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Jewish farmers 

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Ginsberg, Johanna. "Livingston native digs into Judaism’s roots." New Jersey Jewish News. July 1, 2020.

On a typical morning, Shani Mink wakes up at 7 a.m. and lets the chickens out of their coop, collects their eggs, and makes sure they have food and water. Then she works the fields of Yesod Farm+Kitchen in North Carolina harvesting, pruning, trellising, and weeding. She manages other projects on the grounds such as mowing, moving logs, and mulching.

By noon she’s ready to head inside for lunch before transitioning to office work for the Jewish Farmer Network, an organization she co-founded in 2017 and is now its executive director.

“Being a farmer is one of the most Jewish things you can do,” she told NJJN in a late June Zoom interview. “Before we were the People of the Book, we were the people of the land.”

Harris, Ben. "‘We’ve been milling our heads off’: For some small kosher food purveyors, the coronavirus era is boom time." Jewish Telegraphic Agency. June 8, 2020.

Like many small business owners, Ian Yosef Hertzmark’s small flour operation saw a precipitous drop when the coronavirus pandemic hit the Unites States in March. 


Almost overnight, Hertzmark’s Migrash Farm, which produces certified kosher flour from grain grown in the Chesapeake Bay region, lost virtually his entire wholesale business after local restaurants and bakeries were shuttered by public health authorities. 


But while many companies continue even now to suffer from dramatic drop-offs in business, Migrash Farm saw its fortunes rebound almost as quickly as they had sunk. By the middle of the month, the farm’s lost orders had been made up more than twofold as retail customers rushed to buy up dry goods wherever they could. 

Kassutto, Maya. "Jewish Farmer Network Embraces Tradition." Jewish Exponent. May 26, 2020.

It seems like every family I know has a garden this year. Everyone and their mother (and maybe especially the mothers) is spending a portion of their days tilling their backyards and planting tomatoes.


There are a number of reasons for this mounting trend in a pandemic-swept country.


There is growing concern over the dissolution of supply chains, the desire to avoid the hazards of grocery shopping and the amount of time that many seem to have on their hands. It is a familiar phenomenon to those familiar with World War II victory gardens, when similar worries over food supply led many to plant their own vegetables for the first time. 


While it may seem like an apocalyptic contingency plan, some argue that, for the Jews, turning to gardening is actually returning to gardening. As Shani Mink, executive director of the Jewish Farmer Network, put it, “Before we were the people of the book, we were the people of the land.”

Jewish Community Farming Field Building Initiative & the Jewish Farmer Network. "May All Who are Hungry Come and Eat: Jewish Community Farming in the Face of Coronavirus." eJewish Philanthropy. May 18, 2020.

Last month, most Jews were forced to grapple with how to celebrate Passover in a time of quarantine and lockdown. Our seders became virtual and more intimate, but the seder itself remained unchanged, as it has for generations. And in each home, we raised our matzah and declared: “Let all who are hungry come and eat!”

Burger, Beth. "Coronavirus: Ohio consumers seeking out locally grown produce." The Columbus Dispatch. May 17, 2020.

Local food producers are meeting a growing demand as consumers seek stable local food sources during the coronavirus pandemic.

Donohue, Mary. "Connecticut’s Jewish Farmers." Grating the Nutmeg. May 3, 2020.

Mary Donohue, Asst. Publisher of Connecticut Explored and co-author of  the book A Life of the Land: Connecticut’s Jewish Farmers  explores the story of Connecticut’s Jewish farmers in the last century. Surprised that there were Jewish farmers? Many people are but scores of newly arrived Jewish immigrants were assisted in making their lives in poultry and dairy farming throughout the state. Some farms developed into resorts catering to vacationing urbanites seeking a bigotry free relaxing vacation in the countryside.

Seldin-Cohen, Judy. "Farmer Daughter/Uptown Mother." Hadassah Magazine. May 2020.

The drive from my condo in uptown Charlotte, N.C., to my daughter’s rural community of Fairview takes less than three hours. Despite its geographic proximity, Sarah Julia’s farm feels like a foreign country. She intentionally lures bees and bugs to Yesod Farm+Kitchen to enrich the fertility of the land. I spray poison to ward those pests away from me and my home. I refer to the farm as her property. She says land is stewarded, not owned. I dream of her growing potatoes, tomatoes and onions. She, intent on repopulating native North Carolina flora, plants something called pawpaw trees that won’t yield fruit for years.

Crawford, Belle. "Tikkun Olam." J Voices. May 1, 2020.

Episode five of J Voices is dedicated to the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam, and the efforts local Jewish community members are taking to help heal the natural environment through regenerative agriculture and environmental education. We hear from Sarah Julia Seldin and Justin Goldstein of Yesod Farm + Kitchen, and we talk to Jacqui Childs, garden specialist at the JCC's Shalom Children's Center. We also listen to music from local band, Mama Danger. 

McKenzie, Jessica. "Here’s why CSAs were in trouble before the pandemic." The Counter. April 28, 2020.

Faced with an unparalleled number of options for purchasing local produce, CSA memberships have been declining for years.

There have never been more ways to get fresh produce sent to your home, from basic grocery delivery services; to “misfit” and “ugly” veggie startups; to bespoke, plant-based meal kits. But at the end of the day, what’s in a veggie box? Is it merely a collection of assorted produce, or is it a value system? Do you spend those dollars simply to fill your fridge, or are you also trying to support small farmers and local agriculture? Does it matter if the items are USDA-certified organic, or if some items are grown several states away? 

Towers, Paula. "A roots experience: Australia’s first urban Jewish farm." Plus 61j. April 16, 2020.

THE MENORAH IS THOUGHT to be based on the ancient Jerusalem sage plant, which still grows in Israel and is believed to have been burnt as incense during religious ceremonies held at the First and Second Temples.

The payot (side curls of religious men or “corners of a beard”), which aren’t supposed to be shaven, are based on the tzitzit, attached to the four tallit corners.


And the tallit, in turn, is believed to be derived from the shape of a field and the ancient Torah principle of not reaping its corners (pe’ah) so the underprivileged can obtain food. This commandment is the basis of tzedaka (charity).

Rosenfeld, Arno. "Pushing 80, Mike Tabor is still pushing himself and the causes he believes in." Washington Jewish Week. April 2, 2020.

On the crumpled sheet of paper, a grayscale Mike Tabor looks away from the camera with a grimace. Through the graininess of the tiny photograph you can still make out his full beard and shock of white hair jutting out from under a baseball cap. The photo accompanies a dense block of text that starts: “Michael Tabor — Tireless activist, organic farmer, justice-seeker, husband, father. The ultimate pot-stirrer. A non-conformist.” But unlike most obituaries, this one is written in the present tense. And Tabor is seated at his dining table, looking at the sheet.

