Siwa is home to ancient methods of farming and irrigation, many of which have been unchanged for thousands of years.
Dates and olives are the main crops. Before the road opened in 1980 connecting Siwa to the rest of Egypt, the oasis was largely self sufficient in food and most of that was shared openly within the tribe.Most of the farming today is still done by hand with tools unchanged by time. Olives, olive oil, salt, preserved fruit, dates and honey can all be brought in the town.
Meat has always played a special role in the diet of the people, especially lamb and goat. The animals here are fed the grasses, dates and natural waste from the gardens as well as alfalfa which is grown throughout the oasis. Without the use of animal foods it would be virtually impossible to thrive self sufficiently within the harsh desert environment.
Food sovereignty is an increasingly important issue among native communities across the world.
As the industrial food system grows and wild food landscapes diminish, many tribal people are severed from their traditional way of eating and living. People here in Siwa are settlers. They still cultivate, harvest, process, prepare and eat traditional foods and this is how they maintain their strong relationship with the land and each other.