Canaan carries a responsibility towards a significant ecological inheritance in the Palestinian landscape. Our farmers are the stewards of a land where some of the oldest permaculture traditions on earth are practiced. The Land of Canaan is where the first agriculture revolution in human history took place. From agriculture came the first human settlements, the development of the first alphabet, and the beginnings of human history as we know it. This cultural inheritance – in breathtaking landscape, sustainable farming practices, original landrace varieties of seeds, ancient fruit-bearing trees, traditional cuisine, and social communities living off the land – represents the Canaan Ecology that nurtures life itself.
Over centuries, Palestinian cuisine evolved with the development of agriculture on the land. Our balanced diet developed in harmony with our balanced farming practices. Our essential food needs for protein, fat, fiber, sugar, and starch gave rise to the beloved Palestinian dishes enjoyed to this day. Plant-based proteins are found in Hummus and Falafel made from chickpeas, Foul made from fava beans, and Mujadara made with lentils. Our fat intake is mainly from olive trees (30% fat in olive fruit) and almond trees (50% fat in almonds), and our sugars from grapes, figs, and carob.
These fruit trees are intercropped with the protein-rich legumes as well as wheat, which provides our fiber, starch and some protein. This process enriches the soil and increases the nutrient density of our food. Our meat, eggs, and dairy fat are also provided by grazing animals on these same fields as well as other legumes farmed for animal feed like vetch. Thus, animals are fed the same proteins, fiber, and starch, which in turn give back nutrients to the soil and crops.
This healthy, sustainable ecosystem that took thousands of years to develop naturally is allowing us to cultivate olive trees to this day that are over 2,000 years old. Much of our olive orchards, olive trees, and carob trees are orchards designed and planted hundreds and thousands of years ago. These trees and the other foods intercropped between them are landrace plant varieties that have evolved in their natural settings. The relationship between them and the farming communities are relationships of exchange and reciprocity rather than exploitation. These same relationships exist between the legumes and the trees, as well as between the sheep, goats, and chickens with the humans and the vegetation on the land.
This sustainable ecosystem ensures soil health. The legumes enrich the soil with nitrogen. The cover crops maintain a moist and healthy microbial environment in the soil which allows for continuous decomposition of organic matter in the soil, making nutrients available to the roots. Cover crops also channel water from precipitation of dew on the leaves to the soil. Continuous live roots systems in the soil generate active fungal cultures in the soil which energize bacterial life and foster organic matter decomposition.
Similarly, animal integration brings manure active bacteria into the soil which naturally works as weed control and creates needed movement in the soil rather, reducing or eliminating the need for tillage. The resulting integrity of the soil makes the earth carbon-absorbent rather than carbon-emitting. The carbon inside the soil in turn acts as a sponge that retains water, making life even more viable in the soil. All of this mutual integration of life allows for rich soil and healthy crops that produce foods that are naturally nutrient dense.
Canaan Ecology invests in preserving these naturally occurring ecosystems and the agricultural traditions that sustain them. At Canaan, we learn from them, raise awareness about them, and sustain them for future generations. We research and document these ecosystems and the innovations, designs and practices that allow for their survival. Moreoever, we enhance them with modern permaculture and regenerative agricultural knowledge by merging ancient wisdom with modern techniques. At a result, we are able to proudly share with our customers and partners around the world nutrient-dense food ingredients produced within these ancient ecosystems.