The Roundtable for Sustainability
The Roundtable for Sustainability in Kiryat Menachem has recently concluded its second year. The roundtable meets every other month, hosted by the various participating communities and organizations, or at private food-growing and environmental locations in the neighborhood.
The participants of the roundtable have continued from the previous year, with the prominent partners being Reishit school, different departments of the community center (sustainability and youth), the Ethiopian community Center (Bet HaHistadrut), the Society for Protection of Nature, the neighborhood welfare department, the neighborhood youth center, and citizens involved in community gardens and food growing.
These meetings have fostered cooperation among the different participants and organizations, leading to new projects in the neighborhood. The discussions at the meetings of the round table create an opportunity for peer learning and support. In fact we believe the round table of sustainability to be an easily replicable model, which is already being put into practice in neighboring Kiryat Yovel.
Community Gardens in Public-owned Private Spaces
Following two prolonged lockdowns we received requests from several residents interested in developing community gardens in the privately owned shared space adjacent to their houses. We created a partnership with a similar municipal project which had just begun, including a commitment for matching funds, and put out a call for applications.
We received more than 20 requests, from which we selected 5 gardens. To date we have assisted in developing three gardens. We provide the residents with professional gardening support, a basic tool set, plants and compost. We also conducted a tour of the Nature Museum community garden, in order to inspire and provide additional ideas and tools for the development of a successful community garden. Since we are entering Shmita, this coming year will be focused on community infrastructure in the garden such as benches etc.
Building an Ethiopian traditional mud hut (Godjo)
Together with Bet Hahistadrut we applied for two grants for building new infrastructure in the Ethiopian community garden - the Estates’ Committee and Placemaking.
Both these grants were approved, and with an additional contribution from the community center we were able to launch the building of the Godjo, a dream of the senior citizens group of the Ethiopian community center.
The foundation of the hut is built of a concrete floor and metal frame, requiring approval from a safety engineer. The rest of the construction work, including adding wooden beams, building the roof with bamboo and straw and building the mud walls was all done by volunteers from the Ethiopian community, and by now more than 100 volunteers from the neighborhood, around the city, and even outside the city. One of the workdays was a community event, at which the Ethiopian senior citizens also sold their crafts and offered hospitality. Three layers of mud are required both on the inside and the outside of the hut.
The Godjo has now been completed. See pictures from the building process in our full documentary album.
Supporting the local Community Gardens
Thanks to partnerships in the roundtable, we succeeded in building benches for Pninat Hanurit garden and window-boxes for the garden in Beit HaHistadrut. We had long promised the residents who use the gardens these two project and we maanged to do the work with the help of youth from the neighborhood, who learn carpentry, and build small projects for the neighborhood.
The youth got paid for their work, and this gives them both a source of income, pride in their trade and service to the community. We hope to be able to use their skills in additional projects in the neighborhood in the future.