Harris, Ben. "Jewish farms are booming. Now the farmers want to grow their community." Jewish Telegraphic Agency. February 26, 2020.

REISTERSTOWN, Md. (JTA) — When Sarah Julia Seldin arrived at the main national gathering of Jewish foodies in 2016, she was disappointed to find no programming aimed specifically at people like her.


There were sessions on kosher cooking, Jewish food ethics and the realities of kosher animal slaughter. But there was little programming at the Hazon Food Conference specifically for those who devote their time and energy to actually growing food.

So Seldin, a farmer who runs Yesod Farm + Kitchen in Fairview, North Carolina, put out the word that she wanted to connect with other Jewish farmers. Some 13 people responded to the invite, including Shani Mink, who was then farming at the Pearlstone Jewish Retreat Center outside Baltimore.

Sherman, Pamela. "'Bob Steffen's' Hardneck Garlic: Try This Drought- and Flood-Tolerant Giant Variety for Changing Climates." Mother Earth News. February 8, 2020.

Floods, drought, ruined harvests--by now many of us have experienced these--and we hear it may get worse. In previous posts we’ve considered paths to resilience through soil health. But the missing piece in every resilient gardener’s toolbox is seed, locally adapted seed, as this story by farmer Betsy Samuelson explains so well.

Garlic isn’t typically grown from seed. It is grown by saving a few of the plumpest bulbs at harvest time, separating the bulbs into cloves, and planting those cloves the very same fall. Nonetheless, folks call it “seed garlic” and grow it each year to continue the existence of favored varieties.

Hackett, Laura. "Jewish Farmer Network cultivates ancient agricultural wisdom." Mountain Xpress. January 23, 2020.

Western North Carolina has long been home to thoughtfully designed, diverse agricultural systems. In the 1920s and ’30s, there was the Farmers Federation — an early pioneer of the cooperative farming system — which stimulated and accelerated farming success across the region. Then, after the historic decline of tobacco, along came a new wave of vegetable, mushroom, fruit and flower cultivation.

Stadlin, Yoni. "To Love Judaism, Be Jewish in Nature-Based Community." eJewish Philanthropy. January 15, 2020.

For thousands of years, the Jewish people didn’t have Jewish summer camps. We didn’t have Sunday school. We didn’t have day school. And yet, we transmitted our heritage, intact, from generation to generation.

What cultural elements were in place, in those times before modernity, that made it possible to so strongly maintain our tradition? Which of these elements can we best draw from now, in today’s increasingly complex world?


First, we lived directly off the land – we had an intimate, reciprocal relationship with our natural environment. Secondly, we lived in villages, in which each person was likely to feel a sense of purpose and role within the larger community.

Houston, Will. "West Marin Jews call for environmental vigilance." Marin Independent Journal. December 22, 2019. 

This year’s Hanukkah celebration in West Marin contained many longstanding traditional Jewish practices and cuisine, but also integrated an awareness and response to a modern threat.


There were of course the traditional latkes, this time prepared with organically grown potatoes. Sweet and acidic pink lady and black twig apples were prepared into applesauce and served alongside a fresh, locally grown salad and produce grown by the Bolinas-based organic Star Route Farms.


It was the first Hanukkah celebration since the West Marin Jews organization joined 60 other Jewish communities nationwide in a pledge to incorporate environmentally sustainable practices into their faith and daily lives in effort to confront climate change.

Franklin, Chris. "Jews fled persecution to settle in this piece of N.J. Their story is being told again." November 10, 2019.

A small area of land in Cumberland County, just north of Vineland, doesn’t seem like much now. Passing by, you probably wouldn’t know it once housed a vital piece of American history known as the Alliance Colony, the first successful Jewish farming colony in the country.

Miller, Adrian. "Growing community: How Colorado religious leaders are farming food — and a new variety of faithful." The Colorado Sun. September 25, 2019.

Jewish and Christian congregations gather to eat supper together, feed immigrant and refugee communities and deliver nutrition to the needy

"I'm going to garden!” is not quite what one would expect to hear from a Yale Divinity School student mulling summer internship possibilities. Yet, instead of working in a traditional church setting, Jenna Van Donselaar, a bright and dedicated millennial, figured that working at The Table, an urban farm in Denver, would best further her spiritual growth. She’s definitely the envy of her friends at seminary who chose more conventional internships. 

Kushins, Jodi. "The Land Over the Fence: How One New Yorker Moved to the Midwest and Built Her Urban Farm." Mother Earth News. September 16, 2019.

I spent the bulk of my childhood and young adult years in metro New York. The daughter of two hard-working physicians, I wasn’t born to be a farmer. And still, I’m sitting here today with dirt under my fingernails and a to-do list that includes water the seedbed, harvest tomatoes, and clean the coop.

In 2003, I moved to Columbus, Ohio, to attend graduate school at Ohio State University (OSU). OSU is so big it has its own zip code. So, while I never lived on campus, it was the center of my world. I didn’t consider myself a resident of the city as much as the university. All that changed when I graduated and decided to make Ohio my home.

Miles, Matt. "Small is Beautiful." Earth Island Journal. Autumn 2019.

SCOTT JOHNSON LIKES TO DO THINGS THE HARD WAY. Or so it might seem to the casual observer walking past the Low Technology Institute on this sunny afternoon in the historic village of Cooksville, Wisconsin. While we talk, he is mowing the front lawn with a scythe, circling a square, working from the outside in.

Johnson has the trim physique of someone well acquainted with physical labor. Long brown hair spills from underneath a straw hat, and his face is framed by a slightly shaggy beard. His eyes flicker with intensity as he talks. I notice a tendency in his speech to spiral out towards related ideas before circling back to the subject at hand. In Johnson’s world, as in nature, everything is connected. He thinks in systems, in loops, in circles. 

Baldwin, Isabelle. "From Field to Vase: Local Flower Farms." Alexandria Living. August 31, 2019.

Wearing overalls and a tank top, Sid Egly greets me on his 1-acre flower farm in Poolesville, Maryland, his hair pulled back and wildflower tattoo on display. 

Egly is the embodiment of a flower farmer — warm, observant, ready to get his hands dirty. He is one of a few Certified Naturally Grown, or CNG, farmers in Montgomery County. That means Egly's Gypsy Flower Farm specializes in growing unique and beautiful cut flowers without the use of pesticides or chemicals. 

Farmers use pesticides to control weeds, insect infestation and diseases, which increase crop production, and, in turn, profits. 

For organic growers, however, basing your garden on the theory that “nature knows best” has its advantages, too. 

McRobbie, Josephine. "What Does It Mean To Be A Jewish Farmer?" Earth Eats. August 16, 2019.

