About us

Overview
Makaneyyat ('mak') works to strengthen and build perennial agro-ecological landscapes in Palestine. We work to expand agro-biodiversity of landscapes to support communities of plants and people.

Makaneyyat translates roughly to spaces. It is the plural form of makaneyyah or spatiality and comes from the Arabic makan or place. This name reflects our interest in the importance of spatial relationships between landscape, micro-climates, plant life, and communities of producers and consumers.

Taking the landscape as our unit of analysis, our independent research project uses tools such as wild food plant conservation and collection, agroecological analysis, geospatial visualization and GIS, interviews, plant inventories, and study of candidate species for new crop development.

Founded in 2013, the research group has developed the following:

  • a cutting-edge online agro-ecological research engine
  • genebank: ex-situ seedbank and in-situ agro-biodiversity conservation areas
  • agro-ecological studies
  • landscape studies
  • peer-reviewed journal articles
  • Arabic/English guide: Palestinian Wild Food Plants (2018)
  • herbarium

We are currently working on:

  • protecting local agro-biodiversity by collecting and propagating plant material
  • publishing our research peer-reviewed journal articles
  • Palestinian Wild Food Plants, Vol. II
  • Collecting and selecting endemic species for crop development


Research initiatives
Agroecological Research Engine

We have developed a free and open source research platform for the generation, management, analysis, and visualization of agro-ecological data. This research platform provides a historically rich baseline for future specialized research on and in support of Palestinian agro-ecologies. The project has resulted in the creation of our local research program inspired by the growing movement of open information structures. Deploying cutting-edge tools in field-based, geospatial, and qualitative research methods, we are developing a model for collaborative and open research in the region.


Wild Food Plant Conservation and New Crop Development

We are working to conserve agro-biodiversity, wild food plants, and develop new crops in Palestine. Since 2017, we have built a genebank for the ex-situ and in-situ conservation and propagation of wild food plants. We are collecting and regenerating edible wild plants across several sites in Palestine in collaboration with local partner organizations and the assistance of global partners. We hope that these plants will provide the basis for agroecological transformation and development of new grain and cover crop polycultures in Palestine.


Research team

Omar Imseeh Tesdell, Ph.D., Principal Investigator (ORCiD)
Yusra Othman, Researcher
Mary Deeik, Researcher
Yara Dowani, research consultant
Sameer Khraishi, research consultant
Fouad Muaddi, research consultant
Hanan Zahran, research consultant
Saher Alkhoury, research consultant

Development team

Our development partners, al-fardthakh in Amman, Jordan, have enabled us to customize an existing open API and build the Makaneyyat agro-ecological engine.

Funding partner

Makaneyyat is generously supported by the Palestinian-American Research Center (PARC).

Home

Landscape Agroecology in Palestine

Makaneyyat ('mak') aims to strengthen agro-ecological landscapes in Palestine. We work to expand agro-biodiversity of landscapes to support communities of plants and people.


Publications

Refereed publications

Envisioning Perennial Agroecosystems in Palestine (submitted in August 2019 to refereed journal)


Tesdell, Omar; Othman, Yusra; and Saher Khoury. 2018. Rainfed Agroecosystem Resilience in the Palestinian West Bank, 1918-2017. Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. https://doi.org/10.1080/21683565.2018.1537324


Other publications

June 2018. Tesdell, Omar Imseeh (Editor), Amna Othman, Yusra Othman, Yara Dowani, Renad Shqeirat, Yara Bamieh, Elizabeth Tesdell, Saher Khouri. Palestinian Wild Food Plants. Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center, Ramallah. Arabic-English. ISBN 978-9950-385-72-6

Spring 2018. Tesdell, Omar. Planting Roots, Claiming Space. NACLA Report on the Americas, Vol. 50, No. 1, pp. 66-71. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/10714839.2018.1448599

Spring 2017. Tesdell, Omar and Issa, Iyad. Balou as residual space: on the relation of landform and sociality in Palestine. Jerusalem Quarterly, Issue 69, pp. 107-199. Link to article



Academic Presentations
Birzeit University, Birzeit, August 2019
University of Wisconsin, Madison, July 2019
Lund University, Lund, Sweden, May 2019
University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, February 2019
Brown University, Providence, RI, March 2018
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, MN, August 2017
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, March 2017
A.M. Qattan Foundation, Ramallah, Palestine, May 2016

Research notes

August 2019, coauthored journal article introducing the work of Makaneyyat is submitted to refereed scientific journal in the U.S.


July-August 2019, work continues in collecting important plant material from wild populations in Palestine, cleaning seed, and propagation of most important species of interest.


March-April 2019, the Makaneyyat team is conducting fieldwork to identify, catalogue, collect specimens, and collects seeds of wild food plants.



December 2018, an ancient Arbutus andrachne L. tree and fruit.



November 2018, the team conducted plant survey in Ein Qiniya-Ramallah.


2018, Makaneyyat's first book was published under the name of "Palestinian Wild Food Plants".

Fall 2018, video shots capturing the beauty of Palestine during our field work.