JDC Honors The Asper Foundation for Pioneering Role in Green Learning in Israel

(l-r): Gail Asper, Trustee of the Asper Foundation; Moe Levy, Executive Director of the Asper Foundation; Kiryat Gat Mayor Aviram Dahari; Anat Penso, Deputy Director of JDC’s Ashalim partnership for youth at risk.

By JDC Staff

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee honored the Asper Foundation, the Winnipeg-based philanthropy, for their leading role in advancing green learning in Israel. The event at the Asper Edible Gardens at the Efraim Ben David Elementary School in Kiryat Gat, included a plaque unveiling and tree-planting ceremony, was attended by Gail Asper, President and trustee of the Foundation, Moe Levy, Executive Director of the Asper Foundation, senior representatives from the Israeli Ministry of Education, Kiryat Gat Municipality, and JDC’s Ashalim partnership for at-risk Israeli children, youth, and young adults. Participants marked the significant strides made by the Asper Edible Gardens initiative and its expansion, the Green Learning program, in Israeli schools through a partnership with the Israeli Ministry of Education. The program, which is based on a California-developed learning model, uses gardens and innovative curricula to develop crucial life skills and advance academic learning beyond the classroom. It now operates throughout Israel, reaching more than 4,000 Israeli schoolchildren.

Starting in 2013, The Asper Foundation partnered with JDC to create the Edible Gardens Program, the first outdoor learning initiative of its kind in Israel. Launched with a pilot program at three elementary schools in Israel’s periphery, four years later, the program was further expanded, and today it is operating in 17 schools around the country in collaboration with the Israeli Ministry of Education. In the coming years, the expanded program – “Green Learning” – is set to run in over 50 schools, shaping the teaching of core subjects, expanding the range of garden-based activities, and enhancing Israeli children’s sense of responsibility for their education and communities. Additionally, The Asper Educators Training for teachers and principals provides theoretical learning, hands-on workshops, visits to the field and educational lectures on innovative teaching practices.