By Bassam Almohor
Habaq Farm in the town of Birzeit, north of Ramallah, has done away with soil and now grows leafy grains directly in nutrient-rich water to provide the market with clean and tasty salads.
On a one-dunum greenhouse farm, fed by Ein Elhamam Spring in the middle of the town, Raji Najami, 41, started his farm two years ago using a hydroponics system instead of the traditional method of farming in soil. According to Raji, the system is much cleaner, more efficient, and healthier than traditional farming and reduces the carbon footprint by avoiding the need for fertilizers and pesticides, and managing residues. Sorrel, cress, coriander, parsley, basil, kale, mustard, arugula, and various types of lettuce, among other plants, are grown on the farm.
Farming with water is revolutionary. It allows us to raise plants anywhere in the world and at any given time of the year. It also produces higher yields with fewer resources and overhead costs. With the threat of climate change, this method of farming is not affected by excessive temperature changes, and Raji is able to produce food all year round. Actually, Raji’s plants are living a good life. They do not need to waste energy on growing strong roots as they look for food. Instead, they swim in a rich controlled environment that allows them to focus on growing healthy leaves and fruits. The leaves are fresh and tasty, and the Habaq Farm is clean – no fertilizer smell or pesticides.
Visit the farm and buy your own seasonal veggies. The farm is open daily between 9:00 and 15:00, and is located next to Ein Elhamam swimming pool in Birzeit. (Location: 31.972505, 35.199588.) Contact the farm through Facebook or Instagram: @habaqfarm, or call 059-956-9066.