Foragers depicts the dramas around the practice of foraging for wild edible plants in Palestine/Israel with wry humour and a meditative pace. Shot in the Golan Heights, the Galilee and Jerusalem, it moves between fiction, documentary and archival footage to portray the impact of Israeli nature protection laws on these customs. The restrictions prohibit the collection of the artichoke-like ’akkoub and za’atar (thyme), and have resulted in fines and trials for hundreds caught collecting these native plants. For Palestinians, these laws constitute an ecological veil for legislation that further alienates them from their land, while Israeli state representatives insist on their scientific expertise and duty to protect.
Following the plants from the wild to the kitchen, from the chases between the foragers and the nature patrol, to courtroom defenses, Foragers captures the inherited love, joy and knowledge in these traditions alongside their resilience to the prohibitive law. By reframing the terms and constraints of preservation, the film raises questions around the politics of extinction, namely who determines what is made extinct and what gets to live on.