Two weeks ago I had the absolute pleasure of participating in the Jewish Farm School alternative spring break at Tierra Miguel Farm in southern California. Hillels from the University of Pennsylvania, Cornell, and New York University brought students from all over the country (including students like myself with no relation to that specific Hillel but an abundance of interest. My NYU-sponsored trip also included students attending universities in Arizona, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and of course myself, studying in California).
During the week we not only got to throw around nifty words like “compost” and “biodynamic farming,” but we also considered the roots of sustainability within Judaism. We talked about the natural cycles of nature and their correlations to the rhythms of Jewish life, of Torah readings and seasonal holidays like Tu Bishvat, the shmita, and various other Jewish agricultural laws.
Mostly we cooked food, ate food, and talked about food. For those who didn’t spend their spring break shoveling dirt and baking vegan hamentashen, worry not. Yours truly has compiled a list of resources for the eco-minded Jew, including links that will let you see, hear, and taste the farm school experience from the comfort of your own dorm room.
Here you go:
You can order homemade kombucha and/or tempeh (a naturally fermented soy product that, if spiced properly, can make a delicious vegan sausage or meat substitute) from Jewish Farm School educator and meditation extraordinaire, Stem.
You can watch an interview with a Tierra Miguel Farmer, actually named Jonathan, thus calling him Farmer John would be utterly appropriate, shot, edited, and conceptualized by my fellow Jewess alternative spring breaker and student journalist, Sydney Brownstone
Interview with Tierra Miguel’s Farmer John
Or you can just scope out some other snazzy Jewish environmental organizations/resources, some of my favorites are:
Wilderness Torah,outdoor Jewish nature programs for both adults and children
The Jew and the Carrot has a cool list of sustainable passover resources up.
and last but not least
Hazon, an organization dedicated to “healthy and sustainable Jewish communities” They’ve got all kinds of events and opportunities to edumicate yourself about environmentally conscious food choices, ranging from “food justice” seders, to community bike rides (on both the west and east coasts!), a “sustaibable food tour” of Israel, and a domestic national Jewish food conference in Davis, California this upcoming August.