In The Wretched of the Earth (1963), Frantz Fanon writes that “for a colonized people the most essential value, because the most concrete, is first and foremost the land: the land which will bring them bread and above all dignity” (p. 9). Fanon’s emphasis on the spiritual dignity that material land provides for a people seems especially pertinent in light of Israel’s acute destruction and dispossession of Palestinian territories within the last century. Whilst his statement arguably refers to the value of land for a colonised people, this may not invalidate the pertinence of Fanon’s statement: in both popular and academic discourse, the Zionist project that established Israel and motivates the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories has been argued to be a contemporary example of settler colonialism (Salamanca et al., 2021, p. 1). As McClintock argues, “there may be nothing ‘post’ about colonialism” for the Palestinian inhabitants of Israeli occupied territories (McClintock, 1992, p. 87).

            Whilst Fanon’s emphasis here lies on the dignity that land yields, one must not negate his mention of “bread” as another important yield of the land. In fact, in The Wretched of The Earth, Fanon defines the yield of food as a crucial link between land and the life, as food allows life to persist on the land that supplies it (Clare, 2013, p. 69). As settler colonial projects seek to establish new life on land, and as Fanon identifies food as a crucial connection between life and land, it inspires the questions: what role exactly does the material and cultural value of food play in colonialism, and by extension, what role does food continue to play in the Palestine-Israel situation?

            I argue that the Zionist project’s status as a settler colonial project can be evidenced by its actions in the domain of food production: rather than being the product of “conflict” in the region, I argue that the project’s historical and continued destruction of indigenous food systems is an active means towards the “elimination of the native” that Wolfe (2006) finds is essential to settler colonial projects. Additionally, the transformation of food environments in the region by agents of the Zionist project, including the Israeli government and independent Zionist settlers, also parallels a transformation by European settlers in North America. This transformation operates not only to erase indigenous Palestinians populations, but also to transform the land and symbolically “reset the clock” on this land, a phenomenon which can be illustrated through the uprooting of olive trees and the planting of pine trees in the region. Following an application of Cabral’s congruently “agronomic” definition of culture and its potential for anticolonial resistance to food production, I then briefly discuss the decolonizing potential in “food sovereignty”. This decolonization is already underway in Palestine, in the form of grassroots food sovereignty projects, including the Union of Agricultural Workers Committee (UAWC).