Bustania Community Garden
The Bustania Community Garden, located on the border between the Kiriyat Menachem and Kiriyat Yovel neighborhoods brings these two communities together in nature for social, cultural and educational activities and events. Bustania focuses on using these activities to preserve and develop the local urban nature and stengthen the social fabric of this area.
The Bustania community garden spans 7 dunam in the valley between Kiriyat Yovel and Kiriyat Menachem. The area includes an amphitheater, food garden and a fully equipped outdoor kitchen. For the past two years the JGF has been funding and supporting the management of the project, successfully creating a platform for environmental education, social events and community gardening. There is a vision of including Bustania into the larger ecological basin in the Azbestonim Valley, with an emphasis on community, inclusivness, accessibility, education and environmental protection.
JGF projects in the Bustania Community Garden include:
Educational Activities for ganim, high school and post-high school programs
Monthly Women's Gatherings
Communal events and initiatives
The valley in which the garden is located is to be developed into a municipal park, creating a situation in which the preservation of urban nature and the future of the garden became a cause of concern. In response to this and other challenges and interests, we created the Round Table for Sustainability in Yuvalim - local citizens, professionals and activists working together to ensure the inclusion of the community and environmental principals in the planning of the park, and to create a dialogue on development which would be sustainable for the ecosystems as well as the communities around the valley. After a number of meetings, we received the blessing of the city planner as well as the Mayor to continue and expand our activities. Since then we have been in direct contact with the architects of the park, who have shown interest in working together, and implementing sustainable solutions. The members of the Round Table are continuing to meet and cooperate on this and other issues. Moving forward, the north part of the park will have an emphasis on community work and environmental education.
Due to the pandemic, outdoor education has gained in importance. This year we received a grant from Keren Shachaf to build an outdoor classroom that will cater to formal as well as informal educational institutions from both neighborhoods. The structure has been approved, and is being built together with the community under the guidance of a professional carpenter, and in cooperation with the local authorities. Construction has started, and hopefully will be concluded by the end of December 2021. So far 4 kindergartens will be spending a full day there weekly and programs for teenagers and families with special needs are taking place twice a week in the afternoons.
In spite of the challenges and restrictions due to the pandemic, the garden has evolved into an outdoor community center, and has successfully continued to host multiple events that cater to all of the different communities in the neighborhood - young families, people with special needs, teenagers, woman groups and religious communities. All events were held in accordance with current Corona regulations, in cooperation and funded by the different branches of the community council, "Young Jerusalem" and local initiatives.