The Iraqi Seed Project

For 10,000 years, farmers in northern Iraq have cultivated a wealth of native crops that spread throughout the world. Apricots, chickpeas, and onions flourished in the fields, wheat and barley in the foothills. Today, after years of wars, sanctions, and droughts, this portion of the Fertile Crescent is endangered. A team of colleagues and I traveled through northern Iraq, filming a documentary about the region’s efforts to recover its agricultural vitality. “It was truly the garden of paradise,” says Jamal Fouad, former minister of agriculture who now runs a teaching farm with his wife, Cathy. “There is nothing that cannot grow in this soil. But things must change for our farmers.” 

The project was produced in conjunction with the educational initiative ‘The Iraqi Seed Project’ (dir. Emma Piper-Burket). Published in Garden Design, August 2012, online (excerpted) & pdf (full story).