The Whole Within Each Part
Neot Semadar is situated deep in the Negev desert. The wide area in which we live is one unified entity, where all of its parts interconnect and support each other. Organic farming allows for a variety of fields and crops to be grown without the use of toxic chemicals, weaving an aesthetic and ecological tapestry, an oasis that spreads over hundreds of acres of desert land. In these surroundings, with its poignant beauty, we are encouraged to live close to the land, to the life it grows, to the changing seasons, and to the special dynamic that integrates all of these events into one.
This ecological orientation gets expressed physically through the following:
Agriculture – 124 acres of plantations, takes on the appearance of a sprawling desert oasis. This approach to the land does not make use of conventional fertilizers or pesticides and safeguards the ecological balance. Orchards and groves contain the widest variety of trees and herbs possible . These diversifying sectors also aid in the preservation of the general ecological balance of Neot Semadar. The fruit processing center allows for wide and accurate use of all the harvest.
Recycling – The compost pile is a catch-all for every possible organic material on the kibbutz. Raw materials include waste from the goat pen and nearby dairy-farms, extra food products from the kitchen, and agricultural by-products. Whatever is not recyclable here is sorted and taken by private companies.
Water – The difficulties met in the transportation and pressure fluctuations of water led to the creation of an operative reservoir. It was built as an independent ecological system that works in cooperation with the desert environment. Aquatic plants that grow on its banks create habitats for water fowl and shelter for wild animals.
Desalination – The desalination plant that was built near by allows for thorough recovery of residual water. The waste product of the desalination process is brine water whose high salinity (E.C.8) creates the severe ecological challenge of effective disposal (usually done by evaporation pools). In cooperation with Mekorot, (the national water company) and the Jewish National Fund, Neot Semadar initiated a project that uses this water to grow salt-resistant plants. Ecological obstacles become ecological treasures: Olive groves, gardens, and grazing lands for the goats create a continuous green view along Route 40 on the approach to Neot Semadar.
Sewage – All waste water is purified by a system of constructed wetlands and is reclaimed through irrigation. This is a system of gravel-bed ponds that contain water plants of different varieties. The special combination of the gravel and water plants of each pond allow for the purification of the water from various pollutants. Smart engineering joined forces with the natural capabilities of these plants to establish an inviting green shelter in the desert for wild animals and an attraction for tourists and bird-watchers.
Energy – Our regional council (Hevel Eilot) has proposed their goal- to lead the solar energy revolution in Israel and specifically, to supply the area (including the city of Eilat) with 50% of its energy by the year 2020. The main technologies being developed are solar and photo-electric. Neot Semadar has already constructed a small PV plant, and a large (8MWp) plant.
Building – Architecture and construction in Neot Semadar is done with a special emphasis on the conservation of energy without pollution and noise. Together with passive air cooling towers, thick walls, and additional elements of desert architecture, the buildings are cooled in the summer and heated in the winter with minimal expenditure of energy.