Opening Day

By: Lucy Rayberg

The grand opening of The Solar Garden brought an eclectic community of people together to set the wheel in motion for an ecologically conscious future in Israel.  The excitement in the air was palpable as recycling projects, organic gardening, and alternative energy workshops got underway.

The opening was a milestone for one man in particular, Yaniv Fieldust, whose tireless efforts, keen entrepreneurial sense and big heart brought him to this day where his project literally came to life. “The idea behind The Solar Garden is to educate the public about our environmental impact and the changes we can make to live more sustainably. We want to inspire Israeli youth  to take an active role in their engagement with the earth.” Says Fieldust. “The Solar Garden is also a place where people can learn about and purchase eco-friendly products and technologies to use in their own homes.”

The Solar Garden lives by their motto of “reduce, reuse, repair, recycle, and refuse.”  The Solar Garden is an ongoing project with help from volunteers all around the world who share the dedication to living in deference to the earth that sustains us.

A taste of Sustainability

The educational workshops with children included mud and stick building, creating instruments out of recycled materials, bubble making, forming seed balls for planting at home,  and planting vegetables and herbs in the organic garden in honor of Tu B’Shvat, the Jewish holiday that marks the new year for trees. Mud building was led by Itai Barak, who taught the children how to make mud bricks that will be used to build a mud oven. Bamboo Building was led by Avi Lebovich, a local bamboo artist from Beit Habambook. The children built Magen Davids (Jewish Stars) and other unique creations using bamboo. The Recycled Toys Workshop was led by Efrat Shaked, a well-known Israeli designer and artist who showcases toys she collected during her travels in India.  The highlight was bubble wands which were made using stripped electric wires and then dipped into soapy water to produce enchanting bubbles that floated throughout the geodesic dome where the workshop was held. The Seed Balls Workshop was led by Shahar Weinstein, a neighbor and organic gardening instructor.  The children were very excited about bringing seeds home with them for planting in their own yards.

Finally, all the children participated in planting herbs, flowers, vegetables, and succulents within The Solar Garden with Lucy Rayberg, a volunteer from the US. The children planted a vegetable bed that was built using rocks on the outside with layers of compost, soil, mulch, and straw on the inside.  So many hands and hearts touched The Solar Garden on Opening Day, each receiving as much as they put into it.

Only The Beginning

The adults perused the various displays showcased throughout the center. The Solar Garden boasts 15 foot solar cubes that show how to harness energy from the sun,  two wind turbines, and a bio-diesel machine. A section of the Garden is dedicated to  the purification and preservation of water, a precious commodity in Israel. The hydroponic system circulates the nutrients from fish to feed the plants, and a grey water system feeds water back into the garden.The spacial structures of The Garden were built with intention and care; two large geodesic domes, a geothermal paint insulation on the front of the house, a large recycling center, and of course a compost bin. “These structures are only the beginning; “The plans for The Solar Garden are continually progressing and more displays will be added in the near future.”

As the sun set on Opening Day at The Solar Garden, visitors were treated to a circus, hand made pizza, and wine from the local winery in Binyamina. The presence of Ori Disatnik, the head of the Binyamina municipality,  affirmed the Garden’s dedication to serving the local community. It was truly a monumentous occasion for The Solar Garden as countless hours of physical labor and emotional devotion were put into the memorable opening day.

Opening day served as a valuable launchpad for educational initiatives, innovative projects, and respect for the land on which we tread. With their feet on the ground, the Solar Garden crew sets their sights on planting the seed of environmental action in as many people as possible.

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