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Apr 27

Nitzanim Plans Fields for שמיטה (Sh’mitah)

Yesterday and today, Nitzanim participated in an activity to help them understand the science behind שמיטה (sh’mitah—release). In groups of two, children were assigned a crop, either perennial or annual, and told to design their field with blocks. They each had a glass jar of “nutrients.” While they built, we acted out a scenario to learn about how to keep the fields and soil healthy and full of nutrients. The pairs of annual farmers lost some of their nutrients every year because their crops were hard on the soil. One pair was told that they rotated their crops and thereby gained back some of their nutrients. Another group had to let their field lie completely fallow during שמיטה(sh’mitah—release) but gained back all of their nutrients after a year of rest.

At the end of the exercise, children were asked to design their field for the sixth year, right before שמיטה (sh’mitah—release) and to consider what they needed to maintain their nutrients and have enough to eat for the seventh year.

Many children decided to plant perennials in their field and a few added storage facilities to save up food for the year. Other children diversified their fields and planted a variety of crops, some annual and some perennial.

Here are their field designs (and some proud landscape architects!):

A strawberry field with a storage barn.

A strawberry field with a storage barn.

A field of pear trees and a storage facility for corn.

A field of pear trees and a storage facility for corn.

A special box to store food.

A special box to store food.

An apple orchard.

An apple orchard.

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An apple orchard and wheat field.

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A field of perennials and wild berries with a farm house.

A corn field and wild blueberry patch.

A corn field and wild blueberry patch.

 

 

 

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