For those of you familiar with the typical American college student spring break, you know that it generally entails transporting an Animal House environment to exotic locations such as Cancun, Fort Lauderdale, the Bahamas, or the Carribean. However there has been a movement in recent years to offer students an alternative to these stereotypical spring breaks, in equally exotic locations – such as central America, eastern Europe, and yes, even Beer Sheva.
Starting tomorrow, Earth’s Promise (Shvuat ha-Adamah) and the Jewish National Fund will team up to allow alternative spring breakers to take part in expanding the Beer Sheva NGO’s “Setting Strong Roots” community garden program.
The “Setting Strong Roots” initiative is only one of the programs led by Earth’s Promise, which we featured here on Green Prophet a couple of months ago. This particular program helps the large Ethiopian immigrant community in Beer Sheva with their transition to Israel by building community gardens in unused urban plots. The benefit is both social and environmental – community ties are strengthened at the same time as local produce and plants are grown. (See the photo of a community garden above.)
Spring breakers will work on expanding the program, however, so that the garden includes another 30 plots for neighborhood residents (and not just the Ethiopian community). They will also set up a children’s garden and an urban nature area. Students will prepare garden beds, introduce compost, and paint a mural on a nearby bombshelter to add some much needed color to a rather drab area.
Additional volunteers are welcome to this joint project tomorrow. Work will begin at 9:00am and continue until approximately 3:00pm, at which point the spring breakers will be taken to an Ethiopian crafts center to learn about the community’s history and culture. After that, students will be taken to the JNF’s Nachal Beer Sheva project.
Read more about other alternative educational programs::