Ten years ago, North Carolina native Meredith Cohen was working as a teacher. She was experiencing burnout, and wondering how to create a more sustainable life. She was starting to garden, and dabble in homesteading. Meredith was also longing for Jewish community, and was having a hard time figuring out how to find it. “And so when I discovered that Adamah existed, like when I first saw the words "Jewish farm" in the same place, it just sort of planted the seed in my head of like, that's where that's where I want to go, that’s what I want to do” she said.

Lobell, Kylie Ora. "Chabad Couple Runs the Kosher Farm on Maui." Jewish Journal. July 31, 2019.

Each day, after Rabbi Mendel and Rebbetzin Chani Zirkind wake up, they say their prayers, learn some Torah, meet with members of their community, and tend to the chickens, goats, ducks, sheep and geese on their farm — in Maui.

Mendel and Chani, who grew up in Israel and Southern California respectively, married two-and-a-half years ago. Five months after their wedding, they moved to Hawaii to fulfill Mendel’s lifelong goal to work on a farm.

“Since I was a kid, I always wanted to raise the food I was cooking,” he said. “I had this dream of living on a farm and raising my own chickens and sheep.”...

Through some connections in the Chabad world, the Zirkinds temporarily replaced the former Chabad emissaries living in Maui and took over the farm, simply called the Kosher Farm on Maui. Today, they have 1.5 acres of land filled with animals, mango groves, papaya and avocado trees, and banana plants. They provide private catering — Mendel is a shochet — and sell homemade apple and banana chips. 

Bernstein, Jesse. "Jewish Farm School to Close." Jewish Exponent. July 11, 2019.

After nearly 14 years of operation, the Jewish Farm School, a nonprofit dedicated to teaching Jews and non-Jews alike about sustainability, farming skills and the importance of connection to land, all through a Jewish lens, will close this fall. The group announced the decision via its Facebook page.

“When Jewish Farm School launched in 2005, the idea of Jewish farm-based education was on the margins of the contemporary organized Jewish community,” read a statementposted on the organization’s website. “Today, that story has changed, as there are over 20 significant Jewish community farming organizations reaching tens of thousands of participants each year.”

Ettlinger, Rachel. "Goshen Farm’s matzo goes organic for Passover." Times Herald-Record. April 14, 2019.

"It’s one thing to be Kosher for Passover, but to be organic and Kosher for Passover?


The Yiddish Farm has both, in its Eretz Goshen Matzo Shumra.


“As a Jewish farmer, it makes sense to make a Jewish product, right?” Farm manager Yisroel Bass said. ”...It’s insane that this product even exists.”


The nonprofit farm and agricultural organization produces organic, Kosher for Passover matzo that’s available to order for the upcoming Jewish holiday through Mon. April 15.


From Goshen land (eretz), the cracker-like bread is watched, or “guarded,” (shumra) more closely than a typical matzo, from the planting of the crops, to the milling of the grains, to the baking.


Yiddish Farm’s matzo is made from wheat and spelt that is grown and milled on Bass’ family farm. Then a dough is made and baked at Monsey Matzah Bakery in Monroe…."

Blake, Ethan. "Could the Ancient Jewish Practice of Shmita Be a New Tool for Sustainable Ag?" Civil Eats. March 28, 2019.

"The practice of letting the land lie fallow after every six years of farming requires a complete reset in sustainable practices—and could gain traction as a way to combat climate change.

...Many farms leave portions of the land fallow for a season. But, says Lucy Zwigard, a farmer at Urban Adamah who has also practiced agroecology in France, “what sets Shmita apart from typical crop rotations is that it invites us to re-imagine our fundamental relationship with the land. Winter cover cropping and no-till farming, for instance, are still production-based and ‘business-as-usual.’ Shmita is a full-stop, reset, rethink of cultivation….”


Futterman, Allison. "Nati Passow: Combining Judaism and Food Justice." Jewish Journal. August 30, 2018.

"When you combine deep passion for environmental issues, agriculture and Judaism, you have Nati Passow. As the co-founder and executive director of the nonprofit Jewish Farm School in Philadelphia, Passow works to be a force for positive change, based on Jewish agricultural and religious traditions. The Jewish Farm School uses Jewish history and traditions and applies them to the modern world. 

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a double major in religion and environmental studies, Passow spoke with the Journal about why his passion for environmental food justice is an intrinsic part of Judaism…."

Lowitt, Bruce. "The Pomegranate: From the Promised Land to the Sunshine State." Jewish Press of Pinellas County. August 24, 2018.

"ZOLFO SPRINGS – There’s a bit of the Middle East here in the middle of Florida, where pomegranates – one of the seven fruits named in Deuteronomy as representing the bounty of Israel – grow in abundance.

It’s called Green Sea Farms, 31 acres, six devoted to 130 varieties of pomegranates, two more acres to a pomegranate nursery, some of the rest open to cattle they breed, chickens and vegetables. David and Cynthia Weinstein bought the property in 2004 after 25 years of living and working on boats and cruising the Caribbean, when St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands was their home port.


'We were in our 50s and didn’t know anything about land life, farming, anything,' David said. 'We bought a conversion van, lived in that and leased out the property to a farmer for cattle grazing while trying to decide what we could do with it. Animals? Solar? Windmills? Fruit trees? In 2011 we decided on pomegranates....'"

Hanoch, ​Vivian. "Got Chickens?" August 2018.

"Welcome to Farber Farm, celebrating our roots and inspiring kids to eat more veggies at Tamarack Camps.

Do you believe in miracles? Come, plant the seeds of change in the landscape of Camp Maas and watch it grow in 23 acres earmarked for development in the new Farber Farm.

A first of its kind in Michigan, Tamarack Camps’ Farber Farm is conceived as a model for educational farm-based programming for more than 1,000 campers during the summer months and up to 10,000 visitors each year. With an initial investment of $2 million in “seed” money from the Farber family, this project was launched and completed in time for Tamarack Camps’ first session of its 2018 season…."

Graham, Conner. "You Should Know…Shani Mink." Baltimore Jewish Times. May 24, 2018.

"For Shani Mink, love of Judaism and love of farming cannot be separated. Mink, a Baltimore City resident and farmer-educator at the Pearlstone Center in Reisterstown, first started working on a farm while a student at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. In addition to farming throughout her undergrad, she received a permaculture design certificate from a farm in Israel, and now, back in the states, is putting it to use.

Mink is the co-founder of the Jewish Farmer Network, a group that aims to connect Jewish farmers in regions and countries around the world and provide WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) services for those that adhere to kashrut laws and observe Shabbat. Along with her work in agriculture, Mink is a Jewish educator in Baltimore City and hosts a monthly Rosh Chodesh event for women…"

Kay-Gross, Adina. "The Wow Metric of Success: Jewish Life Blooms on the Farm." The Covenant Foundation. May 10, 2018

"Spring has arrived, and the Jewish community is busy planting with purpose.

