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22/07/10
!Guest Bloggers: Bec, Lani, Noah, Hannah, and Steph

Arriving at City Tree for the first time as a group of well-intentioned but ecologically naive Australians was something we did with quite a lot of good faith, not knowing exactly what we were getting into. Over a month on, we're glad we had that faith.

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Here in Israel on a ten month leadership program with a Zionist youth movement called Netzer, our two months living in Tel Aviv consist of volunteer work at organisations of our choice. For some of us, CityTree happened to be one of those choices...

Our time here is spent working with Tami on CityTree's multitudes of projects, all aimed at improving the flat in ecologically sustainable ways. While this may sometimes feel a bit like just doing Tami's housework, we are motivated by the idea that the work we are doing here is building up a model to inspire people (ourselves included) to make changes in their own lives. This all sounds a bit high and mighty but really a lot of the work is pretty fun and satisfying. Here are a few examples:

We've become experts in raw fruit and vegetable balls, the delicious ecological equivalent of cookies - both in production and consumption. The process involves mixing together a seemingly bizarre mix of fresh produce (e.g. beetroot, dates, coconut, carob and raw cacao powder) through Tami's never-fail food processor (GreenStar) and getting a bit sticky when we roll them into balls. Theoretically these should be for Tami to share on CityTree's open house days but we manage to grab a few a long the way. ;)

Lately, as we become more and more adept at the CityTree ways, we've been working in the garden a lot. What at first appears to be a shambles of old poles, wooden planks, and a whole heap of buckets is actually a permaculturalist's dream - a tool kit for a fertile garden. Up the back are a few compost piles (ones we've been adding to with our organic waste from home) whose smell you eventually get over once you realise the far-reaching benefits they have. The number of wooden poles and wire mesh lying around have decreased since we've been here as we make trellises and plant supports for some of the many plants in Tami's oasis-in-progress. And we've also put a dent in Tami's stockpile of compost and potted plants, a result of all the soil building and planting we've undertaken. Stinky work, yes (both because of the compost we used which was half-done, and the sweat we work up). But like we said, satisfying.

With less than a month left to work here at CityTree, we find ourselves wishing we had just a bit more time to finish those last few projects and gain a few more skills to take home with us to Australia. Nevertheless, our time here has been amazing, if not at all what we expected, and we have great hopes for the future of this organisation!

Bec (Adelaide), Lani (Melbourne), Noah (Sydney), Hannah (Adelaide) and Steph (Melbourne). SHNAT NETZER AUSTRALIA.

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