The Fellowship of Life
a Christian-based vegetarian network founded in 1973


GALILEE: Vegetarian Paradise

By Juliette de Bairacli-Levy

From The British Vegetarian (May/June 1970)

The region where I now live is a natural region for vegetarians, the land promised to the ancient Israelites - the good land of springs of water, and the milk and honey. This is an area of wild food. There are wild harvests awaiting the gathering the year through.
In the late winter, the rains come. They bring an abundance of mushrooms, so milky and juicy they can be eaten raw. The best crops grow in the regions of the conifers; but they are everywhere where the teeming herds of black goats graze and manure the earth.
The Bedoins and the Druze Arabs fire-toast their gatherings of mushrooms, and they say that not one poisonous fungus grows in Galilee. I would not accept that as being quite true, any more than the belief that all water in which water-cress grows is fit for drinking!
Along with the wild mushrooms, the rains bring an abundance of wild salad foods of all kinds. In the spring-fed streams the wild cresses grow, and in the woody vales garlics of many kinds, and the abundant nettles, which it is said, the Romans brought with them as a cure for rheumatism. Now they are everywhere as healthful food for man and animals.
With the rains there come also the green leaves of the wild turnip, mustard, the sweet hearts of the milk thistles; lemon-flavoured sorrels of many kinds, and the sweet-buds on the hawthorns, which later, along with the wild roses, produce their edible fruits. Blackberries fruit by the streams.
In the summer months the clovers come, food for man, and food for the wild Palestinian bee which produces a wonderful honey. This healthy, tiny, dark, clover bee of the Holy Land is given fame in the Bible, and rightfully so.
There are countless dried fruits in Galilee: fruits of the Bible, especially the fig and the grape, pomegranate and plum. The spies sent by Moses into the Holy Land brought back a bunch of fine grapes, and the grape still grows wild on hillsides and in valleys.
One of the most historic and interesting of trees is the dom, or Christ-thorn. This tree is a blessing for the wanderers, as its fruit, dry or fresh, lies around the tree or on its spiky-bird-protected branches the year through. The fruits, when dried, keep really indefinitely. Then in the truly desert areas grow spiky things. Not only the delicious cactus fruit, which when cleansed of their prickles, give refreshing food the whole summer. There are then the partridge berries, which grow on waste land, far from water, and sustain the wild birds, especially the partridges.
Everywhere wild peas and beans grow. The Bedouins roast them over their fires, but they can be eaten raw. 
And the wild grains. Without water, fed by the morning dews and the sun, they become fat enough to feed man as well as the birds, rodents and wild deer.
Barley, wheat and oats all grow richly; indeed they clothe, with their gold, wide tracts of land.
And finally, the wild herbs. Those promised medicines of the Bible for the healing of mankind; they are everywhere in Galilee: rue and wormwood, thyme and marjoram, sage and borage; the soothing poppies and the healing plantains.
This is a land where the poor can live well and the wanderers need never be hungry.
With thanks to the Vegetarian Society.

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