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Jewish Farmer Network's annual Cultivating Culture Conference is back! Out of an abundance of caution, we decided to hold our 2022 conference virtually. We welcomed 343 of Jewish farmers, farm educators, homesteaders, parents of farmers, home gardeners, academics, butchers, millers, seed keepers and other food system professionals  from around the world to learn and build community.

In order to reduce zoom fatigue, we gathered over the course of

two consecutive Sundays: January 30th & February 6th.

We also offered additional “bridge programming” throughout the week in between.

  

In 2022 we cultivated:

  • A community of question askers, ready to wrestle with our ancestral wisdom and diverse histories

  • A common language for understanding the Jewish agricultural ethic & vision

  • A Jewish future in which Jewish farmers are not regarded as an oxymoron or a curiosity, but rather, as valued community members with a unique connection to Judaism's agrarian roots and the timeless food justice principles contained therein

Highlights: 

Songful/embodied community morning practice

Diverse voices from our community sharing about all things Jewish agriculture

Curated “lunch dates” based on identity, interest & geography

Engaging and interactive keynote speakers

Small breakout rooms for reflection & connection

Bonus content during the week to deepen into the community

 

 

 

 

 

Land Tax

10% of all profits from our 2022 virtual conference will be donated to the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance, which “supports Native communities nationally with advocacy, education, and networking as they revitalize their indigenous food systems.”

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Teachers & Facilitators

Nazshonnii Brown-Almaweri

Nazshonnii Brown-Almaweri

Nazshonnii Brown-Almaweri is a farmer, STEM educator, and Union College Alumna from West Oakland. At Union, she was a leader in Hillel and interfaith groups like IFYC, leading intersectional discussion spaces and teach-ins around difference and diversity. In the Territory of Huchiun, she works at Sogorea Te’ Land Trust, an urban Indigenous women-led land trust that facilitates the return of Indigenous land to Indigenous people.

Sonia Brin

Sonia Brin

Sonia Brin (they/them) is a farmer, educator and maker working as the Farm Manager for Eden Village West, a Jewish summer camp in Northern California. As a queer and disabled farmer, Sonia cares deeply about access and healing through relationship to self and land. When Sonia isn't playing in the soil, you can find them teaching Hebrew school, making herbal medicine, or jumping into the nearest body of water.

Deatra Cohen

Deatra Cohen

Deatra Cohen is a family herbalist who trained at the Berkeley (formerly Ohlone) Herbal Center. She belongs to a Western Clinical Herbal collective and is a Master Gardener at the University of California.

Risa Alyson Cooper

Risa Alyson Cooper

Risa Alyson Cooper is an outdoor educator, environmentalist, and urban homesteader. For 13 years, she served as the Founding Executive Director of Shoresh, exploring Jewish traditions in the fields and forests of southern Ontario. She is a founding partner of Bela Farm, a 100-acre farm in Hillsburgh, Ontario that is being jointly stewarded by growers, artists, activists, and educators to develop creative responses to environmental crisis through integrative and regenerative agriculture.

Rachel Cotterman

Rachel Cotterman

Rachel is a queer Southern Jewish somatic healing arts practitioner and facilitator from Occaneechi Saponi land in central North Carolina. They have been working on veggie and flower farms since they were a teenager and teaching hatha yoga since 2013. They are happy to share an all-levels movement practice for farm bodies at this year's conference.

Jonathan Dekel-Chen

Jonathan Dekel-Chen

Professor Jonathan Dekel-Chen is Rabbi Edward Sandrow Chair in Soviet & East European Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His current research and publications deal with transnational philanthropy and advocacy, non-state diplomacy, agrarian history and migration. In 2014 he co-founded the Bikurim Youth Village for the Arts, which provides world-class artistic training for under-served high school students from throughout Israel. He is a member of Kibbutz Nir Oz.

