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the iraqi seed project

Posted: August 24 2010


In the days of yore a farmer gave (these) instructions to his son... Your implements should be ready. The parts of your yoke should be assembled. Your new whip should hang from a nail -- the bindings of the handle of your old whip should be repaired by artisans. The adze, drill and saw, your tools and your strength, should be in good order. Let braided thongs, straps, leather wrappings and whips be attached securely. Let your sowing basket be checked, and its sides made strong. What you need for the field should be at hand. Inspect your work carefully. - from "the first farmer's almanac," an ancient tablet from 1500 BCE found in Nippur, Iraq in 1949
Your gardens and local farmer's markets are likely in full bloom as we enjoy the last weeks of summer; look around at some of the bounty: cucumbers, melons, apricots, grapes, peas, onions, okra... these crops have been growing in Iraq for thousands of years.  Maybe when you take your next bite you will think of the farmers in Iraq who are enjoying similar tastes and textures so far away.

• Editing begins: Since returning from our June filming trip, we have been editing and organizing footage, photographs and audio files. We hope to share some of the material with you soon... To do this we need to build our website's library: You can help!

Seeds of Kurdistan: We are happy to announce the launching of our latest initiative. This website celebrates the agricultural traditions of Iraqi Kurdistan and will also provide training materials for the region's farmers.
• Facebook- you can now keep track of the latest news of agricultural activities in Iraq as well as what's happening at The Iraqi Seed Project by following us on facebook.

The Tiziano Project just wrapped up a summer workshop in Erbil, training local journalists in new media skills. Watch the video Zana Mamundy, one of their students, produced about grain growers in Mahkmour.

Wheat Fleet: August 19-21st we are floating a portion of the Willamette River to promote local grain growing in Oregon.

In June we visited the Farmer Kamal outside of Erbil, after a tour of his farm he invited us for a delicious home-grown lunch. Here is a very simple recipe for bulgur, or cracked wheat, prepared the way farmer Kamal makes it:
-2 cups bulgur
-1 onion
-olive oil or ghee

-4 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth
-salt, and seasonings to taste
Chop the onions and sauté them in oil with a heavy bottomed pot, add the bulgur and seasonings, pour over the broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until broth is nearly absorbed. Turn off heat and allow to steam for 5 minutes.

This Fall The Iraqi Seed Project is going on tour, collecting messages for Iraqi farmers and offering a sneak peak of our film; contact us about scheduling a farm visit, rough cut screening or fundraising event at a community center or school in your area. Check the website for upcoming dates in San Francisco, Philadelphia and Washington DC.
As you know, we are in the process of editing and building The Iraqi Seed Project's library on our website. We are currently operating with zero funding. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation through Arts Engine, our fiscal sponsor, so that we may continue our work!
And of course... we are still collecting images, articles, essays, videos and links for the library— remember you don’t have to be an expert to participate. Be part of our knowledge exchange and share what you know about Iraq, sustainable agriculture, seed saving, biodiversity, or home gardening.