Jewish Farm School

Rating: 4.93 stars   15 reviews

Issues:

Location: Philadelphia PA USA

Mission: To practice and promote sustainable agriculture and to support food systems rooted in justice and Jewish traditions.
Direct beneficiaries per year: 1,000
Geographic areas served: USA

2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

8 people found this review helpful

I went on an Alternate Spring Break with Jewish Farm School in San Diego, CA in Spring 09. It was a really great experience. I was not expecting to connect Judaism to farming, but I am now more aware of environmental and food issues and how they affect me as a young Jewish person. Nati was a fantastic and knowledgeable leader. I will always remember that trip; it forever changed the way I think about food!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the way I understand food issues and even how I make dinner each night.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

NA

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

What I learned and the friends I made.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

very knowledgeable and passionate. They were easy to connect to.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Start its own farm or many throughout the country and reach millions of people!

Ways to make it better...

Some of the discussions were a little forced and numerous, though they were all interesting.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

I'm sure funding is always hard to come by, but they tried not to let that show and subsidized a great deal of the trip even though it was a bit expensive for us.

One thing I'd also say is that...

It was such a great experience. I am glad I got a chance to work with them!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-1-01

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

7 people found this review helpful

I have worked with the Jewish Farm School guys on planning and coordinating their Organic Agriculture and Educational Gardening component of the Teva Seminar. Each year the feedback about their programs are overwhelmingly positive. They are intentional in their curriculum design, and very thoughtful about what they are providing for clients. Over the years I have watched them grow and demand for their programs and services grow. It's exciting to see such reprioritization within the Jewish community, and great that people can recognize such quality educators. As JFS has expanded, they are offering services that meet the increasing variety of needs of their clients.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Change the world! Change how we think about food systems, jewish food systems, agriculture, jewish agriculture, kashrut, farming, gardening and more. Build infrastructure for Jewish institutions to have farms, gardens, and qualified eductators to run them

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-6-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

10 people found this review helpful

What a great resource for Jewish Educators. JFS provided great information for lesson planning. Nati answers emails quickly, providing references and resources that are useful for classroom lessons. This past spring JFS sent an educator to our religious school to provide hands on activities at the FJCC Jewish Environmental Fair. Nati taught at the Teva learning center June seminar and in his guided discussions assisted participants in creating lessons for classrooms and camp activities. My son also attended workshops and gaining new insights that he can share in his journey of exploring environmental issues in both the secular and faith-based experiences. In addition, my son is looking forward to attending Alternative Spring Break and having an opportunity to volunteer with like minded college students. JFS provides a great venue for hands-on learners who are looking for a way to connect with Judaism outside of the traditional classroom experience, extending the valuable "summer camp" connection throughout the year. There is a deep connection between Jewish kids who attend Jewish camps and maintaining a strong connection to Judaism. Jewish Farm School has found a way to take some of the pinnacle moments captured in the few weeks of Jewish summer camp, and allowed young adults the opportunity to build on that throughout the year.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Down to earth, knowledgeable, friendly, eager to provide suggestions, able to direct me to other resources,

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-6-01

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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

11 people found this review helpful

I took a photo of my garden and posted it on Facebook to share with friends. I entitled it, " I want to be a Philly farmer." Next thing I know, I am friended by a woman I met from Canada at the Hazon Food Conference. She told me she was traveling to Philadelphia to go on an Urban Farm Tour and would I like to join her. OF course I said, and that is how I met Nati and The Jewish Farm School. I came away from the day with my head filled with ideas about sustainable agriculture, community building, ecological design, and natural building. It was an experience to be with the passionate Nati and I came home that day with a sense of hope. Through the programs of the Jewish Farm School many people will have a raised consciousness about our food systems.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

visiting some of the Urban Farms in Philadelphia.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

find ways to help them find land.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the passion for the mission

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

I have only met 1 volunteer, but that was a wonderful experience. She was motivated, knowledgeable and focused to move the organization forward.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Make a difference in the way our jewish schools educate the children about social justice and mindfulness surrounding food.

Ways to make it better...

