top of page
Search

ONE COMMUNITY MODEL FOR PROSPERITY AND THE OTHER FOR POVERTY; WHICH WILL YOU CHOOSE?

Updated: Mar 23


 

 "Only when you step out of your former self can you judge your past".

 

This week, we launch the IBMA 2024 conference. A big THANK YOU to the many people who helped realize this dream. IBMA attendees: welcome, make the best of it, and do business. And to those who couldn't make it this year, I sincerely wish to meet you in 2025. 


 

It took me over 50 years to discover the genuine essence of the Kibbutz I called home. To my astonishment, its essence proved boundless and eternal, stretching far beyond its physical confines, with the potential to make a global impact.


 

PROS AND CONS


In 1988, at 23, like other young people my age, I faced the decisions of where to turn, what to do, and what profession and career to choose.

The first decision was the hardest and simplest: Should I return to the Kibbutz, where I grew up, or pursue another path? It wasn't an easy decision, so I made a list of Cons and Pros.


CONS

* Almost all my classmates decided not to return to the Kibbutz.

* The Kibbutz guarantees security and financial peace, but as a young person, I sought challenges and ways to prove myself.

* I will not have complete freedom like in the Kibbutz system; others will participate in decisions that affect my life.

* Even if I don't return to the Kibbutz, it will still finance my bachelor's degree.

 

PROS

* I loved life in the Kibbutz, the environment, the culture, and the sharing of joys and sorrows.

* The Kibbutz is the landscape of my childhood, which I love.

* Being close to my big family.

* Possibility to work in agriculture.

* I couldn't imagine myself anywhere else except in the Kibbutz and doing anything else except working in agriculture.

* As I saw the founding generation age, I realized that my decision not to return to the Kibbutz could influence other young people to follow suit, potentially jeopardizing the future of a community deeply cherished by my heart.

 

What things stand out in your eyes regarding the above pros and cons?

 


NEAR FATAL SUCCESS


The set of considerations and thoughts of young people rethinking their life path represented the doubts in the minds of thousands of young people in the Kibbutz movement.

Many have decided not to return to their beloved Kibbutz for a reason that may seem puzzling to an outsider.

You see, in the eyes of those young people who grew up on a Kibbutz, its success was obvious as they grew into it; they took it for granted.

Yet, when thinking about their own future, they looked for visionary challenges, like the pioneers had. But, at that stage, the Kibbutz had already achieved all its previous social goals and could offer only business professional-oriented challenges.

 

 

A QUICK RECAP - SUCCESS WAS NOT ALWAYS THE ISRAELI NORM

Remember, the Israeli pioneers suffered poverty, hunger, sicknesses, death, humiliation from philanthropists, and endless self-doubts from 1850 before the first Kibbutz (Dgania) was established in 1910 and found to be a miracle from heaven, paving the path for hundreds of such agro rural communities that would fill up the Promised Land and would enable to establish Israel 2000 years after the Romans enslaved and expelled the Jews from their land.

It took 60 years for the Israeli pioneers to develop the Kibbutz and Moshav successful community models.

Yet, it only took one year for the first Kibbutz to demonstrate its stamina and make everybody realize this was a historical turning point.

You see, when something doesn't work correctly, we wait another year and another year in the expectation that next year it will be fine, and along the way, we blame ourselves and others for the lack of success. This was the case with the village model (Moshava) in Israel, a failure that lasted for decades while everyone blamed everyone else.

On the other hand, the Kibbutz and Moshav models were immediately successful, and instantly, everyone realized it and looked to copy their success.

From that moment, only models based on collaboration and cooperation were used in Israel to establish new rural communities or to "fix" old ones.

 



 

CAN RURAL COMMUNITIES BE TOO SUCCESSFUL?

My Kibbutz was founded right after Israel's independence war in 1948.

It was already well established when I was born 17 years later (1965).

In 1988, my classmates and I thought the Kibbutz was so established and successful that we could find any personal or collective challenge to overcome if we chose to stay.

As young people at the prime of their lives, we were looking for challenges, as our parents did, but we couldn't find them in the Kibbutz.

In 1983, after high school, I volunteered for one year to help establish a new Kibbutz, which also became prosperous.

You see, with the blueprint of the Kibbutz model, even establishing new Kibbutz communities was not so risky and challenging, but it had highly predictable results: success.  

Without an updated vision and significant challenges, the Kibbutz lost its lure for the young generation.

The backlash came from many young people leaving the thriving Kibbutz and Moshav communities searching for a vision and new challenges elsewhere.

The Kibbutz model was so successful that it threatened its mere existence.

 

MEANWHILE IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

Can you imagine the young people of Africa, India, etc., leaving their rural communities because they are "too prosperous"?

