EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABILITY
The Reshit School Initiative
This initiative is supported by the Lisa and Maury Friedman Foundation.
The Reshit School has a large and productive greenhouse and garden, and is a member of the Sustainable Jerusalem Advocacy Forum, established in 2018 by Naomi Tsur (Chair of the JGF), with the goal of combining the efforts of neighborhoods, organizations and institutions to make Jerusalem a cleaner, greener and healthier city. The underlying principle is that it is important to focus on schools, where children not only learn the habits and disciplines that will guide them as adults, but will also hopefully impact their whole family.
This initiative addresses core issues in Kiryat Menachem, a socio-economically weak neighborhood, with a mix of immigrants from Ethiopia and the former Soviet Union, alongside Israeli families, some of whom are attracted to the neighborhood because of the high standards set by the Reshit School.
This project will be the first step in a process that will hopefully, within a few years lead to opportunities for employment as a result of local food growing, hospitality and catering initiatives.
Initially, a group of families (whose children are students at the Reshit school) met regularly and received training and support in local small-scale food growing. Every child in the school was given a planter to take home and grow herbs and vegetables, seeded from the school greenhouse.
This approach will hopefully ultimately contribute to food security, but also empower and create a sense of community within the neighborhood. In addition this will also strengthen the connection between the Reshit School and the wider community.
By developing local food security, healthy eating habits and initiatives that can strengthen the neighborhood economy, we see an opportunity to strengthen social cohesion and restore dignity through empowerment of the local community. The Reshit school is leading the way to make Kiryat Menachem an “edible neighborhood” (one that is actively engaged in growing a significant portion of its fruit and vegetables locally).
Timna Raz coordinates these activities on behalf of the Jerusalem Green Fund.
The Jerusalem Green Fund has added an interesting component to the project, incorporating the SPNI Docu-Activism program in the process, whereby the schoolchildren themselves learn about video documentation and and tell the story. Here is the most recent film, documenting the work in 2018-2019.