While the Qudaih family’s men are out cultivating the farm’s land on a lot about a kilometer away from their home, the women maintain the land around the house. In this garden, the women grow zucchini, potatoes, beans, melons and watermelons, along with various edible and medicinal herbs. The women’s garden provides fresh daily produce for the family’s meals, and includes a closed area with a clay Tabun where they bake fresh bread.

Watermelon crops near the house

After the 2014 war, the Qudaih family’s home was damaged, and another was entirely destroyed. While, over the next few months and years, the community cleared and recycled the rubble into new bricks, the women sowed the land, converting lots into edible gardens.

This was only too necessary, as access to food in Gaza is in peril. Forty percent of the population lives below the poverty line, and half of households are food insecure. According to the World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East and WFP combined provide 1.2 million people with food aid: ninety three percent receive in-kind food, six percent benefit from value-based electronic food vouchers, and 1 percent receive both wheat flour and vouchers.

The Qudaih family’s home and women’s garden

While food access and agricultural production remain in steady decline due to wars, land grabs—Israel maintains a 100- to 300-meter-wide restricted border zone—and a general lack of access to agricultural needs such as fertilizer, seeds, bees, irrigation equipment, and pumps, the Qudaih family must remain resourceful, continuing to work what little land they can access. 

[Source: UN Human Rights Council, 2016]

Foundation for Achieving Seamless Territory, 2021