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New Adamama urban oasis to sprout young shoots

New Adamama urban oasis to sprout young shoots PAULA TOWERS: The Jewish urban garden project has launched a new venue for young adults to gather and grow vegetables.
Paula Towers
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Adamama 1a

Participants at the new urban garden in Sydney (courtesy)

Published: 9 January 2024

Last updated: 5 March 2024

The Jewish urban garden project has launched a new venue for young adults to gather and grow vegetables.

Adamama has launched a community garden in Sydney to enable young Jewish adults to grow their own organic products. The initiative, which is based in Sydney’s east, is the latest by the Jewish urban garden project, which is funded by Shalom.

“There are 20 pods on offer, and free rent for a year is available for each participant or group giving them access to three square metres,” Adamama director Elik Rotenberg told The Jewish Independent.

“We are thrilled to offer young adults (aged 20-35) an oasis to gather together in Queens Park, to learn gardening skills as well as grow veggies and friendships. Each pod can be occupied by just yourself, or with a friend, family or any group or organisation, which will be next to each other in the same area.”

Located in an organic, private community garden, the project also offers a great opportunity to be part of a vibrant young Jewish community with a shared interest in nature and food. 

“The Project’s aim is to give knowledge to young adults about growing their own plants by themselves,” Rotenberg said. “Usually they are very busy - into university, starting a first job - so hopefully this will bring them together every now and then.

“From my experience in the Jewish community, young adults are the hardest generation to engage with; they need very specific programs to raise their interest. It's a very important generation and if we can keep them engaged with community, we'll all benefit.”

To further help the successful applicants grow their own vegetables, fruit and flowers, hands-on lessons will also be offered on permaculture, propagation, germination, garden design, composting and organic pest control, together with seasonal workshops.

Adamama is Australia’s first Educational Urban Farm, inspired by Jewish values of nurturing community. “Such values include sustainable farming such as reducing waste - basically composting and sharing food, and taking care of the garden corners but leaving them for others to enjoy [ie the produce].”

Run out of the Randwick Sustainability Hub, Adamama is a program run by Shalom, a not-for-profit whose mission is to increase the vibrancy and engagement of the Sydney Jewish community through programs and special events.

Rabbi Alon Meltzer, Shalom’s Director of Programs, notes that “this element of the program is an opportunity to go back to Adamama’s roots and really cultivate a small growing community around permaculture values and sustainability”.

The free rent is for one year and, if people take care of their pod, the rent can be extended for another year. “They have to spend time on their pod; so need to attend to it at least twice a month, and go to at least four of the five workshops.”

Rotenberg’s background was in running Tzofim, the Israel Scouts, for five years in Sydney. “Through Tzofim, I worked with Adamama on a few programs with teenagers then got the job as Adamama educator. After four months, I took over from Mitch [Burnie, Adamama founder and former manager] and have been in this position for around eight months.”

The Jewish Independent

What does he like most about Adamama? “I love the educational part, as well as working with people and just working the soil.” Currently he’s in the garden a few times a week which, with two sites now, is set to increase.

“We are looking forward to the new Community Garden Project and would love anyone that is interested to get in touch.”

Though applications for this cohort have closed, as there was strong demand for places, interested applicants should submit their applications for the next cohort as soon as possible.


About the author

Paula Towers

Paula Towers is a writer and editor, and has also worked as a political speechwriter and researcher. Currently, Paula is a presenter and producer on the Arts Thursday show at Sydney's Eastside Radio as well as a freelance writer for print publications and a travel web site.

The Jewish Independent acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of Country throughout Australia. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and strive to honour their rich history of storytelling in our work and mission.

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