Akedah Eze

Akedah Eze

An audacious truth seeker, activist, and champion for human rights, Akedah speaks spiritual truth from a place of Jewish experience few can.Through African story-telling, music, art, and the spoken word, Akedah brings her love of Orthodox Torah and nature from the African garden to the Torah page and from her ancestral farmland in Nigeria to the public stage. An urban farmer with a penchant for kosher cuisine Akedah serves up healthy doses of Torah that feed the mind and nourish the soul

Stacey Aviva Flint

Stacey Aviva Flint

Stacey Aviva Flint is a public speaker, writer, educator, and urban planner. As a Jewish woman of color, combating racism and antisemitism are central to her work. She has dedicated her 20+ year career to community economic development, education, and Jewish social justice and engagement. Stacey hails from a family of farmers and spent a great deal of her childhood on her grandfather’s 170 acre farm in Ripley, Ohio. As well, Stacey lived in Nairobi Kenya from 1989-1991 before becoming Jewish.

Zach Goldberg

Zach Goldberg

Zach is a PhD candidate at Penn State Geography, working to envision food systems through multi-scalar research, learner-centered teaching, and community-focused action. Along with his long term work on Jewish farming, he is currently studying how solar development is taking place on farmland, considering the implications on land and climate justice. Previously, he studied Environmental Science at McGill University, focusing on food production, and has worked on numerous farms as an educator.

Shoshana Gugenheim Kedem

Shoshana Gugenheim Kedem

Shoshana Gugenheim Kedem is an American/Israeli artist, curator and chutzpanit. Shoshana was one of the first women in modern times to train and practice as a Torah scribe. Her scribal work inspired her international Jewish women artists collaboration, Women of the Book. Today her work as a scribe manifests through her project, Or Hadash | עור חדש , an art in(ter)vention into the contemporary parchment making industry by offering an alternative to the current reliance on industrial agriculture.

Maharat Amalia Haas

Maharat Amalia Haas

Amalia Haas works as a consultant in the JOFEE space and beyond. Through her company Bee Awesome, she facilitates professional development programs and community strengthening retreats grounded in mindfulness, human creativity, nature and biomimicry. She has a particular passion for experiential education and bees, and finds them a powerful duo for mobilizing communities and businesses to avert climate crisis.

Simcha Halpert-Hanson

Simcha Halpert-Hanson

Simcha Halpert-Hanson (they/them) is a teacher, song facilitator, drummer, and ritual leader. Simcha has led tefillah workshops, klaf (holy parchment) production workshops, text study and facilitated rhythmic and songful prayer experiences in many communities across the Northeast. They founded Avodas Lev Northampton and co-founded Nishmat Shoom, TransHallel, and Queer Jewish Farmers. Simcha is currently in their third year of rabbinical school at Hebrew College.

Ebenezer Igbokwe

Ebenezer Igbokwe

Ebenezer Igbokwe is a graduate student from Enugu, Nigeria. He and Dayan Obidi are Co- Owners of Chaim Farms, a subsidiary of Chaim Global Ventures and members of the SULAM Resource Network. Chaim Farms is a Jewish agro allied business operating in Enugu, Nigeria.

Melanie Kessler

Melanie Kessler

Melanie Kessler is a place-based educator, bicycle advocate and dry stack mason living and coordinating farm field trips and camps at Living Tree Alliance- The Kibbutz Reimagined. She built her home at LTA and lives there with her 7 and 9 year old boys. She brings 2 decades of environmental education and nonprofit management to her work and enjoys spending her free time exploring the countryside on bikes with her kids.

Rebecca Leung

Rebecca Leung

Rebecca Leung serves as a farm educator and farmer for Abundance Farm. Rebecca facilitates classes for LGA, Gan Keshet preschool, and ALMA, and co-facilitates the Shefa teen food justice and farming program with Rose. Before coming to Abundance Farm, Rebecca worked on a variety of small to large scale sustainable production farms. Rebecca is a queer Toisanese/Chinese mixed race Jew interested in liberatory Jewish practices grounded in land and growing practices.

Loon Liebling

Loon Liebling

Loon is a queer disabled magic creature currently living on land originally stewarded by the lenni lenape people in so called philly. Loon is currently not a farmer in the literal sense but is diving deep into the soils and life cycles of self of others in their work as a therapist and ritual leader. Loon is a student of grief, joy, and desire. Loon is a rising kohenet slowly and always becoming. They eat a lot of chicken, have an affinity for whales, and is most often found by water.

