As fertile land shrinks and water crisis deepens, Palestinians are searching for different ways to feed their families.
At sunset on a warm January day, Said Salim Abu Nasser's three grandsons crouched on the ground, using bricks to crush chalk into powder for calcium to help grow vegetables in water.
Abu Nasser, 53, has grown 3,500 kilogrammes of organic produce without any soil, transforming his rooftop and concrete lot in Gaza City into an organic oasis. He grows a dozen different types of vegetables and herbs for his family, including eight children and eight grandchildren.
Using hydroponic techniques, Abu Nasser can grow twice as many crops than with conventional techniques, and he saves 90 percent more water by recycling nutrient-dense water. His broccoli, tomatoes, lettuce and cauliflower float on polystyrene squares with holes cut into them, while their roots absorb nutrients from the water.
"For six months, I don't need to change the water," Abu Nasser said.
When the power is out, his solar panels produce enough energy, even in winter, for his pipes to pump oxygen into the water for his crops. On his rooftop, he grows herbs, lettuce and peppers with aquaponic farming. The water, containing excrement from fish swimming in a barrel, is used as a vital nutrient to grow produce.
[Photo by Kurman Communications | Flickr]