Sunday we said goodbye to the last of the northerns, Sima. As we also said goodbye to our Jerusalem flat of 4 months, to bus down to Kibbutz Lotan. We were greeted inside the gate by two of our teachers, Mark and Steven. After putting our bags inside our new eco-dome homes, we were shown around the bustan (the small part of the Kibbutz where the GA’s (green apprentices live) and the many different permaculture based tech inside, including; bio-gas kitchens, compost toilets, the many different ovens and solar panels that power the night time lights. With the tour out the way we gravitated to the best place to be on a 38C day, the pool. After some kef in the pool and a nice dinner we went to bed with a 6:30 am class the next day
The next day started with some good physical labour which was de-weeding one of the gardens. We pulled out regular weeds and the special weed also known as “spikey bois”( they also have another name but its not as nice). After a good 1 and half hours of weeding, we got access to the cheder ochel (food hall) for a buffet style breakfast which was greatly appreciated for our still tired bodies. Steven introduces us to the fun and messy process of making mud bricks as well as what makes up the earth we stand on. Mark then showed us a documentary on the Kibbutz movement, which was a good insight on one of the things that helped build this nation. After another great meal in the cheder ochel, we finally got to meet the other GA’s who had arrived that day. We did an afternoon of getting to know each other and ended with a great pita and salad dinner.
Tuesday we were all gathered in the eco-kef (the massive garden we do our hands on work in) at 6:15 where we learned about and how to make compost, batch style. With breakfast devoured, us netzer-niks separated from the group to have a lecture with Michael Livini, one of the earliest pioneers of reform zionism. The afternoon was another round of trust exercises which included; getting lost in the desert, moose calling and stopping toxic waste in the Jordan.
Wednesday was pt2 to the compost going into the nitty gritty science of what we had done the day before, followed by the introduction the container gardening and how you can make the most of your space to grow plants. In the afternoon another lecturer Alex introduced us properly to the topic of permaculture and how its more than just agriculture. Finally in the evening we watched part of the documentary “Fresh” to not only cover some of the stuff we have done but also show us some great real world examples.
So far we have had an amazing time on the GA program and are looking foward to a weekend in Haifa planning for the Telem camp in August.