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I am one of many volunteers in the grass roots, non-profit organization, Earth's Promise. This past year we created an organic community garden with the Ethiopian community of Beer Sheva, Israel. Our garden is called the "Building Strong Roots" community garden, located in the Gimmel Neighborhood of Beer Sheva.

We chose a neglected piece of land originally intended to be a park as the site for the garden. This instructable will showcase the steps we took to construct the garden. We hope this instructable will help anyone considering building a garden in your community. Please visit our website for more information.

Earth's Promise

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Step 1: Planning

A lot of time went into planning the garden. The biggest issue was location, location, location. We spent over 5 months searching out communities who would be interested in working with us. In the end we chose an absorption center who house new Ethiopian immigrants to Israel. It worked out well for us because most Ethiopians have agriculture experience, especially in the coffee fields. We actually ended up learning more about gardening from them.

Step 2: Acquire the land

This can be one of the most frustrating parts to building the community garden. The land we intended to use was neglected and full of garbage. The problem was that it was intended for public use. We approached the city many times and got the support of the deputy mayor and city engineer. In the end, we got permission to use the land for the garden. This was a big victory. We do know that there is more work to do. Having permission and owning the rights to the land are very different things.

Step 3: Initial Land Cleanup

Picture of Initial Land Cleanup
Before the land could be used, it needed a good cleanup. We organized a "Cleanup Day." This was a huge success. We had so much help picking up trash and moving rocks. We added a little music and brought in volunteers from the local high school and university to help.
Beautiful! Thank you for your work and sharing it here with us.
I love community gardens. Yours looks so friendly and fun. Do you do a pot luck?
amcarter814 years ago
In the US, depending on the City, the biggest hurdle can often be permitting and associated costs. In my city currently, any community garden will cost at least $5,000 usually more and one on environmentally sensitive land cost $45,000.
strambeer (author)  amcarter814 years ago
Dear Amcarter81. You are 100% correct. I should have included a "Fund-raising" step. Private donors were solicited along with area industry and the local municipality. We also applied for grants. Private donors covered most our expenses while the municipality and industry covered services and merchandise. For example, the compost was a donation by a local company. They just delivered a truckload of compost. For each of our donors we framed pictures of the garden with a message of thanks from the smiling kids. It really meant a lot to them. We really wanted to show them that their donation was positive and it really made a difference. I hope other people can share their experiences with fund-raising as this is the most difficult part to creating the garden. Thank you.
gabrielG24 years ago
After seeing this i'm really interested in becoming a volunteer... beautiful work!
Best regards from Brazil!
strambeer, well done indeed!  Gardens can be created just about anywhere that human beings have the vision to see them.  Having created a garden where there was nothing but asphalt, I know that this is true.  A garden anywhere is a thing of beauty, but one that was created from waste ground is truly a gift to the world and an inspiration.  Please convey my admiration and good wishes to the members of your community.

This is an excellent instructable because it covers the whole process from conception to fruition, with a focus on how problems got solved, ways to create partnerships and get community involvement.  It's also written at the right level.  Details of how to improve the soil, how to choose crops, how to build the beds and irrigation system, etc. are all somewhat dependent on local conditions, and going into them in detail here isn't really necessary.  I think things like the decision-making process are a lot more universal, though, and having your description of that part of the "how" is very helpful. 
phifoooo4 years ago
 Bravo !
elenilla5 years ago
blodefood5 years ago
I really like this kind of stuff.  :-)  Closest we have to a community garden is our church's lot where a group, who is trying to help our community find solutions to poverty, worked with our church to plant a garden.  The produce from our first season, (about 100 kg or so) went directly to food bank hampers.  We're planning to expand it this summer.

We got our community involved by providing kitchen space to a group that harvests fruit and nuts from city residents trees, gives a third to the owner, a third to the volunteers and a third to the food bank.  There was lots of fresh fruit and the rest went into mason jars at preserving parties at the church kitchen.  We are still enjoying last summer's fruit in desserts served at our weekly free community lunch.

A good name5 years ago
Just a question (vaguely sarcastic, but then sort of genuinely interested): Does the FBI actually cover you in Israel?
strambeer (author)  A good name5 years ago
Hi Good Name, First, if i'm not mistaken the FBI handles domestic security issues. I don't think they would be too concerned with me living in Israel. In fact, Israel is one of America's top allays, especially when it comes to information sharing and counter terrorism. Near where I live, American solders are sent to learn how to combat urban warefare at a mock city. This is a very safe country with a rich history and fantastic scenery. I highly recomend reading about it on the net. You never know, you may be interested in visiting. Thanks for the question.
chezcraig15 years ago
Hi from Australia, We are 7 months into the planning and set up of a community garden in the town of Sapphire, in the Mining Gemfields of Queensland. The ground is all rock, Sapphire rocks, and nothing will grow, not even weeds, so we are making our garden plots raised for a no dig style soil. We have added Hay, grass cuttings from the local football club, manure is free here we just had to collect it, our local council gave us 1 acre of land, that is flood prone, that is the reason for the raised plots and they gave us compost from the botanical gardens in the major centre of Emerald. We only have 12 people so the labour is hard, but we have recently gained the assistance of one of Australia's large Mining Incorporation, Rio Tinto, so things are looking up. We are raising money to purchase much needed supplies of seed, fertilizer, etc, by running a Bingo night for the community at large. I hope one day to be able to see vegetables growing, people enjoying the fruits of their labour and many more members. I take my hat off to you for the work you have done over there.
funkyonions5 years ago
It is literally AMAZING to know what people can do when they come together to work on a project. My hats off to those who become inspired to help their communities in such a positive way!! It only takes one with a vision and the rest will follow....
This is an amazing Instructable! What a great project. I wonder if we could do this in my computer in Northwestern Canada.
That should say community... not computer. Yikes.
dr156 years ago
אתם סופר אדירים, כל הכבוד!
strambeer (author)  dr156 years ago
המון תודות! את מוזמנת לבקר את הגינה.
A good name6 years ago
Amazing instructable. Well played.
bsrome6 years ago
This is really inspiring :) I wish I had the time to dedicate towards fronting something like this in my neighborhood!
nolte9196 years ago
Wow!! That is just so incredible it brings tears to my eyes. Well done! Well done indeed.