In Vaughan, Ontario, the yellow coltsfoot and purple-blue scilla are just starting to flower at the Kavanah Garden, a half acre community garden that’s part of Shoresh, the Canadian-based Jewish environmental organization that includes the Kavanah Garden and Bela Farm. On “Yom Manual Labor” just a few weeks ago, volunteers gathered to turn the soil, plant seeds, paint outdoor tables and participate in construction projects with the Shoresh team, preparing the garden for growing season…."

Lipsitz, Aaron and Koby Ellick. "A Long Life for a Short Holiday." Medium. May 7, 2018.

"Koby Maxwell Ellick and Aaron Jerome Lipsitz are sophomores attending Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. During their spring semester they conducted a research project concerning crop insurance, sustainability and water efficiency on a national level and within Watauga County.

Chuck Lieberman is a small farmer is Deep gap North Carolina. Chuck has operated a choose ’n’ cut Christmas tree farm in the heart of the high country since 1980. Chuck is active member of the Watauga County farming community and a founder of the Jewish Temple in the High Country. Chuck was nice enough to give us an interview and a tour around his farm…"

Liphshiz, Cnaan. "Outside London, British Jewry's first communal farm in decades takes root." The Times of Israel. May 5, 2018.


"CHELSFIELD, United Kingdom (JTA) — Five years ago, Talia Chain and her husband had the best-laid plans for living in a central London apartment surrounded by young and hip high-tech professionals like them.


Unaffordable to most Britons, this English dream was well within reach for Chain, the founder of a fashion marketing startup, and Josh Charig, a successful data analyst and beer connoisseur.


But through an unlikely turn of events, the Jewish couple from London city instead moved last year to the capital’s agricultural outskirts, where they are both involved in setting up the first Jewish communal farm on British soil in decades…."

West, Kevin. "Soil + Shul: A Jewish colony that came and went in the Berkshires." Berkshire Magazine. May 2018.

"Lorraine and Steve German, like many long-married couples, tell stories in stereo: He is eager and provides narrative momentum; she is precise and supplies detail. In their living room in North Granby, Connecticut, they sat down to discuss how Lorraine, a self-taught historian, came to document a largely forgotten period of local history in her upcoming book Soil + Shul in the Berkshires: The Untold Story of Sandisfield’s Jewish Farm Colony. 

Established in 1902 with backing from a European philanthropist, the Sandisfield colony peaked around 1940, when Jewish landowners comprised one-quarter of the town’s total population. How the colony came about and how Lorraine became its chronicler are tandem stories, one that begins in 1975, the other ending in 1976…."

Gabison, Yoram. "Israel's Indebted Farmers Are Pulling Up Their Roots and Moving Overseas." Haaretz. April 27, 2018.

"Ask an Israeli which of the nation’s achievements he’s proud of, and he’ll probably name high-tech and making the desert bloom, a euphemism for farming technology.

No question, Israeli agricultural technology has some stunning achievements, including drip irrigation, the creation of new variations of fruit and vegetables, and world-beating crop and dairy yields. Decades before “Startup Nation,” Israeli agritech was reaching remote parts of Asia and Africa…"

Eichner, Itamar. "The Jews-by-choice of San Nicandro, Italy." Y Net News. April 24, 2018.

"The small synagogue in the remote village of San Nicandro, in the province of Puglia in southeastern Italy, is the only one in the world where the women’s section is three times as large as that of the men.


The unique synagogue is located in a small building which the women, many of whom are engaged in agriculture, bought in 1994 with money they had collected on their own, lira by lira, and without any external help, so that they would have a place to pray. “We would tell our husbands that the price of the dress we bought was a bit more expensive, and we would save the difference in money for the purchase of the synagogue,” one says with a wry smile…"

Cortina, Matt. "Jewish community farming takes root in Boulder." Boulder Weekly. March 29, 2018.

"What kinds of food do you think about when you think of Jewish cuisine? Whatever they are — creamy kugel dishes, hulking deli sandwiches, Mediterranean hummus plates or maybe, right now, Passover seders — the folks behind the Colorado Jewish Food Festival hope you think about one thing above all: sustainability. 

Now, we’re reaching terminal velocity on the term “sustainability,” but its concepts are taking root in food systems around the world. And the application of these earth- and community-friendly farming principles to the Jewish community is a veritable revolution…"

Rosenstein, Joshua. "Rising to the Occassion." JMORE. March 26, 2018.

"Park Heights resident Ian Yosef Hertzmark does many things with his time, more than one might think possible. 

A mild-mannered farmer, baker, pickle maker and father of four young children, he also has a full-time job running a kosher line at a local meatpacking plant. In that latter role, Hertzmark works directly under Rabbi Moshe Heinemann, rabbinic administrator of the Baltimore-based Star-K kosher supervisory organization. 


Last spring, Hertzmark mentioned to Rabbi Heinemann that he was growing “biblical grains” at his farm just outside of Randallstown. The rabbi was intrigued. After a careful inspection, he told Hertzmark that his grains could qualify to be made into the most kosher of kosher ingredients — shmurah matzoh flour…"

Chernick, Ilanit. "South African Jewish Farmers Concerned about Land Expropriation." The Jerusalem Post. March 12, 2018. 

"South Africa’s Jewish farmers have shared their concerns over calls for land expropriation without compensation.

This comes after Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the African National Congress (ANC) adopted a motion for the expropriation of white-owned land, meaning farms, without compensation. The motion was passed by the National Assembly last month, with a vote of 241 to 83. This past week it was also agreed to by the National Council of Provinces.

Speaking to The Jerusalem Post this week, Isaac Jocum, an extensive beef producer in the province of North West, said that he has been farming for 33 years. “I am the third generation farmer in the Jocum family. My family purchased this land in 1934 and were of the first pioneers to start farming in this area,” he explained…" 

Nargi, Lela. "This Revolution Will Be Farmed." Civil Eats. March 7, 2018.

"A long-bearded, bespectacled Nathan Kleinman is standing inside a hoophouse in Southern New Jersey he proudly announces he got for free from a local farmer. Excitedly, he holds up plastic baggies containing his latest accessions of seeds. “These are Chinquapin chestnuts—they’re sweet and small,” he says, pouring what look like dark brown cap-less acorns into his palm. Back into their bag they go so he can show off the rest of his prizes: “Korean stone pines—they’re really rare. Bittenfelder apples, which are good to use for rootstock. Oh, these are cool; they’re from monkey puzzle trees, which are native to Chile.” 

Weingarden, Michele. "Boulder JCC’s Milk and Honey Farm Receives Coveted National PJ Library Grant." Boulder Jewish News. February 19, 2018.

"Denver, CO – PJ Library, powered by JEWISHcolorado, is pleased to announce that the Boulder Jewish Community Center’s Milk and Honey Farm has been awarded a PJ Library Spark Grant from the Harold Grinspoon Foundation.  Starting this spring, this prestigious grant will allow the Farm to offer families with young children programs such as Farmside Shabbats, Baby Goat Shavuot and Jewish yoga. 

