A new exhibit in the JCC Manhattan is turning visitors green with envy. Called The Greenhouse of Ein Shemer, the large vertical farm features an algae cultivation wall that uses repurposed water bottles and a hydroponic garden full of fruits, herbs and vegetables. Designed by Israeli artist and environmentalist Avital Geva, the installation highlights the benefits of alternative farming through the celebration of shmita, the Jewish farming hiatus that forbids traditional agricultural practices in favor of resting the land for one year.
The implementation and care of a vertical garden, however, does not technically break the agricultural Shabbat, explains Megan Whitman, senior director of arts and ideas at the center. “By not using the ground, we can still give the land a rest,” she explains. Along with bringing attention to the tradition of resting the fields, the JCC exhibit also hopes to encourage green restoration and conservation practices.
As the yearlong celebration kicks off with the unveiling of the beautiful vertical garden, Geva will also build a rooftop hut for Sukkot, a celebration where Jews are supposed to spend time under an open air hut known as a sukkah. Adding his own green touch to the traditional structure, the artist will create a sukkah out of four living algae walls in the lobby. The JCC is hoping that locals will donate the thousands of bottles needed for the sukkah as well as for the construction of a sidewalk sukkah that will welcome visitors at the entrance.
The Greenhouse of Ein Shemer exhibit will be on display in the JCC’s lobby level from September until November 1st.
Via DNA Info
Photos by DNAinfo/Emily Frost and JCC Manhattan