My name is Oded Maoz (Mizrahi), and I am the sixth generation of a family of farmers living in the Hula Valley, Israel. My family immigrated to Israel some 130 years ago, motivated by the love and longing to connect with the holy land of Eretz Israel. The soil of our valley, the Hula Valley, is one of the richest and most fertile soils of Israel. Inside the valley, surrounded by tall mountains, runs the Jordan River. I love our valley very much; every single day one can feel the changes taking place in it. For example, at the end of the winter months, on the naked fruit trees - after their long winter sleep, one can see how under the branches, their bulbs start to open and puff up.
The Hula Valley serves as the main area for cultivating summer fruits in Israel – one can imagine it as a heart that all of life's blood, life's vitality, runs into it and starts from it. Our water, with which we water our agricultural lots, is also Israel's main source of water. The brown-red soil on which our plantations grow, had served in the past as a kind of a filtration sponge of the Hula Lake, this is the reason for the richness and high quality of the land; the changes between cold and hot weather, the surrounding mountains, causing the prolonging of the morning chill, grants the fruits growing in this region, a somewhat juicy and refined taste.
The Valley is a dream, and my dream is that this fertile valley will become a center for organic farming that shall provide men its excellent fruits, and still preserve its wild and ancient nature. When I stand and look around me, I feel like my grand-grandfather who was the first to arrive here. He was a pioneer, one among few other pioneers who had been daring and courageous enough to imagine the beautiful village, in which we live today. I also feel as a pioneer, and my soul vibrates with an initiative spirit, aspiring to influence the organic farming in the Land of Israel.
The growing of fruit trees requires the agriculturist to have vision and a long term perspective - a tree returns its financial investment only after approximately seven years. Such a vision opens before the agriculturist the horizon to see nature's extraordinary systems, and awakens in him the ambition to integrate in them. Yet, an agriculturist with a long term outlook, knows that his relative density is small, but he carries a big responsibility, and he has to relate to his country and his land, as prescribed by God's decree in the Bible: "And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it." (Genesis, 2, 15)
Our field of expertise - growing plantations of organic summer fruits, is a most innovative domain. The growing of an organic pomegranate, plum and peach, requires investing in development and undergoing a permanent learning process.
All of the pomegranate plantations are covered with nettings (what we call Netting Houses to prevent insects to infiltrate, and against which we have no other protection tools.)
Our plantations are screened daily by organic insect' controllers, this enables us to learn about the state of biological balance out in the field, and how and when to intervene.
We wish that the next generation will have the privilege of cultivating our plantations with the guidance of thorough and comprehensive know-how, so that ultimately, the entire Valley will be covered with fields and plantations of organic farming.
Oded Maoz (Mizrahi)