In developing countries, young people seek economic security and a better life. Millions abandoned their villages because they couldn't imagine those offering their elementary needs and demands anytime soon.

 

BACK TO ISRAEL

A young Israeli born in an agricultural community, i.e., Kibbutz or Moshav, after 1910, was born into a reality of abundance and economic security.

Such young people couldn't imagine agriculture or farming as synonymous with poverty. My friends and I took it for granted that farming meant prosperity. After all, the farmers we knew were all prosperous and part of the Israeli elite.

Young Kibbutz people, like I was, grew up confused:

We knew from our parents the hardships and struggles of the past, but we experienced only the comfort of the present.

We knew our parents worked hard to be farmers based on Collaboration and Equality values. But now that they have already achieved this, we couldn’t find where we fit in the Kibbutz other than maintaining and improving a bit our parents’ mega-achievements. That was frustrating.

We didn't look for comfort; we looked for risks, difficulties, challenges, and a chance to improve the world, and we couldn't find those in the thriving Kibbutz communities.

Therefore, our decision was whether to stay on the Kibbutz and enjoy its comfort and security or leave it and search to prove ourselves and do good elsewhere.

This misalignment between the Kibbutz's excellent economic condition and its youth's wish to follow in their parent's footsteps and do (more) good resulted in a massive migration outside the Kibbutzim.

The Kibbutz youth badly needed and missed an updated vision, goals, and challenges they could pursue if they chose to remain on the Kibbutz, so they left their Kibbutz home.

 


ZERO ARROGANCE


I was one of the few who stayed in the Kibbutz, and not for a short time.

Twelve years later, I was married, had my first child, worked in the Kibbutz orchards, graduated with a master's in agriculture, and was ready to continue my Ph.D. research.

Oh, and I still had this bug in me that I had to contribute my share to make the world a better place.

To advance my dream, after a long working day, I would invest more hours in developing a technology that could help me (and hopefully other farmers) spray fewer pesticides (at that time, I still didn't dare to say - zero sprays).

In 2000, I left the Kibbutz to pursue my dream of changing the world through agriculture, as my parents did before me.

Since then, I completed (a) my Ph.D. (fruit flies spatial ecology), (b) founded Biofeed, which developed zero-spray effective solutions for the leading economic global fruit fly threats, (c) founded Dream Valley company, which is a complete vertical value chain dedicated to fresh produce exports from developing countries to premium markets based on the Israeli model, (d) somehow found myself co-founding and chairing the IBMA conference, and (e) I remained married and raised five children.

 

ONE MODEL FOR POVERTY, ANOTHER FOR PROSPERITY

How is my life history related to poverty, suffering, and even hunger of millions of smallholders if my life on the Kibbutz and after that is the complete opposite of that? I mean, I live a life of relative comfort, as the Israeli middle class does.

That is the point I am making here.

My life and those of other children who were raised in rural communities based on collaboration and equality are the complete opposite of poverty, suffering, and hunger; in fact, they represent what we wish for millions of smallholders in developing countries.

If I had been born before the invention of the Kibbutz, I would have been as poor as the Israeli farmers back then and most farmers in the Middle East and other developing economies today.

I won my "luck" to be born into a thriving rural community, NOT thanks to technologies, knowledge, subsidies, and training farms, all provided generously to the early Israeli farmers (1850-1910).

No, no, no!

My "luck" to be born into a thriving rural society and live a comfortable life enabled me to do what I did. It came to me thanks to a groundbreaking, innovative community model called Kibbutz that my parents decided to use when establishing my Kibbutz community.

 

WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

If you were me, would you encourage other less fortunate farmers to follow the path of the early Israeli rural communities based on a village model? All received plenty of support with technology, knowledge, finance, and training but suffered poverty.

Or would you encourage them to follow the path of the Kibbutz and Moshav models, founded on innovative community models that emphasize collaboration and equality while not neglecting the importance of other things, i.e., technology, knowledge, finance, and training?

 

LETTING GO IS STRENGTH

We must abandon the village model because, for centuries, it has proven to either maintain the existing state or enhance poverty.

We must overhaul smallholders' community models because alternative rural community models have demonstrated resilience in extreme challenges. For instance, the Kibbutz and Moshav models have thrived despite adversities such as the harsh conditions under the Ottoman and British Empires, desert landscapes, malaria outbreaks in Israel, and the challenging field conditions in developing countries from 1800 to 1950. Moreover, these alternative models have consistently delivered significantly improved economic outcomes, further underscoring the need for change.

We must change because the alternative community models are not better by the hair's width but by miles of advantages that set the tow on entirely separate categories.

We must change the smallholder community model in developing economies because we are not cruel to let them continue living this way. We must change our rural community models because smallholders and developing countries deserve a far better future starting today, not tomorrow.

