Neighborhoods in poorer parts of Israel’s cities are densely populated, have few open spaces and are characterized by dirt and neglect. Residents are generally marginalized, from low-socioeconomic backgrounds or are immigrants to Israel from poor countries. They have little to no connection with their neighborhoods and community bonds remain unformed as without communal spaces there are no places for people to gather to get to know each other. Without a sense of community an area becomes little more than a soulless collection of buildings, bereft of communal life which can lead to alienation, and this sense of alienation often leads to dirt, littering and other social and environmental problems.
Our community gardens project is a grass roots project aimed at all residents, empowering them to create their own community garden. Community Gardens are small patches of barren land that residents work together to make bloom. By physically working the land residents are able to develop a deep connection which evidence shows helps improve the community’s appearance and cleanliness. This activity brings residents and communities together and transforms patches of barren land into blossoming gardens.
In just under 15 years 300 Community Gardens have been established in Israel actively influencing residents’ daily actions. Residents, with assistance from a project coordinator, are tasked with planning, building, planting and maintaining their own community garden and also for organizing activities for the entire community that take place there such as parties for Rosh Hashana or performances for local musicians. Community gardens have provent themselves by improving the quality of life for residents by bringing nature to their doorstep and helping build a community spirit. The community garden gives residents something they can take pride in and often works as a catalyst for residents to take a greater interest in other social and environmental issues that affect them.
Community gardens are made possibly by the generous donations of individuals, families, Bar/Bat Mitzvah projects, foundations, and more. Be a part of the success and sponsor a community garden today! For more information, e-mail us here.
The "White House"
This is one of four SPNI community gardens in Beer Sheva. This garden is in the "Daled" neighborhood, and students from Ben Gurion University volunteer their time to work with residents in the community gardens.
"Neve Ofer" and "Gan Eden"
The Neve Ofer garden was established in a poor neighborhood and now serves as a center for after-school activities for at-risk youth. The Gan Eden garden serves the Ethiopean immigrant community.
This garden replaced a mound of garbage that was a permanent fixture in this neighborhood. The garden now serves as a platform for community events and cohesiveness between neighbors.
Ma'aglei Yavne and Or Zamenhoff
Ma'aglei Yavne's community garden provides much more than vegetables- the garden is also home to an eco-playground for children! Or Zamenhoff's garden is located behind the American Consulate and it's characteristic "Coca Cola" bottle planters combine consumerism with environmentalism.