Another core initiative of the Sha’ar LaAdam-Bab L'ilInsan forest is coexistence through agricultural education and ecological work. Every year we host groups of students from local Jewish and Arab schools to participate together in ecological work, and learn about the environment through working and understanding the earth. Alongside our values of coexistence and community is the value of sustainable development and ecological practice. We aim to host coexistence groups to come together and participate in considerate treatment of the land; an entity which is common to all cultures and groups, as well as joint human work, working together for each other. In the forest situated between the Arab village of Ka’abiyye and the Jewish Kibbutz Harduf, the centre upholds a neutral space which holds no national identity and hosts joint Arab and Jewish activities.
The emphasis on shared work and intercultural encounters is believed to enable all levels of the individual; the physical, cognitive and emotional, to be expressed and shared with others around them. The ecological projects not only help to give back to the environment, but also have the innate potential to foster participant’s connection with life’s foundation – the earth. Such a space creates a process which frees a person from the national identity and exposes them to an activity common to all individuals as human beings.
All buildings within the forest are ecologically built. Permanent buildings are built with local stone and wood, and the majority of toilets are composting toilets.
The overarching goal is to bring groups of Jewish and Arab youth together to bridge and overcome the gaps between them through working together on ecological projects, which will aid in connecting them to the environment and to each other in a neutral field.
The biodynamic garden was created to facilitate educational activities within the centre, which, in additional to providing a sustainable and organic source of food for volunteers within the centre, also serves as an educational garden facility for groups within the local community interested in learning about biodynamic gardening. Each year we hold educational activities for groups of students from Jewish and Arab schools with the aim to facilitate group connection through environmentally conscious common activities. We also hold such activities for youth movements, international youth groups and more, for an ecological experience which provides an opportunity to know the local people, to create encounters between Arab and Jewish people, to experience and learn about bio-dynamic gardening, ecological building, ecological composting toilets, cooking in an ecological kitchen, correct use of water, art and creativity in nature, and more.