How does a global Jewish citizen celebrate Tu b'Shvat?
On this Jewish agricultural new year, read how a few of OLAM’s coalition partners are envisioning their roles – and yours – in changing the world through sustainable agriculture in the year ahead.
“On Tu b’Shvat, we are inspired by the biodiversity of the community forests in our Nepali villages, which our bee experts say offer huge amounts of nectar—enough for at least 3,000 hives. To address the numerous challenges that Nepali communities are still facing, we have stepped up our livelihood projects, focusing on water projects for irrigation, growing vegetables, improving rice, corn and wheat production, and ginger production as well. We are improving connections to the market through collection points and improving market access. In 2016, our main focus is stabilizing the 25,000 Nepali villagers who are still homeless, and continuing to work to grow their horizons.” -Micha Odenheimer, Executive Director, Tevel b’Tzedek
Farmers of the Future
“The women in our program in Niger are able to grow and sell approximately 400,000 fruits a year, from crops originally from Israel. This allows women to earn a steady income, and produce can be effectively dispersed throughout the country. A main contributor to poverty within rural Africa is unreliable crop and food production, so our work aims to increase the amount of small-scale irrigation of high value crops. In 2016, we’re working to demonstrate to various governments and development agencies the feasibility of our approach. Additionally, we are proud to be leaving two villages that have successfully reached independence.” Dov Pasternak, Advisor, Farmers of the Future
“Our work is centered around sustainable farming, therefore, very closely linked to Tu b’Shvat. Fair Planet works to address communities facing extreme poverty and malnutrition, and provide them with access to high quality seeds, so they can improve their crop productivity and food production.
We focus on vegetables as the best source for high-value nutrition and cash income. This increased income will enable smallholder farmers to exit the vicious cycle of poverty. This year we are starting training and extension plans for farmers in Ethiopia. It is the first time we are implementing training, and through this capacity-building we aim to improve the livelihood of those impacted.” -Dr. Shoshan Haran, Founder and General Manager, Fair Planet
Manna Center Program for Food Safety and Security
“As we celebrate Tu b’Shvat this year we are reminded of the importance of trees and plants around us. Our community is the world; and some of the major challenges facing the world in regards to food insecurity include plant and animal disease, climate change, incomplete food systems, and a general lack of information among small scale farmers. We work on understanding the mechanisms of plants that are able to withstand a changing environment so that we can develop better varieties; and support our graduate students to work on intensive applied research. In the upcoming year, we’re looking forward to hosting several conferences in the realm of Food Security, and launching our 2016 International Food Safety & Security Summer Institute which will take place throughout the month of July.” -Maya Oren, Program Director, Manna Center Program for Food Safety and Security
“In honor of Tu b’Shvat, the new year for trees, we continue growth and renewal, and hope that the TEN family around the world will continue to inspire others by using their resources to give. Most communities where we work suffer from the highest levels of illiteracy, unemployment, and lack of basic services, such as running water, sanitation and infrastructure. We focus on implementing informal education programs, creating sustainable agriculture, and increasing health education. In the coming year, Project TEN is expanding its programs, and building a new center in South Africa.” -Daniel Aschheim, Director of Marketing Project TEN
Weitz Center for Sustainable Development
“In the book of Genesis, Adam is told by God that he is given the land ‘to cultivate and to preserve.’ That is exactly [the Weitz Center’s approach to] sustainable development. To continue development, not to halt change, but at the same time to do it in a sustainable manner and preserve the environment for future generations. In 2016, we plan to continue to implement sustainable development projects within Israel and internationally.” Adi Dishon, Director, Weitz Center for Sustainable Development