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A Volunteer’s First Day at a Youth Village’s Urban Farm

Updated: Apr 3

The OCT 2, 2013 workday started 8:00 am at the ecological demonstration area, which is located on former tennis courts close to where I stay off the school grounds. The hard surface of the courts means all plants and trees are in pots. My roommates are a young couple from Canada working for meals and lodging while traveling through the Middle East. Devon is plumber and Jessica is graphic artist who worked at major ad agency. They are pleasant and accommodating; we work well together.

Weeding was first task of the day. Weeds sprouting from the pavement cracks were challenging but unable to stand up to my ruthless scraping. Next task was worming. Worms are cultivated in large, wooden boxes under shade. Worms are watered couple times weekly to keep their neighborhood moist. After mercilessly hunting 25 terrified worms I fed them to delighted fish. Here’s the inside on the ecology of this process. Fish waste fertilizes water, which feeds the roots of plants growing in water. How about that?

While my roommates cleaned mold from large canvas-covered geo dome I helped straighten an old wood pile. Then it was time for lunch.

The kitchen staff lets us eat about 15 minutes before the ravenous kids swarm into the cafeteria. The broccoli soup was outstanding (two bowls!). Kitchen duty consists of unloading plates, bowls, utensils, pots and pans from 20-foot long hissing, whining washer system.

I noticed three young girls in Israeli Army uniforms. When one brought her tray to be cleaned, I asked what she was doing at the school. She told me her team is assigned to work with kids from broken homes. How interesting! I hope to learn more about their work and will tell you about it.

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