Kibbutz Lotan - An Oasis in a Desert Where It Never Rains

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Kibbutz Lotan Mud Buildings

OK, it rains sometimes. For example, last year it rained just under two millimeters.

Kibbutz Lotan was founded in 1983 in the Arava Desert in Israel, with the discovery of a significant source of groundwater. Lotan sits at a low point in a valley, hundreds of feet above an aquifer. Over the years, Lotan has become known for its example in sustainability, proving that an inspired group of people can create community and habitat in even the harshest of environments, by being resourceful.

Read further for a photo tour, including adobe domes, lush gardens, and a giant swimming pool.


While the original vision of Kibbutz Lotan was not eco-minded, over the years, it has become known as one of the world's greatest examples of sustainability , and provides young pioneers with in depth hands on educational programs for natural building and permactulture.

Mike Kaplan heads a permaculture certification program, which has become highly respected around the world, because the in depth program at Lotan is a thorough 1000 hours, whereas more minimal programs require as little as 40 hours. Mike Kaplan gave me a tour of the desert oasis.

Here are a few photos:


Mike Kaplan explains that humans shouldn't be exempt from participating in natural cycles, especially when it comes to poop.


The Bustan neighborhood at Kibbutz Lotan in Israel consists of 10 adobe/strawbale domes, a shared outdoor kitchen, and composting toilets. This is where students of the Green Apprenticeship program stay during their semester. The domes were built as part of the program during previous semesters and they are continuing to add new domes.


The dome I stayed in


Children are a big part of the community. Besides being great dancers, they also helped to build their own playground from scraps.


The children of the Kibbutz community also crafted these mud tiles for a cob wall.


Avi gives an impromptu Hebrew class to students of the Green Apprenticeship Program.

And of course, don't forget the giant swimming pool!


Not exactly ecological, but logical when summer days can get up to 120 degrees. The birds like to hang out here, too.