Milk and Honey Farm is one of only three farms across North America awarded this first-ever grant to build new collaborations between PJ Library and the field of Jewish farming. A key goal is to engage families who are not regularly participating in Jewish or PJ Library programming. PJ Library is pairing this initiative with a new series of books tailored around outdoor environmental education…" 

Donath, Jessica. "Man of Micro Greens." Jewish Journal. February 14, 2018.

"A micro-crisis unfolded at the Beverly Hills Farmers Market in late January. It pitted loyal customers of Westside Urban Gardens, a small micro greens farm, against one another. The losers had to leave the Sunday market without some of their favorite greens, such as the coveted pale yellow leaves of Ethiopian mustard. 


Farmer Nate Looney had experienced a significant crop failure a few weeks earlier.


“Because there was a limited amount, people who are regular customers really wanted their micro greens,” he says. “It was a huge balagan.” 

The 33-year-old veteran turned to farming after graduating from American Jewish University with a degree in business. A class on the economy and sustainability during his senior year flipped the switch…" 

Torok, Ryan. "A Tu B’Shevat Question: Do We Care Enough About Mother Earth?" Jewish Journal. January 24, 2018.


"...Devorah Brous, founding executive director of Netiya, a Los Angeles-based food justice organization, is focused on improving the choices individuals and the community make around food. Brous was hired by Netiya in 2011, aiming to help Los Angeles synagogues to transform their underused land into food-producing gardens. 

Her efforts have yielded mixed results, said Brous, who discovered that many of L.A.’s Jewish leaders are less concerned about sustainable agriculture and healthy eating than she is. As a result, the organization is putting a greater emphasis on working with the city. Los Angeles City Councilman David Ryu recently helped Netiya secure a parcel of land that it plans to convert into an urban farm. Brous also expressed excitement about local legislation that would provide tax incentives for landowners to dedicate their property to food production…."

Musleah, Rahel. "My Daughter, the Farmer." Hadassah Magazine. January 2018.

In the front page article of Hadassah Magazine's January/February 2018 edition, "My Daughter, the Farmer," Rahel Musleah explores the growing trend of Jewish female farmers. 

"Janna Siller supervises her farm crew as they hoe and hand weed the beds of mesclun springing up in tender shoots of red and green oak leaf, romaine and mustard. As the farm director at Adamah, a 10-acre organic production and teaching farm in Falls Village, Conn., she is disappointed that the area hasn’t seen rain in almost two weeks

Steinberg, Amanda. "Raising organic fowl isn’t a task for the chickenhearted." The Times of Israel. December 16, 2017.

"Israelis love chicken. Whether it’s served as schnitzel (with fries), laid on the grill, poached in chicken soup or carved into boneless pullet steaks, this domesticated fowl is eaten by 87 percent of the Israeli public nearly every day — that’s 58 kilos of chicken per capita each year. 

In fact, Israel is the world’s number-one consumer of chicken, ahead of Australia, the US, and Argentina, the countries that lead in global meat consumption, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development…"

Zighelboim, Selah Maya. "‘Shtetl Skills’ Workshop Series Blends Farming, Jewish Knowledge." Jewish Exponent. November 22, 2018.

"Nati Passow grew up in what he describes as an intellectual household — his parents are professors, and his brother and sister are rabbis — a far cry from his Holocaust-surviving ancestors who worked with their hands. 

Passow, Jewish Farm School executive director, started to notice a do-it-yourself culture emerging, one that celebrated brewing your own beer and baking your own bread. But often, as he saw it, this DIY culture didn’t acknowledge this expertise’s origin. 

In 2013, Passow started the Shtetl Skills workshop series to meld the two worlds of ancestral knowledge and DIY culture together. He wanted to explore how his shtetl-dwelling ancestors may have lived, rather than how they died." 

Cantor, Claire. "Living the dream: Irayne the pig farmer." The Jewish Chronicle. November 17, 2017.

"How many of your Jewish friends are lawyers, doctors, dentists or accountants? Let’s face it, we tend to think of these as “Jewish” professions. These are the occupations which bring parental pride, not to mention status and security. 


But what if your career plans veer far from the path followed by most of your Jewish peers?

...Irayne Paikin has a show-stopper of a job for a Jewish woman. She’s a pig farmer.

Paikin, 51, lives in the Cotswold countryside, where she is raising her family and running her thriving meat business at Todenham Manor Farm. She combines her love of the outdoors with her passion for authentic, homegrown food…" 

Schatz, Karl. "Forget the Jewish American Princess: Here come the Jewish American Farmgirls." Tablet. September 20, 2017.

"Until we started using the hashtag #JewishAmericanFarmgirl, our daughters had never heard the expression Jewish American Princess, which isn’t too surprising, since we live on a farm in Maine. That said, all three of our daughters have attended Levey Day School in Portland, Maine’s only Jewish Day School, so they’ve grown up with Judaism and Jewish culture being an active part of their everyday lives. We’re not in the traditional sense observant Jews, but we are committed Jews, and practice our own kind of agri-Judaism, focusing our practice and observance on ways that Judaism intersects with our rural and agricultural lifestyle. We pick our own apples for Rosh Hashana. We love Sukkot. We grow horseradish for Passover…" 

"Israelis log out of high-tech jobs for a life offline." Israel National News. August 28, 2017.

"Former technology executive Dotan Goshen carefully arranges some melons at the bottom of a crate, followed by courgettes, tomatoes and lettuce.

With a smile of satisfaction, he contemplates his "organic basket" ready to be delivered to a customer.

Goshen, a graduate of Israel's prestigious Technion technological institute, made a dramatic change of course after his boss called him at home one evening and berated him for not devoting himself sufficiently to his work - even though he was putting in at least 50 hours a week…"

Prince, Kathryn P. "Synagogues bet the farm on community-grown organic gardens." The Times of Israel. August 23, 2017.

"BRIARCLIFF MANOR, New York — The pumpkins are beginning to poke through the chocolate brown earth and in a few days the first ears of corn will be ready to harvest. Something is eating the broccoli, but the yellow tomatoes, the color of sunshine, look ripe.

Over in the chicken coop the birds — some black, some white, some mottled — perch contentedly.

“They are truly free range. It’s our minyan of chickens,” Rabbi Steven Kane said, closing the door so the chickens don’t escape into the parking lot.

It’s another morning on the farm here at Congregation Sons of Israel Community Organic Farm in Briarcliff Manor, New York."

Riordan, Kevin. "A new generation of Jewish farmers sees a fertile future in South Jersey." July 25, 2017.

"Nate Kleinman, aka “Farmer Nate,” stands straw-hatted under the fierce sun at an experimental growing field in Salem County.