 


REACHING THE STARS AND PREMIUM MARKETS


Our goal is a vibrant, agile community that adapts to change and can earn a living with dignity.

A community that can export and make a decent living indicates a healthy community.

Paraphrasing J.F. Kennedy's speech, "We Choose To Go To The Moon…" I say -


"We choose to Reach Premium Global Markets. We choose to Go Global... We choose to Reach Premium Global Markets in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win, and the others, too."

 



 


HOW I MISSED THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM


I grew up thinking that my Kibbutz community ended its mission with the establishment of the State of Israel.

I left the Kibbutz believing that technological innovation would bring happiness and prosperity to millions of farmers worldwide.

I was blind to see the treasure of global wealth that the Kibbutz model, which I took for granted, has to offer to millions of communities outside Israel.

I was blind to notice that Israel is merely the playground, the global laboratory where we cook, develop, and field test, breaking through innovative ideas, knowledge, and technologies before "shipping" them worldwide.

In retrospect, the Kibbutz and Moshav revolutionary community models are not any different; in the past 200 years, we have cooked, developed, and field-real-life tested many rural community concepts and models, from which two stand out: the Kibbutz and Moshav.

We forgot, or maybe we were so self-focused that we skipped the part where we ship/offer those models to others and rural communities that desperately need them.

 


MORE THEN WE EVER DREAMED


When my mother and her friends established my Kibbutz, they imagined it would provide them with a roof over their heads in the blazing hot summer days and a shelter from the stormy cold winds of the winter.

They hoped it would strengthen Israeli society and economy.

They saw themselves as part of the international movement of workers who strive for equality. Still, they dared not imagine the Kibbutz model would ever impact their fellow farmers in other countries.

A short time before she passed away, I sat on the lawn outside my parents’ house. It was a sunny day in early winter, and my mother covered herself with a blanket to warm her up from the cold death of cancer that bites a piece of her daily.  

I asked my mother about her life; she said nothing about the family she lost in the holocaust, not a word about the friends she lost during the Independence War or the son she lost years later during another war.

Instead, she looked around and saw the beauty of the Kibbutz. Her face glowed with pure happiness as she smiled, "It is more than we ever dreamed.

She said “we," not "I," as the Kibbutz members always considered themselves part of a community. Purely Ubuntu, "I am because we are".

 


BRING LIGHT


Jews and Israelis view themselves as "light to the nations."

The Kibbutz organizational-social-economic community model offers us a chance to bring the light of innovative community models to millions of farmers and families worldwide and enable them to live lives of dignity and prosperity.

Will you keep sitting doing nothing, or will you help me bring this light to those who need it the most!?

Every day is an excellent day to make a change for the better.

 

=========================


Here are four ways you can work with me to help your rural communities step forward to shift from poverty into ongoing prosperity:

* Consultancy on rural communities' models: Why, What, and How, e.g., based on the Kibbutz and Moshav lifestyle models.

 

* Local & National programs related to agro-produce export models - Dream Valley global vertical value and supply chain business model and concept connects (a) input suppliers with farmers in developing economies and (b) those farmers with consumers in premium markets.

 

* Crop protection: Biofeed, an eco-friendly zero-spray control technology and protocol solution, is most suitable for developing countries.

 

* IBMA Conference - To learn, share, and practice novel business models: the IBMA 2024 conference theme is “Reshaping Agribusiness Models for Building Prosperous Rural Communities." Register now or contact me.

 

=========================

 

TAKEAWAY MESSAGES


Ø  COMMUNITY COLLABORATION is the key to smallholder prosperity.

Ø  CHOOSE WISELY the community model, as it will define your smallholders' fate.

Ø  SOLITARY FARMING models are misfit for smallholders' success.

Ø  COLLABORATION MODELS are ideal and key for smallholder prosperity.

 

****************************

More on the October 7th genocide in South Israel:

 

****************************

 

If you got to here, read this column, and enjoyed it, please be nice to your friends, share it with them, or help them Subscribe.

"Change begins with a decision that the existing reality is a choice and not a decree of fate."

 

See you soon,

Nimrod



 





Dr. Nimrod Israely is the CEO and Founder of Dream Valley and Biofeed companies and the Chairman and Co-founder of the IBMA conference. +972-54-2523425 (WhatsApp), or email nisraely@biofeed.co.il

 

 

P.S.

If you missed it, here is a link to last week's blog, “What Made Rural Communities Thrive After Decades of Poverty”.

P.P.S.

Dream Valley is a field-proven disruptive business model based on the successful Israeli Model.

 

You can also follow me on LinkedIn, YouTube, and Facebook. 

*This article addresses general phenomena. The mention of a country/continent is used for illustration purposes only.


12 views0 comments

Commentaires


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page