Kurdistan: Recovering a Garden of Paradise, Photo Gallery
Iraqi Kurdistan, a region in northern Mesopotamia, is home to mountains, steppes, and pastures that were part of the Fertile Crescent: the birthplace of agriculture—and, indeed, civilization. There, ancient farmers nurtured a wealth of crops that would become staples throughout the world. Today, after years of wars and sanctions, Kurdistan is reengaging its land. As it negotiates the challenges of a new era, native plants and crops remain a defining feature of the landscape and people—how long can the agricultural heritage last?
In the shadow of semi-trucks and car exhaust, sunflowers and scare-crows peer over fields of wheat in an urban test garden. Students from Sulaymaniyah's College of Agriculture harvest seeds of different wheat varieties to compare the nutritional content and soil compatibility of imported and domestic wheat. As many children of this generation reject their family's farms, the School's curricula focuses on balancing tradition with modern realities.