In honor of Tu B’Shvat, we would like to introduce you to Dror Israel’s very own educational orchards! The fields are an opportunity for youth to connect to the land and agriculture.
Dror Israel's Kibbutz Ravid is a very special kibbutz in that, while it has agricultural fields, its primary “industry” is not a factory or agriculture... but rather education. So what does an educational kibbutz need agriculture for?
The Dror Educational Orchards is an agricultural cooperative on Kibbutz Ravid, which grows mangoes, avocados, citrus, olives and lychees. While the products bring income into the kibbutz, they also provide an opportunity for education and new experiences. The fields are open for youth groups and classes to come and do a few days to a week of work helping in the fields. The participants that come to the fields get the opportunity to use their hands and muscles and connect to the land, while learning about the agricultural industry in the country. In addition to the youth that come through to work in the fields there are groups of Dror Israel members that come up to do a week of work in the fields, enjoying group bonding, the outdoors, and a break from their regular routine.
One participant, an 18-year old visitor all the way from the California branch of the Habonim Dror youth movement, wrote of her experience:
“From this experience I’ve gained a new sense of what it means to wipe sweat from your brow after a hard day's work. The experience at the end of the day, when we are all hanging out together and building our relationships, is just as important as the actual work in the fields. I believe everyone finds a different way of connecting and each of the ways are important and valuable lessons for life.”
The orchards pride themselves on providing educational and group building experiences through physical labor and a feeling of group accomplishment - something that most Israeli kids these days are not exposed to. The experience also teaches about challenges of modern agriculture in Israel and much more.