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Developed News Story | Lebanese People respect ecosystem regenerating soil and promote food security

The innovative project aims to heal social divides through agriculture and highlight the important role Syrian refugees play in farms across Lebanon

Beqaa Valley, Lebanon – At 11am, Erica Accari retreats to the shade from the energy-zapping 36C (96.8F) heat radiating from her farm in eastern Lebanon.

She started her day at 6am, irrigating the 6,000 square metres (64,600sq ft) of mainly vegetable crops before checking all the plants for any disease, then transplanting new seedlings for the next season.

The farm’s name, Turba, meaning soil, couldn’t be more apt for a regenerative organic farm.

“Almost 80 percent of our topsoil is dead worldwide, and it scares me. I don’t know how it doesn’t scare other people,” Accari, 28, told as she sliced a melon from her field.

Originally from Tripoli in Lebanon’s north, Accari co-founded Turba two years ago with Jehane Akiki, who runs Farms Not Arms, a project that aims to heal social divides through agriculture and highlight the important role Syrian refugees play in farms across the country.

Turba photos Tessa Fox 3
Erica Accari says regenerative farming brings ‘soil back to life’ [Tessa Fox/Al Jazeera]

Together they designed a system for a piece of land that would grow three times more than conventional farming, winning the pair $25,000 in the Rockefeller Foundation Food System Vision Prize to start their own farm.

Once part of a team of four before three migrated from Lebanon, Accari is now tending to the entire summer harvest – including tomatoes, eggplant and squash – by herself, alongside the Syrian refugee family residing on the land.

Turba isn’t conventional, but instead follows agroecology principles that respect the ecosystem while simultaneously enhancing the resilience of communities.

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