November 30, 2013
Sde Eliyahu is an organic minded kibbutz that makes a living exclusively from agriculture. Residents live and work deriving income from vegetable fields, drying herbs, fruit plantations, dairy cows, poultry, fish ponds and more.
We had the privilege of a Biotour around the entire grounds then had lunch with everyone kibbutz style in the great hall! We learned firsthand their cutting edge biological methods including Barn Owl and Kestrel for rodent control and Donkey for weed management.
Crops are rotated from one spot to another to give soil a chance to recover, plastic is used for weed killing when fallow. Weeds are hand removed or burned until the plants are a certain height, then left alone to grow naturally. Harvesting is also done by hand mostly.
Irrigation systems are vast yet simple. Fish pond water is running through these lines. Though it's hot, he kibbutz kids don't play in it because it stinks! This box houses barn owls, each can consume up to 3,500 rodents per year.
In the date plantations there was a problem with Jackals biting through the irrigation lines to have a drink, the lines were moved up six feet and are strung throughout the trees. Birds are used to naturally control insect and the army donates used ammunition boxes which, when nailed to a tree, make perfect birdhouses.
Our visit wrapped up with a video presentation on biological insects. This amazing business is BioBee the production of bumble bees for natural pollination of greenhouse crops and open field orchards. Along with the productions of other biological insects to control crop pests. One astonishing environmentally-friendly solution for control of the Mediterranean fruit fly is Sterile Insect Technique. They inundate the environment with male medfly pupae and adults that have been sterilized prior to being released into the field. Mating between sterile males and fertile females does not yield viable offspring!
What a day! We'll return here in future Agritopia Tours, they have a strong awareness for the well-being of the environment and a genuine desire to supply consumers with agricultural produce containing the least chemical residues possible!
Since we were just south of Beit She'an, we popped up their to sightsee the ruins dating back to the fifth millennium B.C.E.