In southern Jordan close to the Saudi Arabian border lies a landscape that resembles an alien planet.
Granite and sandstone mountains rise out of flat red sand valleys with a range of narrow gorges, natural arches, towering cliffs and caverns covering an area of 720 square kilometres called the “Valley Of The Moon”
The area is naturally dry and receives very little rain each year and can only sustain sparse vegetation.
Growing crops naturally is a definite no no under the baking hot sun and if there is one thing that is alien to a baking hot and harsh desert it is a lush farm full of vegetables.
Incredibly the desert regions of Jordan and Israel have seen several agricultural projects over the recent years.
One such project has involved local Bedouins living in the Wadi Rum region and these unique agricultural projects are now beginning to become successful.
Rum Farm is Jordan’s largest mixed farm and sits in the Wadi Rum desert. It was established in 1986 on 2,000 hectares of desert land.
At first you would think that creating a farm in the middle of an arid desert was a stupid thing to do but you will soon understand why when you realise that underneath the desert is a large aquifer which stretches under the border mountains and deep into Saudi Arabia.
Much of the countries water supply comes from that single water source
The farm specialises in growing open field vegetables, grains and forage including eggplants, cabbage, figs, pomegranates, potatoes, squash, tomatoes and more.
The farm grows produce organically and uses a special irrigation method believed to have been used many years ago by the ancient Egyptians and Nabateans.
Water is drawn up from the subterranean aquifer which is around 400 metres deep, and is irrigated to 78 hectares of circular fields using water nozzels on a pivoting ramp.
Poly tunnels are also used to trap and conserve water and deal with the extreme temperatures the desert often experiences.
The farm’s techniques are so successful that a large part of Jordan’s food is produced and supplied by Rum Farm with much of it being shipped hundreds of miles therough the dessert in trucks to Jordan’s capital Amman and other major cities.
The giant circular fields look very alien in the desert and have a ‘crop circle’ feel about them but unlike those seen in Europe the crops are not flattened they are grown!
Photo credit: unknown
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