The Jewish Farmer Network started with a conversation.
Thirteen Jewish farmers sat in a circle during the 2016 Hazon Food Conference at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Falls Village, Connecticut. The gathering was impromptu—it wasn't even on the schedule.
We expressed the beauty of this vocation, the deeply felt connection between our heritage and our chosen profession—the two combining to form a singular way of living.
Each of us expressed the desire for connection with other Jewish growers, giving voice to the feeling of aloneness despite the apparent reality that there are many Jews working land throughout the world.
At the final meal of the conference, New Years Day 2017, Shani Mink & Sarah Julia Seldin created the Facebook Group, "Jewish Farmer Network." In two days, we reached two hundred members.
In September 2017, we launched our Instagram project, A People of the Land. We feature Jewish farmers from around the world, sharing our faces and stories with the world.
In November 2018, we launched Opportunities with Jewish Farmers. This service connects farmers with labor and opens pathways for young farmers to gain work experience in agriculture.
Our first conference, Cultivating Culture: A Gathering of Jewish Farmers, was a sold-out celebration by 160+ Jewish farmers and farm allies from February 13-16, 2020 at the Pearlstone Center near Baltimore, Maryland. We learned Jewish agricultural wisdom and practical farm skills, grew relationships, and celebrated Shabbat with Jewish farmers from across the spectrum of Jewish identity, experience, and observance.