Ha’Yarden School Transformation
By Dipanshu Sharma
The Ha’Yarden school project was the first project that Bethanie, Kirsty and I visited during our internship.
The once abandoned back of the school has been transformed into an amazing interactive learning environment for students!
The Ha’Yarden school is located in the Hatikva neighborhood of south-east Tel Aviv. Most students at the school come from low-socioeconomic backgrounds and some even have a refugee background. To promote the benefits of a well balanced diet, the Association for Urban Farming has established an interactive learning facility for the students.
Omer teaching the students about urban farming!
Every time we visit the learning facility, we are amazed at how much the students enjoy learning about hydroponic systems. In a way, the learning facility has inevitably become a home away from home for many of the students. I recall a conversation with one student, when asked if they come to help Omer (Ha’Yarden Project Manager) everyday, she said, “Yes, everyday. I like it.” This conversation reminded me of how attached I had become with the garden at my primary school. I think projects like this provide students a sense of purpose and responsibility which help them understand the importance of taking care of our planet.
The greenhouse serves as a place to grow new seedlings and is also a part of the education component of the center
Introducing an urban farming learning facility for students at Ha’Yarden school has provided the students with a unique learning opportunity where they can explore the journey of the produce they see everyday in markets or at home. This insight into agriculture has allowed students to make beneficial dietary choices. On our first day, we were informed that according to a small survey that the association completed at the school, most students did not consume any fresh vegetables or fruits regularly. When this survey was completed six months later, the number of students who had fresh produce in their diet had increased drastically.
Ha’Yarden should serve as a model for how to increase agriculture literacy among urban communities through interactive activities. In our last week of interning with the association, we are eager to continue working alongside the staff at Ha’Yarden.