My name is David, I’m 18 years old and from Budapest, Hungary. I take part in a program called Eco-Israel, which is a five-month program on a sustainable community farm near the city of Modi’in. We are a group of eight “Ecos”, living and volunteering in Israel together with the local young Israelis.

I chose this program because I was really intrigued by the idea that a community can be self-sufficient and ecological. Here at the Hava Veadam (Hava and Adam) Farm, I see that it actually works! We recycle everything, eat the fruits and vegetables that we grow here, and get electricity from solar panels we’ve built. Most of our educational programming is about permaculture and sustainability, but we also study Hebrew and the history of Israel. Other interesting aspects are practical activities, such as building houses from clay, herbology, working with the plantations, or cooking in the kitchen. Overall, we have a really colorful variety of programming.

The most significant part of the program is our Eco community. We learn how to live together, and how to cooperate the best way possible. After the programs, we often have meetings and conversations about the most important duties, and discuss issues. We cook for ourselves–which in the beginning was quite hard–but thanks to these meetings we have found a good system, and now it’s even fun.

Another thing our community does together is go on excursions. The last one was to the north where we hiked from the Kineret all the way to the Mediterranean Sea! We went through the forests, which showed me a whole new side of Israel. At the end of the excursion we slept on the beach, and we met a group of veteran soldiers who were also camping there, and they shared with us their amazing breakfast. This was a very “Israeli” experience!

One of the biggest challenges I am facing on the farm is the vegan diet. At first it was so hard to not eat meat or dairy, but now I’ve gotten used to it and even enjoy it. Everything is so tasty and fresh and comes directly from the farm! Don’t worry; when I feel too healthy I can still go to the city for a hamburger.

Overall, I’m really glad I have the opportunity to be here. I’m learning something new and unique every day, and it certainly has been one of the most exciting experiences of my life!

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