Center for Sustainable Agriculture

The Center for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA), directed by Dr. Elaine Solowey, is a vital player in the field of desert agriculture and sustainable agriculture in the Middle East and the world. The Center is dedicated to the investigation and preservation of arid lands and their natural resources, and works collaboratively with leading institutions including Ben-Gurion University, Jacob Blaustein Institute for Desert Research at Sde Boqer, and the Department of Applied Research.

Dr. Solowey’s research in the Experimental Orchards, which she founded 33 years ago, is the foundation for important new applications in botanical medicine, renewable energy, and sustainable agriculture. Her work covers a wide range of subjects including the study of endangered medicinal herbs, the search for crops that can be grown in arid and saline soil, and the investigation into raising plants on marginal lands suitable for the production of ethanol for bio-fuel.

Research Projects include:

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    Middle East Medicinal Plants (MEMP)

    Dr. Solowey’s Middle East Medicinal Plant Project (MEMP), which is sponsored by the Louis L. Borick Natural Medicine Research Center of Hadassah Hospital, aims to protect and propagate the rare medicinal and biblical plants of the Southern Negev and Dead Sea area. MEMP has informed innovative pharmaceutical

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    The introduction of new crops to arid and saline zones in Israel and Jordan

    A joint project of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies and the Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST) There is a desperate shortage of fresh water in the Middle East. Growing populations boost the demand for drinking water as well as water for agricultural

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    Methuselah

    Methuselah is a date palm that Dr. Elaine Solowey sprouted from a 2,000 date seed. This seed, among others, was found during the excavations of Masada in the mid 1960′s. In 2005, several of these seeds were obtained by the Louis L. Borick Natural Medicine

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    Raising Crops for the Production of Ethanol for Bio-fuel

    This project evaluates the potential of the Southern Israeli Arava Valley in producing crops suitable for the economic production of ethanol for bio-fuel. The project has concentrated on plants growing on desert lands and using brackish water, thus freeing lands and water of higher quality

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