Ariel Luckey

Ariel Luckey

Born and raised in Lisjan Ohlone territory now known as Oakland, California, Ariel Luckey is an interdisciplinary artist and activist who blurs the lines between performance, public ritual and political action. Ariel is the Development Director at the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust, the first urban Indigenous women-led land trust in the country. He is also a co-founder and organizer of Jews On Ohlone Land, a vibrant Jewish community that is learning together how to be good guests on Lisjan land.

Samia Mansour

Samia Mansour

Samia Mansour is the Program Director with At The Well and is passionate about building sustainable communities and uplifting the voices and experiences of those who have been historically and systemically underrepresented. She has spent over a decade working in the Jewish professional world advocating for intentional and thoughtful representation of diverse Jewish identities and experiences.

Rae Mindel-Katz Nathanson

Rae Mindel-Katz Nathanson

Rae (he/they) is a queer & trans Jew who loves building spaces of healing, spirituality & togetherness; they live on Multnomah, Kalapuya, Tualatin, and Band of Chinook land, also known as Portland, OR. They spent the fall immersed in land, learning & growing at Adamah, the Jewish farming fellowship. Rae is passionate about radical community care & mutual aid, mental health & chronic illness, and wealth redistribution. He's excited to be a part of this ever expanding community of Jewish farmers!!

Dayan Obidi

Dayan Obidi

Dayan Obidi is a Co- Owner of Chaim Farms, a subsidiary of Chaim Global Ventures and a member of the SULAM Resource Network. Chaim Farms is a Jewish agro allied business operating in Enugu, Nigeria.

Ephraim Orizo

Ephraim Orizo

Ephraim Orizo is a graduate student from Nnewi, in Anambra State. Ephraim is a Nigerian farmer who coordinates COVID relief efforts, food and health services for community members in Nigeria.

Sephirah Oshkello

Sephirah Oshkello

Kohenet Sephirah Oshkello co-founded Living Tree Alliance, a Jewish co-housing community in Central Vermont woven together with a working homestead, and farm educational center. Sephirah organizes community events at Living Tree that integrate seasonal homesteading practices with the Hebrew calendar and the ancient Jewish wisdom tradition. She is committed to building Living Tree Alliance as a place that is redefining community, regenerating land, and revitalizing Jewish culture.

Anika Rice

Anika Rice

Anika Rice is a Geography grad student at UW-Madison studying agroecology, gender and migration in a changing climate. She was previously a feminist outdoor educator, a farm educator at Urban Adamah in Berkeley, and an herbalism intern and farm hand in Oregon. Besides doing participatory research with JFN, Anika works in Guatemala with agroecological farmers. In her free time she enjoys fiber arts, fermenting, XC skiing and learning about the plant world.

Eli Rogosa

Eli Rogosa

Eli Rogosa, Israeli farmer, artisan baker and food anthropologist, founded/managed Jerusalem Cityfarm for 7 years, taught ecological water management in the West Bank, collected almost-extinct ancient grains for the Israeli gene bank. Eli works in the Caucasus Mountains to restore almost-extinct ancient grains with the Georgian peasant farmers and Svalbard Seed Vault. Author of ‘Restoring Heritage Grains. See: growseed.org

Orly Rubinfeld

Orly Rubinfeld

Orly is a student of the deeply rooted, the winged, the scaled, the waters, and the seed-kin, stewarding unceded Niswi-mishkodewin, Anishnaabe ancestral lands in so-called West Michigan. A grandchild of Holocaust survivors, Orly is interested in growing resilient networks in trauma-informed ways. They design & build farm infrastructure with reclaimed materials and place-based design, grow protein-dense gluten-free grains and legumes, and mentor students on food sovereignty.

Chana Rusanov

Chana Rusanov

Chana is a queer/post-Soviet/raised Orthodox farmer and educator who is part of the core team at Linke Fligl, a queer Jewish chicken farm and cultural organizing project based in the Hudson Valley. They care deeply about being in vulnerable relationship with Torah, and aim to bring others into their explorations of ancient text, queerness and liberatory Jewish practice. They also love ketchup, danishes, good black tea and poetry.