The unexceptional-looking expanse of sandy soil lies in the heart of America’s first Jewish agricultural settlement, a hamlet just off Route 55 near Vineland that Russian immigrants fleeing persecution founded as the Alliance Colony in 1882.

More recently, William and Malya Levin, a Brooklyn couple with New Jersey roots and big dreams, have begun to nurture 50 acres along Gershal Avenue in Pittsgrove Township back to productive life. Kleinman seeded two of those acres last spring with a variety of sample crops to figure out what will grow best there…"

Wiswell, Joyce. "Urban Farmer: Root Revival Acres In West Bloomfield." Detroit Jewish News. July 19, 2017.

"Jessica Ratzow figured she’d be all settled into her career by now as an energy company geologist. Instead, she spends each day digging in the dirt as part of the urban farming movement — and she couldn’t be happier.


“I love it,” she said of her backyard organic farm in West Bloomfield. “Any day out in the garden is better than sitting at a desk.”

Passersby would never suspect that behind the unassuming white house on Honeysuckle Road is a thriving garden producing some 40 varieties of vegetables, including squash, lettuce, potatoes, garlic, tomatoes, melons, peas, onions, radishes and herbs. The food is organically grown with products approved by the nonprofit Organic Materials Review Institute; but it’s not certified organic because, Ratzow said, obtaining that designation is prohibitively expensive…"

Levitt, Aimee. "Chicago Synagogue's Urban Garden Thrives, Feeding Thousands," The Forward. July 11, 2017.

"The farm at KAM Isaiah Israel Congregation in the Kenwood neighborhood of Chicago is very much an urban farm, with a bus line running past the side entrance, and tourists passing by to see Barack Obama’s former home across the street; so, the volunteer farmers do not feel obligated to wake up at the crack of dawn. Still, they prefer to work in the cool of a summer morning, so by 9:30 a.m. on a recent Sunday — farm day — the weekly harvest was well underway.

Half a dozen farmers crouched between the long rows of crops that run parallel to Hyde Park Boulevard, plucking large leaves of collards, kale and mustard, and small black raspberries and red serviceberries. In the synagogue vestibule, pungent with the smell of wild onions, another volunteer sorted the leafy greens and berries into boxes. The day’s yield would total about 50 pounds; later on in the season, when tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and eggplants are ripe, the volunteers anticipate a harvest five or six times that..."

ben Porat, Ido. "Good news for religious farmers." The Times of Israel. July 11, 2017.

"At the initiative of Minister of Agriculture Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) and Deputy Minister of Finance Yitzhak Cohen, a fund will be established for farmers who observe the Jewish laws of the Shemitah (Sabbatical) year, whereby every seventh year Jewish farmers are prohibited from cultivating the Land of Israel...

According to the plan, the state and the Shemitah-observing farmers will set aside a sum of money each year to a designated fund that will be opened, thus providing economic security for farmers who observe Shemitah laws. The farmers will draw a monthly stipend during the Shemitah year funded by the deposits made during previous years…"

Wittenberg, Leah. "How A Mississippi Farmer Got Me Thinking About Eco-Kashrut." My Jewish Learning. May 16, 2017.

"I had been keeping kosher for two years before moving to Jackson, Mississippi. My reasoning for taking on the Jewish dietary laws was that every time I ate, a seemingly mundane and human activity, I was sure to be reminded of my Judaism.

However, there is debate these days about the humane or less-than-humane treatment of animals used for kosher meat and animal products. I am finally starting to realize that the treatment of the animals is important, because it not only affects them, but us as well—physically and psychologically. This idea of knowing where our food comes from and being aware that our food choices are ecologically sound is the main concept behind what is known as eco-kashrut."

Worthy, Patrice. "Sustainable Agriculture Brings Jews Back to Roots." Atlanta Jewish Times. Atlanta, GA. May 10, 2017.


"A few dedicated Jews in farm and gardening are making a difference in Atlanta as a grassroots organization known as the Jewish Farm and Food Alliance. Composed of gardeners, chefs, farmers and social justice workers, the group aims to build a bridge between Jewish Atlanta and the sustainable farming movement.

It began as a few chefs who came to together to host a Christmas Eve farm-to-table Chinese buffet dinner at The Temple and grew into a loose organization holding must-attend events around the city…"

Gordon, Steven. "Meet The Jewish Corn Farmers of Iowa." The Forward. March 30, 2017.

"If you drive south on Iowa’s County Road K42 off Highway 20 and look to your right just before you get to 190th, you’ll see cornstalks at the corners of the field.

That’s my land. Every year I negotiate two contracts with my renter: one for the use of the ground, and one for the corn he leaves at the corners.

When I moved with my wife and two daughters to Sioux City in 1985 I knew nothing about how America produces food…"

Editor, "Farmers On Mission To Return 'Old Testament Sheep' To Holy Land." January 2, 2017.

"A Jewish farming couple from Canada says it has shepherded the sheep of the bible back to the Holy Land after centuries in exile.


With donations from Jewish and Christian supporters, and some help from the Israeli government, Jenna and Gil Lewinsky have airlifted 119 furry members of the Jacob Sheep breed from their farm in Abbotsford, British Columbia, to Israel. 

Jacob Sheep are found in the U.K. and North America, but the Lewinskys say the breed originally roamed the Middle East and ancient Israel, and their spotted and speckled coats match the description in the Book of Genesis of Jacob's flock…" 

Hendelman, Ariel Dominique. "Back to the roots." The Jerusalem Post. September 22, 2016.

Eco-Judaism reconnects the People of the Book to its ancient soil.

Judaism, at its ancient roots, is an earth-based tradition. This may feel obvious when we are celebrating holidays like Succot, Passover and Shavuot, but in the day-to-day lives of most Jews, connection to the land is not strongly felt.


There has been a resurgence recently of what can be called Eco-Judaism. It is a shift in consciousness to reconnect with our environment, with the land under our feet and with the Torah’s teachings on sustainability.“


I realized that there is the written Torah, the oral Torah and the Torah of nature,” Marissa Nuckels, founder of The Homestead, explains. “In order to get the Torah of nature, you have to be in nature. The same way you have to learn to read a book, you have to learn to read nature. How does King David know what a gazelle is like when he describes it leaping over the mountains in Psalms? He has to know a gazelle; he has to be in nature.

Koenig, Leah. "What Jewish Farmers Eat for Breakfast." The Forward. August 29, 2016.

"Summer might be beginning to wind down, but peak harvest season — which, where I live in the Northeast of the United States runs roughly from July through mid-October — is going strong. The farmers market is entering that magical sweet spot where late summer’s sweet corn and glistening eggplants meet early fall’s new crop of apples and squash.

