Cultivating Culture:

A (virtual) Gathering of Jewish Farmers

Sunday, January 31, 2021

18th of Shvat 5781

9:30 to 10:30 AM EST

Community Morning Practice

Lev from the Land with Linke Fligl

Greenhouse (zoom room two)

All across the diaspora, queer Jews are praying on the land they call home. Join finnigan madison for morning prayer in the style of Avodat Lev (service of the heart). Avodat Lev is a spiritual, musical adaptation of the morning shacharit service that originated from the fields of the Adamah Jewish Farming Fellowship. Lev may include singing, meditation, chanting, and/or creative sharing.

finnigan madison

Dropping into Your Body: Yoga with Molly & the Goats of Ivy Rose Farm

Orchard (zoom room three)

Come join on your floor or from your bed from some rolling, lengthening, strengthening, and awakening. we will explore the different ways our breath impacts our movement and our movement impacts our breath. if you have a yoga mat, great! if you have two big books (or yoga blocks), great! if you just have your carpet, dayenu. come as you are, move as you are able.

Molly Block & the Goats of Ivy Rose Farm

10:35 - 10:50 AM EST

Welcome & Opening

Barn (zoom room one)

 

Join Jewish Farmer Network’s co-founders Shani Mink and SJ Seldin for a warm and grounding welcome into day two of Cultivating Culture. We will collectively acknowledge the Original Stewards of the lands we are each calling in from, get to know who’s “in the room,” share why we’re all here, and set the mood for a day of learning and connection.

11:00 - 12:30 PM EST

Session Block One

 

B'Bayit B'Midbar (at home in the desert)

Barn (zoom room one)

What do we know about Jewish farmers in the desert and what more can we learn? Join this session for an inter-generational look at the lives of Moroccan Jewish farmers lead by Micha Chetrit of The Midbar Project. Learn directly from Micha as he guides the history and stories of Jewish life and Farmers in Morocco before the mid 20th century, the history of his family as Jewish Farmers in Morocco, and how he became a Jewish farmer in the Sonoran Desert three generations later.

Micha Chetrit

Intro to the Jewish Agricultural Calendar

Greenhouse (zoom room two)

The Hebrew Calendar is a lunar, pre-Gregorian, pre-capitalist technology for measuring time, and it is embedded in agricultural cycles. This introductory interactive session will provide an overview of the multiple levels of Jewish cycles of time and holidays. We will delve into cycles of agricultural planting, growth, land stewardship, harvest and rest. Please come ready to participate and add your expertise to the conversation!

Anika Rice

Participant Led Sessions

Orchard (zoom room three)

Spaces of Sumud: Land Projects in Palestine's West Bank

The word "Sumud" can roughly be translated from Arabic as "steadfastness". This session looks at some land projects led by Palestinians in the West Bank whom I had the pleasure to work with and meet in 2018. We will look at the relationship of indigenous Palestinians to their ancestral land and the ways these connections have been maintained in spite of the illegal occupation of settlers and efforts to deprive them of their resources and cultural practices.

Zachary Kolodziej

Indigeneity: Land Rights and Wrongs

Given a deep and abiding connection to land as Holy, and given the central role that environmental stewardship plays in the Jewish tradition, there is a climate imperative to act as anti-racists in solidarity with indigenous people. While Land Acknowledgement is a more common practice among our Jewish circles, can we extend this solidarity to indigenous land rights movements of Bedouin in Israel / Palestine? In this session we will dismantle inaccurate representations of Bedouin, discuss the role of the Jewish National Fund in uprooting Bedouin villagers with the lofty goal of afforesting Israel (not only on Tu B'Shevat), and explore different ways of being an accomplice in solidarity with indigenous-led, #landback movements, without succumbing to activist burnout. 

Devorah Brous

Collective Land Sharing – Finding your Landmates

A Call to Vision and Generate a Collective Land Sharing Network! It's increasingly evident that in many parts of the country and world folks who are seeking land to grow and work, do not have access to earth due to either financial resource constraints, institutional exclusion and unsafe spaces, or other resource limitations. As well, some folks who may have land access wrestle with other limitations such as health issues, lack of on-site help and support, and financial or skill limitations to build infrastructure.  

