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Urban Agriculture and Ethiopian Jews

French news report showing the Kalisher Community Garden.

The Kalisher garden enables the Ethiopian community to dig deep, to vitalize and enrich the landscape, to stay connected with their past culture, and to look forward to a bright future in their new homeland.

By Doni Kaye
Aug 28, 2013


This scene encapsulates a typical gardening session at the Kalisher Community Garden located near one of Beer Sheba’s absorption centers designated for families of immigrants from Ethiopia. This summer, I have had the opportunity to work in urban agriculture spaces located near several centers of Israel’s recent immigrant communities, many from Ethiopia. During this time, I have seen how these urban gardens encourage intermingling between community members; yield produce which offers families with an additional source of income; and affords residents with supplemental food options.

But the gardens do much more than alleviate financial stress and conduce social interaction amongst neighbors. Urban agriculture especially benefits underprivileged communities that have limited access to nutritious food. Verily, these urban gardens assuage many strains and pressures immigrants experience during their transition to life in Israel.

The large variety of plants grown within the garden enhance the landscape and allow new immigrants to prepare many of the incredible dishes unique to Ethiopia. Many of the plants in Kalisher are central to Ethiopian are crucial ingredients in many classic Ethiopian dishes. The most distinctive feature of the garden are towering cornstalks, of a special variety found in Ethiopia.

Read the complete article here.