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Vivien Sansour

Seed conservationist reviving Palestinian heritage

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Date of Birth:



Jersualem, West Bank, Palestine

Place of Birth:

Why Featured?

Vivien Sansour is celebrated for her remarkable contributions to the revival and preservation of Palestinian agricultural heritage through the Palestine Heirloom Seed Library. Her work encompasses seed conservation and promoting the use of heirloom varieties in Palestinian cuisine, thus safeguarding cultural identity and biodiversity.

Brief bio

Vivien Sansour is a renowned conservationist, artist, and founder of the Palestine Heirloom Seed Library. Her efforts in seed finding, keeping, and dispersing have played a critical role in preserving Palestinian seed heritage. Through her initiatives, she has reconnected the Palestinian community with their agrarian roots and cultural practices, emphasizing the importance of seeds in cultural identity.

Major Milestones


  • Founding of the Palestine Heirloom Seed Library (2014): Initiated a project for conserving and re-sharing seeds of culturally significant Palestinian plants.

  • Establishment of the Travelling Kitchen (2018): Created a project to reintroduce traditional Palestinian dishes made from heirloom varieties to the community.

  • Early Childhood in Bethlehem: Vivien spent her early years in Bethlehem, forming a connection with the land and its traditions.

  • Immigration to North Carolina: At the age of ten, she and her family moved to North Carolina, where she later reflected on her cultural heritage.

  • Exhibition at the Chicago Architecture Biennial (2019): Participated with a seed library exhibition, highlighting the global impact of colonization and violence on indigenous food sources and biodiversity.

  • Preservation of Heirloom Seeds: Revived nearly extinct varieties such as the Palestinian purple carrot, baladi tomatoes, and Jadu’I watermelons...See More

  • Cultural and Political Advocacy through Agriculture: Uses food and agriculture as a medium to affirm Palestinian living history, culture, and resistance.

  • Educational Outreach: Engages in public awareness campaigns and educational initiatives to teach about Palestinian agricultural heritage.

  • Artistic Representations: Integrates her conservation work with artistic expressions, including installations and exhibitions, to narrate the story of Palestinian agricultural heritage.

  • Global Outreach and Collaboration: Collaborates with various artists and participates in international platforms to spread awareness about the importance of seed conservation and Palestinian culture.

Date of Last Update: 
January 16, 2024

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