A Sustainable Community in the Egyptian Desert
by Ibrahim Abouleish
The Egyptian desert can be a hostile place. Yet in 1977, Dr Ibrahim Abouleish founded a new agricultural and social settlement on seventy hectares of desert land in Belbes, 60 km north east of Cairo. The Sekem initiative was born. Dr Abouleish's goals were to build a new type of community. His vision was for a farm which grew biodynamic crops and plants out of the harsh desert sand. Where the workers and residents were given holistic primary health care. Where their children were well-educated in the sciences. A place which could sell its wares and be self-sufficient and self-sustaining. A place where Islamic religion and Western technology could come together in harmony. Nearly thirty years later and Sekem has gone from strength to strength. In 1981 it shipped its first medicinal herbs to the USA; by 2004, it oversaw a network of over 800 farms across Egypt and the Sudan, producing high quality organic crops, herbs, fruits and vegetables. Its mobile health units work with local rural populations and it has brought about real social change. This is the story of Sekem -- the original vision, the challenges and hard work, and the eventual successes -- in Ibrahim Abouleish's own words.
Publisher: Floris Books