For a home cook, there is no better (or simpler) time to make breakfast. A handful of fresh blackberries adds sweetness and dashing purple swirls to creamy yogurt. Crisp cucumbers and fresh mint combine to make a bright salad for topping bagels and lox, while pancakes can be dressed up with hunks of fresh peach or plum. And with homemade pesto just an overactive basil plant and a whirl of a food processor away, a fried egg on top of toast never had it so good…"

February 07, 2016

Friedman, Dan. "A Jewish Farmers Movement: Revolutionary or Ridiculous?" The Forward. February 7, 2016.

"The unfailing response from people when I tell them I’m going to the Jewish farmers conference here, just outside San Diego, is a smile to see if I’m joking. Then, when it’s clear I’m serious, comes: “I didn’t know that there were any Jewish farmers.”


There are. And the fact that they were holding their “second annual convening” on a ranch..."

Kurtz, Chaya. "Young Jewish Farmers & Redemption." Hevria. January 18, 2016.

"I’m 17-years-old and it’s Shabbos night and I am walking through the woods at Camp Isabella Freedman out in the Connecticut Berkshires. There’s snow on the ground but it’s pretty packed down. I’m at the Nesiya Institute winter retreat (Nesiya Institute unfortunately no longer exists because their director sadly got Parkinsons, but they were the most amazing Jewish youth group and were an important part of my teenage years). There are modern-Orthodox neo-Chassidic services going on, and Reform services, and a group of people sitting and meditating. Me being me (when there are woods around, that is where I go), I go out for a night hike by myself. I come back in for Shabbos dinner and one of the neo-Chassidim ask me what services I went to. I tell him, slightly embarrassed, that I went out in the woods. He says, “Gevaldik! All the Rebbes used to go out into the woods! Rebbe Nachman used to disappear into the woods on Shabbos and his Chassidim couldn’t find him! That’s part of the Chassidic tradition!” Well, I felt a lot better about absconding to the woods on Shabbos night."

July 29, 2015

Launer, Pat. "Jews and Farming, Pt. 2." San Diego Jewish Journal. July 29, 2015.

"So you don’t think Jews and farming go together (except, maybe, on a kibbutz)? Check out last month’s issue of the San Diego Jewish Journal, for an update on the burgeoning nationwide Jewish farm movement. San Diego is on the cutting edge of the trend.


Take the I-5 to Encinitas Blvd. and turn left on Saxony Road. Just like that, you’re in farm country…the Leichtag Farm, that is, part of the Leichtag Ranch, a growing resource and an impressive community venture that you should make it your business to visit and connect with soon..."

June 26, 2015

Launer, Pat. "Jews and Farming, Pt. 1." San Diego Jewish Journal. June 26, 2015.

"In Biblical times, the Jews were shepherds. To be a farmer was a curse, as embodied in the story of Cain and Abel, the sons of Adam and Eve. Abel was a shepherd; his murderous older brother was a crop farmer.


“A shepherd was cherished,” says Rabbi Andy Kastner, director of educational leadership and innovation for the Leichtag Foundation. “A shepherd was a seeker willing to journey. Someone who takes care of the flock.”


From the interpretive rabbinical perspective, says the young, articulate Kastner, the role of the shepherd was important in getting the Jewish people to be farmers, people tied to a place..."

September 22, 2014

Frochtzwajg, Jonathan. "Beyond The Kibbutz: A Jewish Farm Renaissance." Civil Eats. September 22, 2014.  


"Every fall, Paul Dinberg builds a kind of thatch-roofed hut on his 10-acre farm in Ridgefield, Washington. This sukkah, a ceremonial structure Jews are commanded to construct and (for the very observant) live in for the holiday of Sukkot, commemorates the Israelites 40 years of desert-wandering. But sukkahs also have agricultural roots, possibly harking back to temporary structures ancient Jewish farmers would live in during harvest time. For a modern-day Jewish farmer like Dinberg, that gives Sukkot—which begins at sundown October 8 this year—special meaning..."

July 23, 2014

Tortorello, Michael. "From Beets to the Borscht Belt." The New York Times. July 23, 2014.


"The annals of Jewish agriculture in the United States are a little like the story of great Jewish baseball players. After you’ve name-checked Sandy Koufax and Hank Greenberg, the conversation becomes terminal.


In the book “Kitchen Gardening in America,” the historian David M. Tucker noted that urban Jews in Philadelphia and New York rarely claimed vacant garden plots during the financial panics of the 1890s. “More than a thousand years of city living had killed Jewish gardening tradition,” he wrote.

But an exhibition at the University of Hartford, “Return to the Land: Jewish Farming Around the World,” makes the case for a kind of lost history..." 

July 23, 2014

Tortorello, Michael. "New Gleanings from a Jewish Farm." The New York Times. July 23, 2014.

"FALLS VILLAGE, Conn. — Come seek enlightenment in the chicken yard, young Jewish farmer! Come at daybreak — 6 o’clock sharp — to tramp through the dew and pray and sing in the misty fields. Let the fellowship program called Adamah feed your soul while you feed the soil. (In Hebrew, “Adamah” means soil, or earth.) Come be the vanguard of Jewish regeneration and ecological righteousness!


Also, wear muck boots. There’s a lot of dew and chicken guano beneath the firmament..." 

May 01, 2014

Wallace, Hannah. "Entre-Manure Farmer D Talks Compost, Agrihoods, and Citizen Farming." Civil Eats. May 1, 2014.

"When Daron Joffe dropped out of college to become an organic farmer, his parents cheered him on. “Okay, Farmer D, let’s see where this goes,” his mom said. He apprenticed on several organic farms in the Midwest, picked up biodynamic farming from Hugh Lovel at the Union Agriculture Institute, and eventually bought a 175-acre farm in Wisconsin where he launched a successful community supported agriculture (CSA) program. After several stints in the nonprofit world, Joffe was asked to help design and run an organic farm at one of the first “agrihoods” in the country, Serenbe..."

Wall, Alix. "How To Become a Citizen Farmer." The Forward. March 28, 2014. 

Daron Joffe was a freshman at the University of Wisconsin in 1995 when he ate a turkey sandwich that changed his life.

“I looked at it and realized there’s so much I don’t know about it,” the Oakland resident, 37, recalled recently. “There are so many things I didn’t know about where food comes from and where it’s grown and what my relationship could be to food, and that I didn’t have one.”

Jones, G. "Mark Dornstreich, 72, Pioneering Organic Farmer." Jewish Exponent. February 5, 2014.

"Dornstreich pioneered a farm-to-table concept that transported healthy dining and whose local farm products were used by many of the area’s top restaurateurs.


Mark Dornstreich, 72, a pioneer in the farm-to-table concept that transported healthy dining and whose local farm products were used by many of the area’s top restaurateurs, died Jan. 28 after a long bout with multiple myeloma.

The longtime New Yorker transplanted his dreams and career to a Bucks County farm in 1978, producing organic produce long before it became a hot national trend…."

Tannenbaum, Denyse. "Young Jews Jump on Farming Bandwagon." Jewish Food Experience. August 15, 2013.

