Make Rojava Green Again! Picture Gallery – June 2018

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Our Make Rojava Green Again crowdfunding campaign to publish a book sharing information about the ecological struggle here in Northern Syria is underway, and the book is being prepared for publication – you can learn more about how to support the project from afar here.

Here on the ground in Rojava, meanwhile, our practical efforts to keep our garden and fledgling tree nursery are continuing apace. Friends are awake at 5AM each morning, labouring to keep the garden green in the sweltering heat.

Our little trees are growing and getting stronger and stronger. Some of our more “special” trees, like the avocado, grapefruit and lemon, are growing very well.

We do our best to defend them against the burning sun and the high temperatures – not always an easy task. To be able to grow more trees in the months and years to come we have begun to erect a large shelter to protect the young saplings from the sun.

Across the last few weeks, members of the commune have been going daily to work in a nearby tree nursery. There are thousands of trees planted there, and we’ve been digging and weeding the soil as well as learning and sharing a lot of knowledge together with friends from the local area. Olive, pistachio and many fruit trees are planted there and some are already giving fruit.

The tree nursery is part of a very big co-operative, which stores the wheat harvest of the entire region in enormous depots and silos. This cooperative takes also care of the further processing of the wheat and sell the finished bread at a very cheap price. Lentils and chickpeas are also processed in the cooperative, ensuring local people can always access nutritious and affordable food.

The idea of the tree nursery is not only to produce food or take care of the ecological situation in the region. They also want to motivate people to build up up smaller and decentralized tree nurseries. It is only in this way that we can truly make Rojava green again.

Our ideas are really developing at the nursery, as we see how people here grow trees and what is needed for this work. We want to continue strengthening our connection to this and other local structures. Thinking with a long-term perspective, we can work very well in coordination with one other.

We are also thinking and researching deeply about a watering system for our trees. In the next month we can hopefully say some more concrete things about this theme. The plan is to recycle some of the “greywater” we use to cook and clean in the academy for watering purposes. For this project we are searching for people who have knowledge about this theme – professional experts, experienced amateurs, and green activists from anywhere in the world. So contact us if you want to participate!

In general our garden is looking increasingly brown, but we are doing our best to save the lives of our plants. Some of our more “special” trees, like the avocado, grapefruit and lemon, are growing very well.  We have planted very many different types of melons, and they are growing well. We look forward to enjoying them in the next weeks, as the temperatures keep climbing higher and higher.

Figuring out which plants can thrive here is an ongoing learning process. We have seeds from Northern Syria and the surrounding regions, but also from Greece and Catalonia. Slowly we are discovering which plants are growing well and which not. We keep on learning, and can already eat some of our self-grown vegetables.

Heval Şiyar