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 & SJ Seldin created the Facebook Group, "Jewish Farmer Network." In two days, we reached two hundred members.
In September 2017, we launched our Instagram, where we feature the faces and stories of Jewish farmers around the world.
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.
In May 2020, we began offering the Jews and Land Study Group, which explores the relationship between Jewish people and land from our origins through to the modern day.