California activists plant Palestinian watermelon seeds

Community activists at Quail Springs in Cuyama Valley, California, planted 12 watermelon plants cultivated from seeds coming from Palestine. The planting ceremony on June 8 was made possible by the Palestine Heirloom Seed Library, founded by Vivien Sansour, Palestinian agriculturalist.

“The way our traditional agriculture practices developed is that they really did co-evolve with their different micro-climate. So we have a collection of seeds … that our ancestors, our great grandmothers, selected varieties [of] that were kind to the micro-climate,” Sansour said in an interview with Sasha Rabin. 

This particular type of watermelon originated in Jenin. An article entitled, “The Lost Watermelon of Jenin,” states that “Jenin is a city located in the northern West Bank where Palestinian farmers used to grow the ba’al succulent watermelon known as Jadu’I.  Under the occupation, the Jadu’I was nearly lost. But today, a new generation of agriculturalists are trying to revive it.” (Oakland Institute)

 – Report and photo by Teddie Kelly

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