Shamu Fenyevsi Sadeh

Shamu Fenyevsi Sadeh

Shamu Fenyvesi Sadeh is the co-founder and current chief composter of Adamah. He teaches Judaism and ecology, grows perennials and animals, leads prayer, mentors staff and Adamah Fellows, and connects guests of Isabella Freedman to the forests and fields, to the soil and the soul.

Ollie Schwartz

Ollie Schwartz

Ollie (no pronouns, M.Ed.) lives on unceeded Nipmuk and Pocumtuk lands/ Western, MA. Ollie is an organizer by night, educator by day, and Jewish cultural worker by chaggim. Ollie is deeply committed to living into olam haba and building Judaism beyond zionism by tapping into our ancestral spiritual technologies. You can find Ollie davening shacharit in the woods, reading crip theory, or baking treats.

Rabbi David Seidenberg

Rabbi David Seidenberg

Rabbi David Seidenberg is the creator of neohasid.org and the Shmita scholar-in-residence (and moss gardener!) at Abundance Farm. David is also the author of Kabbalah and Ecology: God’s Image in the More-Than-Human World. He teaches around the world on Judaism and issues of ecology, animal rights, and human rights and has been studying and writing about Shemitah for close to 40 years.

SJ Seldin

SJ Seldin

SJ Seldin is co-founder and board chair of Jewish Farmer Network. SJ is also a co-founder and farmer/steward at Yesod Farm+Kitchen, a Jewish community farm dedicated to collective liberation through Jewish agriculture, mutual aid, and growing relationships across difference on 16 acres of ancestral Tsalaguwetiyi (Cherokee) and Catawba lands near Asheville, NC. SJ loves to mikveh (ritually immerse) in wild living waters, to talk about yovel, and to dream about Olam Ha'Ba (the World to Come).

Adam Siegel

Adam Siegel

Adam Siegel is a research librarian for agricultural and resource economics and Eastern European studies at University of California, Davis. He is also a literary translator of Eastern European languages.

Janna Siller

Janna Siller

As the Adamah Farm Director, Janna leads apprentices, fellows, and volunteers in growing organic vegetables for the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, local customers, and food banks while maintaining the fields as resonant learning space. She teaches about growing food, climate change, policy, food systems, and Jewish tradition. As Hazon’s advocacy coordinator, Janna leads grassroots efforts to raise Jewish voices on behalf of a more just and regenerative food system.

Yoshi Silverstein

Yoshi Silverstein

Selected as a 2021 “Grist 50 Fixer” building a more just and equitable future, Yoshi’s work nourishes body and soul through meaning making, purposeful connection, and creative expression. A Chinese-Ashkenazi-American Jew, Yoshi is also an active advocate and educator in the Jews of Color community. He is former Director of the JOFEE Fellowship at Hazon, and holds a master’s degree in Landscape Architecture.

Nili Simhai

Nili Simhai

Nili Simhai is the Director of Environmental and Agricultural Education at Abundance Farm, an earth-based, community building venture in Northampton, MA that integrates Jewish tradition, regenerative agriculture, and food justice. She has been recognized for her leadership in counseling thousands of educators and Jewish spaces in the tenets of Jewish environmental education and prior to her position at Abundance Farm Nili was the Director of the Teva program for fourteen years.

Kamya Tarphon

Kamya Tarphon

Kamya Tarphon is Managing Director of Jewish Response Uganda an NGO aimed at improving the livelihoods of the Jewish Farming Community in Uganda through sustainable agriculture and education.

Michael Twitty

Michael Twitty

Michael W. Twitty is an author, culinary historian and living history interpreter. He is the author of The Cooking Gene, (2017) published by HarperCollins winner of two James Beard Awards, Rice (2021) by UNC Press, and Koshersoul also by HarperCollins, to be published in 2022.

Masha Vernik

Masha Vernik

Masha is a storyteller and organizer working to build a more just food system. As the coordinator for the Jewish Seed Project, she builds community around reconnecting with ancestral seeds. In her day job, she is a communicator and organizer with the Public Justice Food Project (a legal non-profit that challenges the factory farm system.) Masha loves having her hands in the soil. A former farmworker, she now volunteers at multiple community gardens around Seattle.

