autarkic living

Out in the green #2 - The Yaaran Family

I feel very fortunate to know some amazing people that decided to walk away from the mainstream way of living and adapt their life to something they really believe in. I don't hide the fact that i really admire them, that sometimes i dream of doing the same. But then on the other hand, i love my life just the way it is right now...


The Yaaran family is one of these amazing families. They are living in the Ben Shemen forest, a wild piece of land in the nature reserve between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Avshi and Bar Yaaran with their 5 children built their own wooden house 22 years ago in the forest and started a goat farm. Ever since, they live from what they produce on their land, the goats provide milk and natural gas for cooking. They also have 2 donkeys, a horse, some chickens and a bunch of shepherd dogs. Solar panels generate electricity and the family is collecting rain water. Everyday and the whole year around, their goats graze the land, a perfect natural prevention against wild fires. Avshi and Bar never go on vacation, they never take a day off but they are both happy and really enjoy their work. They celebrate slow living and the most important thing for them is to stay in harmony with nature and their goats and to be far away from the buzz of big cities and big crowds.

Bar is a goat cheese magician. She is producing the best goat cheeses, labaneh and yogurt you can imagine. The family has a small store where they sell the goat milk products to visitors. Bar lets them taste from a variety of cheeses, from strong to mild and if you like goat cheese like i do, you will want to buy everything you tasted. She also makes delicious bread. The flour she is using comes from the wheat that is growing on the farm.

Their special way of life is unfortunately not legal and so they are fighting for many years already against their evacuation. In 2015, Avshi had to destroy most of their initial beautiful family house and him and Bar built a new home on wheels in order to be able to stay. Even though they have the smallest eco footprint and are even contributing to the prevention of wild fires, the state sees them as illegal settlers. 

Our first family trip with Ellie was to the Ben Shemen forest, to visit Bar and Avshi. We enjoyed that day so much. Like every time we are there, we breathed in the quiet and the beauty of it, we bought tons of goat cheese, we sat in the garden and watched the animals and thought with a heavy heart: "maybe it is our last visit".

and here a few more pictures that are screenshots from Ohad's movie "Planets" where he portrayed the family - for those who want, the movie is available here.

Visit the Yaaran on facebook

Hebrew article about the Yaaran Family (published in Haaretz in April 2014)