May 29, 2013  By Jewish National Fund  Category: Environment,

The Young Farmers Incubator Project

Gush Katif was made up of 17 Israeli settlements in the southern Gaza strip. In August 2005, the Israeli army moved the 8,600 residents of Gush Katif to Israel. They were evicted from the area and their homes demolished as part of Israel's unilateral disengagement plan from the Gaza Strip.

Faced with the myriad of challenges to starting over, a group of residents from the former Gush Katif settlement of Netzarim established a new community in the Halutza region of the Negev.  This group of pioneers have devised a strong, comprehensive and integrated vision for restoring families and communities. They have worked tirelessly to develop essential social and educational programs and opportunities for the families living in the new community of B’nai Netzarim.

The Young Farmers Incubator Project was designed as a way to attract young families of former Gush Katif evacuees to B’nai Netzarim – a community looking to grow.  The project provides each new family with the resources and education from which to successfully grow their own agricultural business.  Each participant in the project is provided an accomplished and knowledgeable mentor as well as their own greenhouse, which they can use to grow their own fruits, vegetables and plants. The project is currently aimed at helping 3-4 young farmers at a time for between 1-3 agricultural seasons, each lasting 10 months. They are then replaced by new young farmers, so that the community and opportunities can continue to flourish.

This project provides an opportunity that doesn’t exist anywhere else in Israel – to learn the skills of farming while building a new business for oneself.  An indicator of both the need for and the success of the project is the waiting list for the next round of screening.