Ecothiopia took place on June 6, 2012 in the Kalisher Community Garden. Earth’s Promise organized the event in partnership with Kalisher Absorption Center. It was the event’s third year. Hundreds of people attended including new and veteran immigrants, students, and families.
The Festival featured art, music and ecological themed booths. Immigrants from the Kalisher Absorption Center performed traditional dance numbers and a presentation in Amharic for the Ethiopian crowd in attendance. After some opening blessings, The band Shabate performed with internationally renowned lead saxophonist Abate Brihon. The style of Afro-Jewish Jazz had the festival participants dancing.
The festivities continued into the night with a DJ that played Ethiopian dance music. The music brought everyone to their feet to enjoy the joyful atmosphere and celebration of culture and ecology.
A photography exhibit was opened, displayed on the “Godjo”, a traditional village home from northern rural Ethiopia. The photographs featured were captured by three photographers. Eyal BarTov provided photographs of nature and environment. Eyal has been featured by National Geographic magazine. Galit Govezensky contributed portraits of the Ethiopian community in Israel and Gadi Geffen provided photos of the Ethiopian holiday, Sigd.
The Festival grounds were located on the projected addition to the current fifty plots that serve the cultural and economic needs of the absorption center’s residents. Earth’s Promise strategy is to use urban open spaces to develop a welcome food source for the local residents. “Part B” of the Kalisher Urban Farm is the basis and model for an economic plan to produce for local grocers and restaurants.
Festival Ecothiopia is an opportunity to connect the diverse Be’er Sheva community in the green setting of the Kalisher Urban Farm. People of all ages came to experience some of what the Ethiopian community contributes to Be’er Sheva.