Shorashim-history a nursery sprouting through the desert sands

The Shorashim Nursery, located in the Bsor region of the western Negev, was founded in 1982 as a family business. Today, its main specialty is the cultivation of vegetable and spices seedlings in a mold.

The nursery’s roots began to grow with the beginning of the settlement in the entrance of Rafiah in the northern Sinai Peninsula, during the years when the area was under Israeli control. Yossi Aviaya-Malachi, director of R&D and one of the founders of the nursery, born in Kfar Hess, graduated from President’s Eshel School and holds a master’s degree in the Faculty of Agriculture, made his way with his family to Moshav Netiv Haasara in the entrance of Rafiah. While studying at the Faculty, and as a research assistant of the late Prof. Yehoshua Rodrich, he experienced the difficulties of planting tomatoes for the industry through rootless seedlings – the method that was introduced at the time. In 1976 there was a breakthrough with the discovery of a new method – growing seedlings in a personal cell in Styrofoam trays. Then Yossi realized that here lies the seed of the revolution in the production of vegetable seedlings. In 1977, he decided to turn the farm he owned into a nursery for the production of vegetable seedlings, an issue that was innovative during those years in Israel and around the world.

Five years later, in 1982, after the signing of the peace treaty with Egypt and the traumatic evacuation of the region, Yossi and his family decided to deepen their roots elsewhere in the Negev, and continue the agricultural dream, not far from where they were uprooted. The family moved to the Bsor region and was among the initiators and founders of Moshav Ein HabSor.

Hanania Avakrat, one of the founders of the nursery and now the director of operations and development, immigrated to Israel from Morocco with his family in 1955, when he was nine years old. He and his family were located in moshav Mivtachim, not far from where moshav Ein HaSor will be built almost thirty years later.

Hanania, who was educated and raised on the values and foundations of agriculture, studied at the Nahalat Yehuda Agricultural School, and at the end of his studies returned home and helped develop and operate the family farm. A few years later, he established his private home in Moshav and cultivated his own agricultural farm, growing vegetables, orchards and flowers there. After the evacuation and arrival in the Bsor region, the two brothers-in-law crossed paths, and they decided to form a partnership – a family business in a field close to their hearts: a nursery that deals with growing vegetable and spices seedlings in a mold.

It was unanimously decided to call the nursery “Shorashim” (Roots) – a symbol of the displacement of their roots from one place and the process of rooting in another. The industry of vegetable transplanting was established and occupied a place of honor among other industries of agriculture, following the development boom in the 1980s.

The momentum was due to several reasons: the emergence of the drip irrigation method, and the increasing use of crops in corrugated seeds and polyethylene sheets. This trend did not miss the Shorashim nursery either, and it began to grow at an impressive rate.

The use of mold seedlings has some important advantages, and they are: – rapid and uniform absorption of the seedlings that creates uniformity and progress in development and embalming and as a result – larger crops.

Savings water in the planting process, significantly. Which is required during sowing.

Realizing the full seed potential and saving costs. Today the price of container seeds is very high.

Saving the time to use mold seedlings shortens the duration of the growth in the field and allows to attract and prolong the previous crops.

Expansion of the growing seasons to the fringe seasons is also made possible thanks to the full control of germination processes and the growth of seedlings, which allows planting even in the months when direct sowing is impossible. This increases the time window of the supply of fresh vegetables.

Allows planting in soil and salty water – which in direct seeding is more difficult

Seedlings are vaccinated and it is possible to supply seedlings that are loaded with systemic protective materials, which provide protection for the field during the initial breeding period.

Planning and control that are possible because the growing technology is very controlled and precise, and the farmer can plan with a single day’s accuracy the planting in the field.

This method of cultivation became the main specialization of the people of The Shorashim Nursery, which over the years has acquired the knowledge and reputation of one of the leading nurseries in its field in Israel.