 

So, let's talk about collective connections and how they can inform, support, and in a very real sense translate to more folks sharing land, working together, and creating opportunities for one another, generating abundance for themselves and the larger community. 

 

We can chat about: 

*How to sustainably connect folks who are seeking similar opportunities

*How we can apply the tenets of the conference as well as indigenous values to IRL agreements for folks to lean into as we hold space for one another, with compassionate and clear accountability for future collective projects and lifeways

*How poor, and disabled folks are seeking collective solutions and processes to contribute to the collective unfolding in ag and earthwork

*How queer and folks of color need ever safer places to connect with trauma informed affirming community, rural spaces, and IRL opportunities to build themselves and their communities  

*More possibilities, such as people forming business agreements to buy land or build ag and earthwork businesses together.  

 

(***Trella is not an "expert" in this topic, but they do have a deep seeded, heartfelt desire to collectively envision more authentic connection, community, and collective approaches to land sharing, healing, and earthwork.)

Trella Dubetz 

1:00 - 1:45 PM EST

Lunch Dates

One of our favorite parts of in-person conferences is the lunch time conversations that turn new acquaintances into friends and collaborators.  We weren’t willing to let this go! So we’ve organized virtual “lunch dates” centered around different identities, interests and geographies. In your registration form you let us know which “lunch dates” you’re interested in, but don’t let that stop you from popping into another conversation just as you might in a conference building dining room. All topics will be available on both January 24th & January 31st, pending enough participants. ​

***Note that Lunch Dates will not be recorded and that live captioning will not be available***

Identities:

Barn (zoom room one)

Orthodox Jews ✲ Queer Jewish Farmers ✲ JOCISM (Jews of Color, Indigenous, Sephardi, & Mizrahi) ✲

Jews by Choice ✲ Russian Jews ✲ Disabled Jewish Farmers

 

Interests:

Greenhouse (zoom room two)

Grazing Group ✲ Beginning farmers ✲ Vegetable Producers ✲ Seed Savers ✲ Land Justice ✲

Farm Based Educators ✲ Herbalists ✲ Beekeepers ✲ Academics ✲ Urban Farming ✲ Grains Group ✲ Soil Group

 

Geographies:

Orchard (zoom room three)

Israel ✲ UK & Europe ✲ Canada ✲ California ✲ Pacific Northwest ✲ Midwest ✲ Southwest ✲ New England ✲

Mid-Atlantic ✲ Southeast

2:00 - 3:30 PM EST

Session Block Two ✦ Shmita Intensive

Shmitah, meaning 'remission,' is an ancient Jewish agricultural and economic statute found in the Torah. After six years, the Torah commands that during the seventh year the land of Israel experiences a Shabbat, a rest, similar to how the Jewish people are commanded to experience Shabbat every seventh day. In the Shmitah year, most primary agricultural activities are prohibited. In addition to agricultural remission, there is also an economic remission where debt is released. As Shmitah is a central piece of the tapestry of Jewish agricultural thought, and the next Shmitah year begins this coming Rosh Hashanah (5782) we feel that it’s important to devote a whole session block on each conference day to Shmitah learning. Enjoy!

Fermenting Change:

Shmita as Inspiration for Food Distribution & Intentional Pickling 

Barn (zoom room one)

At heart of the shmita (7th/sabbatical) year is the value of communitarianism. Through text study about the shmita year, we will discover how the ancients directed food budgets and surplus to local food systems. We will learn about pickling and preserving food before and during shmita, and how modern Jewish farmers can translate this ancient practice to contemporary Jewish life.

Sarah Chandler

Learning From the Loopholes

Greenhouse (zoom room two)

For all of the laws of Shmitah in Torah and rabbinic law, there are nearly as many legal loopholes created to avoid the severe prohibitions. Through exploring the economic and agricultural loopholes created over the generations to protect farmers in the land of Israel from ruin in the Shmitah year, we will seek to learn what causes the need to create these loopholes, and how this might influence our understanding on the purpose and intent in the wisdom of Shmitah.