I had more time to give.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

funds

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-4-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

10 people found this review helpful

I participated in an Alternative Spring Break trip to Oz Farm in Point Arena, CA in March 09. I and the other participants learned a tremendous amount about the environment, farming, Judaism, and how all these disparate topics and interests intersect. I came back from the trip inspired and armed with the information I need to play a larger part in promoting more educated consumerism about the food and farming issues we are facing today in the US and world at large. I also became more aware of the deep and important contributions Jewish concepts and belief can make to our understanding of food and the environment and am committed to teaching these lessons to others.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

ASB program in California; Volunteer day at Eden Village Camp

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Have them spread their work out further so more people can learn from them.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The wonderful and inspiring people I've met. They are truly and genuinely committed to their beliefs.

Ways to make it better...

It would have lasted longer.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Fundraising

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-7-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

13 people found this review helpful

I was the Penn Hillel student coordinator for a JFS alternative spring break trip to Tierra Miguel Farm in Pauma Valley, CA in March 2009. JFS was fantastic--as educators, trip managers, and friends. The students learned a lot about the environment and Jewish thought and had an amazing time. Many students who went on the trip have been inspired to make significant changes to their lifestyle and/or work on Jewish environmental causes.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Due to my experiences planning and going on the spring break trip, I was able to experience my Judaism in a whole new way, really integrating my love of nature and my passion for environmentalism with Jewish tradition and experiences.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

dynamic, interesting, well-informed, experienced and really nice people.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

hire staff and pay them better, buy land and create an educational farm, buy a building to use for offices and educational space, and do tons more amazing programs!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-4-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

11 people found this review helpful

I volunteered on one of the first cleanup gatherings they had, The people were so full of excitement and warmth that I felt so welcomed. I instantly felt as if I was sharing in the gratitude of the owners because everyone was so giving and open. I helped clean up the kitchen area, and found that the staff was prepared for many different types of people, and their organization was admirable at such a time of seeming chaos. It was one of the first times I felt so good about doing something so dirty haha. I really appreciated the staff and other volunteers, and loved the kinds of people this camp organization was attracting. I find myself sending any new updates to many friends and family of mine. Keep Up the good work!

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The community and friendship that was so easily made and maintained throughout the day that I was there.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-7-01

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

8 people found this review helpful

Before sanctuaries, social halls and religious schools there were Jewish farms. Rather then come together to discuss annual budgets and maintenance costs, Jewish communities came together to discuss concerns around yielding enough produce to provide for everyone in the community and how to distribute produce that was earmarked for the needy, Jew and non-Jew alike. The Jewish Farm School has emerged onto the scene of Jewish education making the statement that our agricultural roots can not and should not be a thing of the past. Now, as we face issues of food security, access to healthy food, debates around chemicals used for food production and the environmental impact of transporting food great distances, the Jewish Farm school makes a substantive and authentically Jewish case for why Jews should care and act and grow. This organization is led by experienced and passionate professionals whose mission is rooted heavily in Jewish text and tradition. The work JFS does helps to link Jews of today with some of our most important roots...the ones we plant so that we can sustain ourselves and thrive. The hope is that these roots will help us to produce vibrant individual identities, healthy communities and make a positive impact on the world we live in.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the local efforts I am making in southern California to establish Jewish gardens and educate around issues of the New Jewish Food Movement.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

their commitment to helping local efforts get off the ground in a way that makes sense to the individual communities who approach JFS. They want to help people realize their vision and bring them into a growing network.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

more then willing to provide wisdom, guidance, best practices and resources to help novice Jewish environmental educators gain the knowledge they need in order to get efforts going locally.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

Extremely positive! These folks are serious, know farming, and are passionate educators. The curriculum of the conference was very broad, covering a lot of material and included two site visits: a CSA and an educational center. I was very impressed and enriched.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

They approach farming from a broad perspective: Jewish texts, liturgy, as educators, and as eco-aware people. The Seminar was small enough to allow participants to learn from each other and the JFS staff.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Expand and re-create Jewish environmental education across the USA.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2006-7-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

I have enjoyed learning with JFS people (particularly Simcha). I am excited and impressed by their work/collaboration with Eden Village Camp. So many Jews today find their spirituality and divine connection in working in the earth. JFS is indispensable in aiding them.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Their work at Eden Village Camp

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

That they are connecting environmental work and love of the earth and all Creation to Judaism.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

So many more disconnected and unaffiliated Jews, particularly younger ones, could have a place that spoke to them, deep in their souls.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-7-01

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