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 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.
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.
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 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 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.