Alexander Grace Vickery

Alexander Grace Vickery

Once a field researcher in urban ecology, Alexander has spent the last 10 years as a teacher all-sorts, now working to transform institutional trauma within food and education systems. He draws on embodied presence, radically sustaining care, and the daily work of community-building to develop and facilitate programming grounded in interdependence, joy, and strength. Additional modes of understanding he incorporates are queer time, flower essences, animism and ancestral healing, and clown.

Robin Washington

Robin Washington

The editor-at-large of the Forward, Robin Washington grew up in a Chicago family of Black and Jewish civil rights activists. He participated in sit-ins and protests when he was three years old — events he recalls fondly as “family outings." He has gone on to chronicle the movement in his acclaimed PBS documentary, “You Don’t Have to Ride Jim Crow!” and in 1995 co-founded the Alliance of Black Jews.

 
 
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This conference was made possible by the generous support of the Joyce and Irving Goldman Family Foundation and the support of our generous organizational partners:

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FAQs

Am I Jewish “enough” to attend?

Yes!!! Jewish Farmer Network formed from the need and desire for a Jewish community that centers and uplifts Jewish agrarians, from every point of the kaleidoscope of Jewish (and agricultural!) identity, background, and experience. We are not gatekeepers or arbiters of who is Jewish. If you hold Jewish heritage or identity, you are welcome. If you come from a multi-tradition household/family, you are welcome. If you are a Jew-by-choice, you are welcome. If you have never stepped into a Jewish space before, you are especially welcome. Come as you are, as you are. We are thrilled to meet you, to learn from you, and to craft ever-more accessible spaces for learning and connection.

 

Do I need to be Jewish to attend? 

No! Jewish Farmer Network holds spaces and programming that center Jewish agrarian wisdom, community and individuals – because that is who we are, and we are tending to our roots. If you do not hold Jewish heritage or identity but have a sincere and peaceful interest in the places where Judaism and agriculture meet, you are welcome. We encourage non-Jewish allies to honor that this is a Jewish-centered space by listening. If you feel the need to contribute, ask yourself first: what am I trying to accomplish? Am I centering myself in this conversation? Evangelizing, hate speech, and/or abuse of any kind by any participant will not be tolerated. We reserve the right to remove participants from the conference without refund. 

 

Do I need to be a farmer to attend?

No! Farmers and agriculturalists of all kinds, at any stage of your journey (current, future, lapsed, retired, questioning) are welcome! We welcome gardeners, seed keepers, shepherds, land stewards, landscapers, vintners, brewers, compost people, foragers, arborists, fermenters, herbalists, natural crafts makers, hydroponics people, aquaponics people, cooks, chefs, food system folks, lovers and eaters of food. If you are or are seeking to be in relationship with land and/or the abundance of the earth, we know there’s something for you here. Even if you’re just curious, you are welcome!

 

What if I can only come to one day of the conference? 

Your conference ticket grants you access to both conference days. So cool! Show up for what works for you. We are unable to offer a further discounted rate for those who can only come for one day, but we hope you will join for as much of the conference as you are able. Nearly all of the sessions will be recorded, and we intend to share them with all participants. Please do not share your access information with a friend for the day you cannot attend. Every person must register separately. 

 

What if I need financial support?

We believe in the education of our whole community, regardless of financial status. We embody that ethic by offering all our programming on a sliding scale. The true cost of this conference is $180/participant, which we are offering for as little as $36 – no questions asked. If $36 is beyond your capacity, WE STILL WANT YOU TO JOIN! Email JFN's conference coordinator Jamie at conference@jewishfarmernetwork.org with the subject “All of Us” for more information about free and reduced tickets.

 

Can I get a refund if I cannot attend?

We do not offer refunds, and all sales are final. Even if you cannot attend, we still need to pay our teachers and staff fairly for their time and brilliance. If a refund is the difference between financial hardship and financial ease, send an email to JFN's conference coordinator Jamie at conference@jewishfarmernetwork.org

Will sessions be recorded?

Nearly all of the sessions will be recorded, and we intend to share them with all participants. Even if you can’t attend all the sessions you want to live, you can still learn from them after!