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Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC)
By Carol Schachet
March 9th, 2009
For a Grassroots International staff member and Board member, this International Women's Day offered a real glimpse at global solidarity. The two women, along with 58 other activists, writers and thinkers stepped across the rarely penetrable border into Gaza. Delegates hope to meet with their counterparts, including a number of Grassroots International partners, visit to the urban gardens of the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC), and meet with the Gaza Community Mental Health Program (GCMHP), whose building was severely damaged during the Israeli attack.
Grassroots International's partner, the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC) has long played a crucial role in defending the Palestinian people's human right to land, water and food. One of their goals is to contribute to the achievment of sustainable and integrated rural development in Palestine, and they have been a key actor in building a secular and democratic civil society. Since 1983, they have worked tirelessly with rural and refugee (from the war of 1948) farmers.
Grassroots currently funds PARC's innovative Urban Agriculture program in Gaza, which encourages food sovereignty and security by establishing networks of rooftop and backyard gardens.
By Carol Schachet
January 29th, 2009
For years, the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC) has been turning food aid that feeds dependency on its head. Their Farm to Table program purchases food for hungry families from local Palestinian farmers to address critical humanitarian needs and provide local farmers with needed income. Like nearly all organizations working in Gaza, PARC's operations came to a swift halt on December 27, 2008, when Israeli Defense Forces began bombing the region. Their buildings were severely damaged, along with the rooftop and backyard gardens at the core of the urban farm program.
No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.
- Fourth Geneva Convention, article 33
Nonviolence. Opportunity. Innovation. In the wake of the recent escalating violence and food insecurity in Gaza, our grassroots partners have redoubled their quest for social change and sustainability in one of the most troubled places in the world. We are humbled by their laudable tenacity in the face of massive obstacles.
Gaza's humanitarian situation is at its worst since Israel occupied the territory in 1967, say human rights and development groups including Amnesty International, Save the Children, Cafod, Care International and Christian Aid.
November 1st, 2007
Partner press release from Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC)
The Government of Israel continues to tighten the noose on the Palestinian People through imposing the economic closure on the Gaza Strip as a form of collective punishment. Israel has declared the Gaza Strip "a hostile entity," and is beginning to translate this declaration into practical steps; for example, Israel doesn't permit any access to raw materials, so 85% of Gaza manufacturing business has been closed down with over 35,000 workers laid off. An additional 35,000 workers have been laid off from other sectors including construction, trade and service sectors. All imports and exports remain blocked while few basic materials are allowed to enter the Strip. Medical supplies are lacking in the hospitals which reduces hospitals' capacity to treat patients.
Interview with Ahmed Sourani, PARC-Gaza
September 13, 2006
One of the best things about working at Grassroots International is the incredible circle of people we are able to connect with.
Photographs by Jennifer Lemire for Grassroots International
Many things have changed in the Gaza Strip since Hamas won the elections in January 2006 according to the public will. The E.U. and U.S.