with cyclamen, green almonds and wild asparagus, from the childhood smells of his parents bakery in Beit Safafa to his mother's tomato and mint soup, Basson evokes the foods that have influenced Jerusalem cuisine through the generations.


Moshe Basson


Seed Exchange in the SPNI Courtyard


Dr. Gary Nabhan sharing inspiring seed teachings


Sharing our Seed


Sharing our Seed


Delicious dinner graciously hosted by Kevork Alemian and 'Chefs for Peace' at the YMCA. To learn more about this Armenian-Arab-Jewish cooperative cuisine project contact: <>


Sharing baladi and heirloom seed in Bethlehem



Jerusalem Foodsong Coordinator

Eli Rogosa <>

Contact us to be involved in:

Jerusalem FoodSong
June, 2005

A culinary arts journey into the food heritage, history and cuisine of Jerusalem;

foraging for wild foods and healing herbs,

and how to grow heirloom vegetables in ecological kitchen-garden.


Jerusalem GardenSong

July, 2005

A week course for teachers that provides the framework and practical resources to integrate

Gardening, Ecology and Torat Ha'Aretz into grade-by-grade projects.

Terra Madre: World Meeting of Food Communities - A SlowFood Event
October 20-23, 2004, Turin, Italy

Chubeisah (wild mallow)


Did you know:

The first book of the Mishnah, 'The Ways of Seeds' written down in ancient Israel between the 2nd and 5th century, is about Seeds, Farming and Blessings.

'Blessing is only possible in things hidden from sight, as it is said,
'The Lord will command the blessing with thee in thy barns.'
Blessing is only possible with things not under the direct control of the eye.

Our rabbi taught: On entering a barn to measure the new grain, say:
'May it be Thy will to send blessings on the work of our hands.'
When one begins to measure:
'Blessed be the Source of Life that sends blessings into this heap.'

But if one has already measured the grain, the prayer is in vain, because blessing is not to be found in anything that has already been weighed, measured or numbered, but only in a thing hidden from sight. " Taanith 8b

Rabbi Ahai ben Josiah said, 'He who buys grain in the market, to what may he be compared? To a child who is cut off from his mother, and although it is taken to homes of wetnurses, it is not satisfied. And he who buys bread in the market, to what is he compared? To a man who digs his own grave - a wretched, precarious existence. But he who eats of his own produce is like a child reared at his mother's breast.' Avot d'Rabbi Nathan 29a

'G-d created the world so that all shall live in pleasantness, that all shall be equal, that one shall not lord over the other, and that all may cultivate the land. However, when warrior-minded people multiplied they began to rely on their might, and left off cultivating the land an turned to robbery. '
Hochmat haNefesh 22b, Elezar Judah of Worms 13th cent.

Sataf Bustan Chai