Our fascination for farming began when I worked in a small school in the Mountains of Ulsan, in South Korea. The philosophy of the school was so beautiful it really started me thinking about our current society and it’s detachment from food production.
I would get on my motorbike each morning and ride out to the school, which was hidden in the back mountains, and located next to a small, colorful temple. There in the mountain, the school was located on a farm.
The students spent a good portion of any day working in the farm, consequently learning about the art of growing food, as well as the nutritional value of natural food. Our current story, documenting the natural honey farms of Oman was born here. In a country like Korea where the majority of the society, like much of the world, is out of touch with the tangible act of growing food
Oman, where traditional farming is still alive
Since we moved to Oman we have similarly been fascinated with the farming culture. All across the Sultanate, small local farms produce an abundance of food for the local population using the same methods that have been used in the region for the last several hundred years.
Like magic, falaj systems are the waterways, which breathe life into an otherwise arid environment. Dates and honey are still highly sought after commodities within the region. Oman is home to the tallest mountain in the Gulf, with a unique climate, able to grow Pomegranates, Walnuts and Roses.
In the south of Oman lies Salalah, the only place in the Arabian Gulf that has a monsoon season, making it lush with coconuts and bananas among a variety of other produce. Unlike other countries, Oman’s farming industry is still largely run locally, rather than by large corporations.
It’s easy to see how our fascination with farming around the world could only grow having since moved to Oman.
From Paper to Production
As a teacher of visual arts, my classes are largely geared toward helping students articulate ideas, and then take them from paper through the production stages. The biggest obstacles to producing our ideas into visuals are within us.
This project is one of those, one that has been put on the back burner for years and has been modified a number of times since it’s conception. We recently pushed our idea off of paper and started making contacts. We decided our project would focus on traditional farming, starting with the ancient practice continuing inside the natural honey farms of Oman.
Gaining Access to The Natural Honey Farms of Oman
Tucked away in the largely inaccessible wilderness of the Hajjar mountain range, we find the natural honey farms of Oman. We are fortunate to have so many contacts from our lovely students and coworkers, who have also been eager to help us in the development of this story.
Yasir sits eagerly in my class each week, always on time, always serious about learning, but also always the first one in the class to smile and crack a joke. His efforts and hospitality have been the essential part of our story. He is from Rustaq, the most famous city in Oman for Honey Farming.
He introduced us to Said and Amer, two farmers who have a passion for producing superior honey. Both were given the invaluable knowledge from their fathers who in turn learned it from their fathers. Generations passing down tradition.
They have allowed us to spend a few weekends with them, observing their methods and enjoying the tranquil atmosphere in which they spend their quiet and beautiful lives. We are only sharing some behind the scenes images today, as we want to have a complete story before we share with you the completed project.
This is not the end
We hope you will join us in the coming weeks as we begin to post new images and adventures. The natural honey farming of Oman is not were our story ends. Next up is Jebel Akdar (Green Mountain), the landscape that holds true to its name.