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Rebuilding Women Owned Farms in Gaza

We're campaigning for solidarity with women agripreneurs of Gaza so they can realize their aspirations for food sovereignty - an independent and resilient food system for Palestine and all Palestinians.

For beekeepers like Samar Al-Baa and rabbit farmers like Rheem Irhim, their farms & farming practices represent not only their own economic empowerment but food security for the local Palestinian population.

Providing residents with nutritious, locally grown food, these women farmers contribute substantially to the food systems & resilience of Palestine’s population. 

In May 2021, the densely populated Gaza strip experienced sustained bombing over eleven days. More than 50% of the women’s farms were damaged or completely destroyed.1 

Help empower these women to restore their farms & food sovereignty. Donations to this campaign will help contribute to a pool of funding for fifty women farmers affected by the May 2021 bombings, enabling these women to rebuild their farms & livelihoods and restore female-led food systems for Palestine.

THE FARMS 

Approximately 1000 women-led agri-enterprises are located within the Gaza Strip, representing a large cross-section of the country’s food system.

These women-led farms & agri-enterprises maintain seed banks of locally cultivated crops & produce a great diversity of foodstuffs - fresh vegetables & fruit, herbs, salted fish, poultry, eggs, mushrooms, cheeses, olive oil, honey and traditional ingredients such as ajweh (date paste), maftool (hand rolled couscous), stevia sweeter, jam and pickles.

Sold to local markets, the produce of these women farmers significantly contribute to the resilience of Palestine’s local food system, ensuring regular access to healthy and nutritious food for a population that has experienced great conflict & socio-economic distress as a result of the fifteen year siege of Gaza, and a 73-year war. 

THE FARMERS

With assistance from Just Food Collective, Beit e'Shai and Gaza Urban & Peri-Urban Agriculture Platform,  we were privileged to interview and profile some of the women farmers who contribute to Gaza's food systems. We'll add more stories as the campaign progresses, you can read some below by clicking on the thumbnails.

THE LANDSCAPE

Following the bombings & eleven day aerial assault of May 2021, $50 million of vegetables, field crops & fruit trees were destroyed. Another $9 million of greenhouses & crops was lost, and over $11 million worth of livestock farming.

Amongst these devastating losses, over half of the women owned farms & agrienterprises of Gaza were partially or completely destroyed. These loses worsened already existing vulnerabilities and the marginalization of female agripreneurs in Gaza. Eleven days of bombing diminished many of the economic & empowerment gains that they painstakingly achieved over decades.

THE PROJECT

Over the past two years, with the support of Gaza Urban and Peri-urban Agriculture Platform (GUPAP) these women agripreneurs have been expressing and uniting their voices through the Urban Women Agripreneurs Forum (UWAF). GUPAP has provided women farmers with capacity building in technical and managerial skills, strategic framework development, marketing, advocacy and policy influencing to defend and claim their rights. GUPAP has also provided direct in-kind support for existing enterprises to enhance their resilience and to positively cope with crisis conditions. This important work has led to many positive gains in this space, with stories of success and resilience from these women farmers being celebrated and shared.

THE FUNDS

The funds of this campaign will be used to support 50 high-priority agripreneurs and members of UWAF with 50 grants for their farms, grants which will be tailored in consultation to the farmers’ individual needs. 

Examples of how these fifty crowdfunded grants will be expensed include new machinery, livestock & seed materials, transportation facilities, communication costs, marketing development and training support.

Further, GUPAP is in the process of moving to a new office space. Campaign funds will be used to purchase vital resources to make this space safe and supportive for the members of UWAF. Working onsite with the women farmers to produce, market & sell their produce to the local Gazan community, the GUPAP office will become a workplace for women agri-peneurs to conduct their business operations. 

GIVING BACK

For the women farmers of this community, their commitment to food sovereignty extends beyond operating as self sustainable agrienterprises and contributing commercially to local food systems.

The women farmers of UWAF are committed to giving back to their community and are developing a food basket program which will provide locally grown, nutritious relief to families in  hardship. 

HOW TO HELP

That’s easy.

First, you can make a donation

Second, you can share this campaign & the stories of these women with your networks and across your social channels. 

Third, you can reach out to Sustain (jo@sustainaustralia.org) to explore if there is opportunity for you to help with events and creative fundraising initiatives. 

KEY PARTNERS

To assist GUPAP in expanding its recovery and capacity-building efforts supporting women agripreneurs experiencing hardship, Sustain, Global Gardens of Peace, Just Food Collective and EcoCARE Pacific Trust are delivering this solidarity campaign to raise $25,000 supporting fifty priority members of UWAF. 

1. As per the assessments of Gaza Urban and Peri-urban Agriculture Platform & Urban Women Agripreneurs Forum 

2. as per official data of Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of National Economy