Shorashim Nursery Today
An industrial and modern nursery that uses manufacturing processes and advanced computerized technology: from the order received according to the customer’s requirements, through the planning and execution of the sowing and germination processes in the trays, their transfer to the growing greenhouses to the irrigation systems and marketing processes. The computer is the tool that helps you get around fully at any given moment in stock, down to the level of the single seedling. The nursery operates in quality standards such as ISO and Global Gap and places great emphasis on a strict and rigorous sanitation regime. 30 years of transplanting created a continuing generation over time, which is also active today in the day-to-day management of the nursery: Sagi Malachi, son of Yossi Aviyah Malachi, who serves as CEO, and Raviv Avakrat, son of Hanania Avakrat, who serves as sales manager.

Shorashim employs between 100 and 150 employees, including ten agronomists, who are engaged in growing crops in the greenhouses themselves, and some are active as sales managers responsible for maintaining contact with the farmer on the ground. It currently produces over 100 million seedlings a year for farmers all over Israel.

The nursery’s areas of expertise
Shorashim is credited with many of the subjects’ issues in this field, including manufacturing processes and practices such as: models of growing molds, organic seedlings, graft seedlings, packaging and logistics methods adapted to the industry such as the transportation of trays in packaging cages. She was the one who gave the first push for spice seedlings in Israel, and was a pioneer in the production of wild vegetation mold seedlings for the Cross-Israel Highway project (Route 6).

She produces a variety of conventional and organic vegetable seedlings and spices. From the late 1990s, when it was decided to reduce the use of the pesticide methyl bromide (a soil disinfectant), Shorashim began to develop the field of graft seedlings, a technology that today is one of the main green alternatives to this pesticide.

A graft seedling is actually an integration between 2 seedlings: the desired commercial variety also called ‘the riding seedling’, and the root house produced from a plant with resistance to soil diseases, and is also called ‘the barrel seedling’. This connection provides the farmer with many benefits from resistance to soil diseases, to salty water resistance, which gives a larger fruit and a stronger plant – which leads to a continuation of the growing period and higher crops. Today, Shorashim nursery invests heavily in the production processes of these seedlings, in strict sanitation conditions and special assembly rooms, and as a result of this investment, there are currently graft seedlings of a wide variety of vegetables: watermelons, melons, cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant and peppers, which are provides to farmers throughout the country. Shorashim have extensive international experience in the graft industry. Throughout her years of activity, Shorashim was involved in the sale of knowledge, equipment and planning procedures through which several nurseries were established around the world, including in China, Greece (in collaboration with Netafim), Vietnam, Mexico and Morocco.

The values and goals of Shorashim nursery
Family and roots – the nursery will maintain the special family spirit based on the feelings of belonging, loyalty, help, support and understanding combined with the love of the land and plants.

Professionalism and excellence – Shorashim will continue to create, operate, innovate and develop, with the aim of specializing in the fields in which it deals, all with a constant desire to improve and excel in the quality of its products and service to its customers.

Entrepreneurship and Innovation – The nursery staff will continue to be constantly attentive to the needs of customers and their demands on the ground, and it will strive to provide farmers with creative solutions based on the knowledge, technology and the most advanced developments in the world in the field of vegetable and spice transplanting.

Transparency and reliability – a root nursery will be conducted with full transparency with its customers and suppliers and also internally, while maintaining working relationships based on reliability and integrity.

Shorashim’s vocation – to produce healthy and high-quality seedlings while providing courteous and professional service to all customers.

Thanks to 30 years of accumulated experience, during which they emphasized extensive research and development, equipped with technological equipment tailored to the nature of the nursery, streamlined, studied and responded to the customer’s requirements, maintained the quality and maintenance of the high standards in production, today Shorashim’s nursery is considered one of the highest quality and leading nurseries in its field in Israel. The root of Shorashim’s success lies in the sense of mission of its owners and employees. As farmers, they understand the enormity of their responsibilities – the fact that the farmer’s entire livelihood depends on the supply of healthy, high-quality seedlings, and on time. Accordingly, they act professionally, with dedication, perseverance, and determination to meet the task.

Innovations in Shorashim

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