Justin Goldstein

Intention-Setting for the Next Cycle

Shmita Beit Midrash with Ammud: Jews of Color Torah Academy

Orchard (zoom room three)

In this session, seeing this year as a kind of shmita year, we will reflect on the past seven years and set some intentions about how we hope our relationship with land will develop over the next cycle. We will especially spend time thinking about diaspora, ancestors, and the ways in which we might better be in relationship with lands, both this land and other ancestral lands. 

 

**You are encouraged to bring paper and a writing utensil for a journaling component we'll embark on together.

Arielle Korman

3:45 - 5:15 PM EST

Session Block Three

Release & Repair: Shmita & Reparations in Our Lives

Barn (zoom room one)

How are Shmita (sabbatical of the land) and Reparations (state-level monetary restitution for past & continuing harms) inter-connected? How can we draw inspiration from these two subversive and powerful concepts as diasporic Jews living in occupied America in 2021? Join Sol and Chana from Linke Fligl for text learning, storytelling and personal reflection as we explore these two concepts and how they can support the integration of Jewish tradition, healing and work for liberation in our own lives.

Chana Rusanov & Sol Yael Weiss

Linke Fligl

Imagining Regenerative Land Futures

Greenhouse (zoom room two)

Come imagine with us your version of a land future rooted in regenerative design. We will stretch our imagination and make space for what else is possible, beyond what is and what they told you it should be. Come with a project to workshop or dream into something new, and together we will practice the Jewish art of dreaming, prophecy, and reciprocity with the land.

**We invite you to bring a sheet of blank paper and art supplies, markers, colored pencils (if you're really excited, water colors!) for your project.  There will also be a non-fine art writing option.

Rachel Binstock & Abrah J Dresdale

Perennial Torah of Trees

Orchard (zoom room three)

What can we learn from trees? How can we learn from trees? We call our Torah a “Tree of Life” and our ancestor Jewish farmers were pretty meshuggah about/obsessed with fruit trees in ancient times. Working at the edges of both wild forests and cultivated trees we will explore Biblical, Rabbinic and modern cultural and scientific sources about trees.

Shamu Sadeh

Knowing Seeds, Knowing Ourselves:

A Conversation with Jewish Seed Keepers

5:30 - 7:00 PM EST

Barn (zoom room one)

What does it mean to be a Jewish seed keeper? From ancient Judea through many diasporas, what seed stories are Jewish people woven into and what seeds are woven into the story of the Jewish people?  As both descendants and future ancestors, what are the obligations of a Jewish seed keeper to both our own seed stories and the seed stories of the original stewards of the lands we now inhabit? Join Jewish seed keepers K Greene (Hudson Valley Seed Co, Seedshed), Betsy Samuelson (Seed & Soil, Common Soil Seed Library), and Nate Kleinman (Experimental Farm Network, Cooperative Gardens Commission) to explore the stories, seeds and questions that ground them.

7:30 - 9:00 PM EST

Sunday Night Shmooze

 

Disabled Jewish Farmer Space

Barn (zoom room one)

This is a space for anyone who identifies as disabled (or crip, mad, mentally ill, chronic illness etc.) to gush and kvell at our magic while sharing what it’s like to be a farmer (or to *want* to be a farmer) as disabled people- the woes, frustrations, victories, and connections we have with the land. This space will only be loosely facilitated because we want to have it be an open space we believe there will be so much to connect on, and we want to follow the conversation where it naturally goes. This is NOT a space for educating temporarily able-bodied people. If you are an able-bodied ally with a deep call and reason to join, please do so as a witness so that we can center disabled voices and joy.

Luna Liebling & freygl gertsovski

Seed Share

Greenhouse (zoom room two)

What is a seed? Every seed is a scroll of many stories spiraling in on themselves. Stories of diaspora, stories of loss, of grief, of love and regeneration. Flavorful stories of food, soil, traits and genetics, and the many hands that have held and passed these seeds down for generations. Stories that remind us of who we are.

Growing community around seeds starts with sharing our seed stories. Join us to listen to and share stories both ancient and contemporary, personal and historical. Together we'll follow these stories into a conversation about how we can responsibly reconnect with and lovingly share seeds with Jewish roots.

K Greene

Moving through Joy and Sorrow

Orchard (zoom room three)

A dance party incorporating music from all over the world including mizrachi music to get you more connected to your body and each other.

Dor Haberer