"While the decline of independent farms in the US is a pressing concern for government leaders, a new breed of farmers is bucking that trend…and a growing number of Jews are among them.

The new farmer is young, cares about the environment, tends to be idealistic and looking for a life not dictated by a single-minded pursuit for wealth or status. Josh Rosenstein, farm director at the Pearlstone Center in Reisterstown, MD, near Baltimore, is one such farmer.

Rosenstein was a secular Jew with a house and a journalism career in the Pacific Northwest when he decided to change course. He quit his job, sold his house, moved across the country and started studying sustainable agriculture…"

Rubin, Debra. "Church, Synagogue Gardens: Congregations Tend The Soil And The Soul With Community Gardening," Huffington Post. May 16, 2013.

"The Rev. Morris G. Henderson wasn’t sure what do with a vacant city block of land behind his 31st Street Baptist Church in Richmond, Va. The church had purchased the plots, but didn’t have the funding to build a planned family life center.

Then, he had a vision.


“Why not build a garden and people can learn to be self-sufficient and we can grow food?” Henderson said.


With an 80-year-old congregant heading the project, the congregation planted its first garden in 2008: watermelons, tomatoes, okra, squash, strawberries and blueberries..."

Tolchin, Tanya. "Farming the Jewish Way." The Forward. February 25, 2013.

"I recently joined more than 150 people at the Pearlstone Center near Baltimore for the 5th annual Beit Midrash to learn about the Jewish calendar and how it connects to sustainability and farming. The Beit Midrash has become an annual ritual for my family and we have watched it grow from an informal gathering of friends with potluck meals to a mature and multifaceted conference. The gathering now offers a rare glimpse of a Jewish community where people from so many varied backgrounds learn together. The eclectic group of participants included rabbis and rabbinical students, farmers and future farmers, babies and grandparents, Chabadniks, reconstructionists and post-denominational Jews of all kinds.

As a Jewish farmer living in a rural area of Maryland far from the nearest synagogue, this conference offers a respite from our day to day isolation from Jewish community. We return because it is one of the few places outside of Israel where our Jewish life and farming life join together so seamlessly…"

Lieber, Chavie. "Down on America's next big etrog farm." Jewish Telegraphic Agency. September 23, 2018.

"Matt Bycer is like any other 33-year-old attorney who wakes up at the crack of dawn to exercise.

Except that rather than sweating to a P90X regimen, Bycer, in a T-shirt, shorts and cowboy hat, lugs 170 buckets of water across his backyard in Scottsdale, Ariz., to water his etrog farm.

The Phoenix native has been nurturing his citron project since he first started collecting etrogs in 2007. With a 60 percent survival rate for each etrog tree he plants, Bycer is optimistic that he’ll be up for production in five years and able to sell the valuable fruit to Jews across America..."

The etrog (also pronounced esrog) is one of four plant species that Jews are enjoined to pick up and shake daily during the weeklong holiday of Sukkot, which this year begins on the eve of Sept. 30.

Strohl, Lydia. "Striving to Keep Organic Farming Sustainable." May 17, 2012.

"Sandy Lerner made millions from her companies Cisco Systems and Urban Decay. Now, on her Virginia farm, she is hoping to change the way Americans get their meat. But is it a battle she can win?

Sandy Lerner sits in a field in her black Range Rover, the door emblazoned with the crest of Ayrshire, her 800-acre farm in Upperville, Virginia. Out of the tall grass teeters a days-old calf with a white face and black ears, one of more than 200 born to her 1,200-strong herd last spring. Against the backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the calf stretches its gangly legs and takes a few experimental hops…"

August 19, 2011

Koenig, Leah. "Farmville." Tablet. August 19, 2011.

"Every morning before breakfast, Rabbi Rafoel Franklin, 60, an Orthodox Jew living in Swan Lake, N.Y., puts on tefillin, says his morning prayers, and then heads outside to milk his 30 cows. Three decades ago Franklin and his wife, Naomi, left Monsey, N.Y., the ultra-Orthodox hamlet outside New York City, to start their farm in the Catskills. Franklin, who became religious as an adult, had spent his childhood in Montana and once worked as a wildlife biologist. He moved out of Monsey because he wanted to live a life that reflected his love of the natural world as well as his devotion to the Torah. “In Monsey I was working as a shochet”—a ritual slaughterer—“and I was dissatisfied by what I saw,” Franklin told me.


His more satisfied life in Swan Lake is filled with feathers, hay, and farm chores..."

Hartog, Julie and The Forward. "The Nice Jewish Farmer Who Let Woodstock Happen." Haaretz. August 6, 2009.

"I'm going on down to Yasgur's farm I'm going to join in a rock 'n roll band - Joni Mitchell, "Woodstock" 

The destination that Joni Mitchell sings about in this Woodstock anthem was owned by a nice Jewish farmer, Max Yasgur, who in August 1969 famously allowed half a million people to camp out on his land in Bethel, N.Y…"

Fishkoff, Sue. "Farming the Land, Torah in Hand." Jewish Journal. February 4, 2009.

"...Hanau and Stevenson are part of a small but growing number of young activists in the new Jewish food movement who are turning to the land as a way of expressing their Jewish values. They are not farmers who just happen to be Jews. They are Jewish farmers, working the land according to agricultural laws set down in the Talmud, teaching their peers and trying to promote the importance of growing one’s own food within the greater Jewish community.

They leave a corner of their field unharvested for the poor, in accordance with the Mishnaic tractate Pe’ah, or corner. They don’t plant wheat and barley together, a teaching from tractate Kilayim, or holding back. They slaughter goats and chickens they raise themselves, practicing “tzar ba’alei hayim,” the commandment to show kindness to domestic animals. They say a bracha, a blessing, before they eat. Some keep kosher, some do not, but all are committed to some kind of Jewish dietary practice…"

Belluck, Pam. "For Orthodox Jews, an Experiment in Farming and Faith." The New York Times. November 1, 2002.

"The newest farmers in this quiet valley will not milk their cows on Saturdays. Every seventh year, they will let their land lie fallow. Following biblical injunctions, they will not pick fruit from their orchards for the first three years, or plant certain vegetables next to certain fruits.

If the men, with their wide-brimmed black hats and wiry beards, seem out of place tilling the land, that is understandable. This farm will apparently be a first, at least for the modern world: a kosher, organic, communal farm run by ultra-Orthodox Jews.

The project, the brainchild of a Lubavitcher rabbi, intends to meld the tenets of the Torah with a back-to-the-land ethos not usually associated with Hasidic Jews. It also aims to be a model, to be replicated elsewhere, a self-sufficient community with synagogue, Torah study center, schools and a ritual bath called a mikvah -- a place where Orthodox Jews grow their own food according to Torah and Talmud rules and educate outsiders about their beliefs…"

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