The Kibbutz Life

The Kibbutz Life

My love affair with kibbutzim started with a glass of chocolate milk, the best chocolate milk I have ever had. The milk is a product of a shared dream to create a safe community to raise a family. In this dairy utopia no one got an individual salary, rather everything was shared equally.  This intrigued me, not only for it’s ideals, but the communal living appealed to my hippie side of peace and love for all. Plus I learned that if I became a member I would have access to as much chocolate milk as I could drink at no cost to me.

However, getting my hands on a free life time supply of chocolate milk from Yotvata is easier said than down.  To join the kibbutz is a long process, first I must apply, then visit and spend time living with several different families.  If that goes well there are external tests (no details were provided as to what they “test”) and then a three month trial period of living on the kibbutz and two years before I would be eligible for full membership.  Once I am finally eligible for full membership, and my lifetime chocolate milk supply, the members vote and I would need to win 2/3 of their approval before I could reap the benefits of a full kibbutz member.

The variety of delicious dairy products available from Yotvata Kibbutz that supported its members and makes the best chocolate milk in the world.

So, why is it so hard to become a kibbutz member? Yotvata is based on the idea that “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”, which means all money and resources are shared.  While a few members work outside and turn their entire salary over to the kibbutz, it is a cooperative community and most of the adults work on the kibbutz in production, services or education.  The largest employer on the kibbutz is Yotvata Dairy, which provides the kibbutz with its main source of income and supplies the majority of the jobs and with milk this good they don’t struggle with profits.  They produce 62 million liters of milk a year and control 63% of the Israeli dairy market (as of 2008).

Their bottom line is not the only reason they’re choosy about their members, most daily affairs are conducted communally: education-the kibbutz has a school on-site for kindergarten through grade 12, holidays; dining-membership includes three meals a day in the community dining room, offering members time to relax and socialize together.  In addition all members take turns contributing to the kibbutz service branch, which provides laundry and security among other things.  Everything is taken care of by the kibbutz, but just like any democracy there are compromises, but with a population of only 120 families one person can make a big difference.

While I’m not quite ready to commit myself to Yotvata Kibbutz at this stage in my life I was still impressed with the community feel I had even as a visitor.  People were genuinely nice and welcoming, children and pets ran free and no one locked their doors.  Chocolate milk is provided to members and visitors for free, which I’m pretty sure is the glue that keeps everything together.  But these people seemed committed to the kibbutz lifestyle even if the free chocolate milk wasn’t provided.

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About the Author

LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.

About the Author
LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.
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