Teachers at Cultivating Culture
We are so excited for the wealth of wisdom and experience from this inspiring group of Jewish farmers and agriculturalists.
More bios coming soon!
Abrah Zaltzberg-Drezdahl, M.A., is an educator, curriculum designer, and a culture-shift consultant in the fields of social permaculture, prison food justice, and Jewish earth-based traditions. She is founding Coordinator of the Jail-to-Farm-to-College & Employment Program at the Franklin County Jail and serves as Permaculture Faculty in the Sustainable Food and Farming program at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and at Omega Institute for Holistic Studies. As Director of Regenerate Change, she offers trainings and consulting services for change makers, organizations, and institutions working at the intersection of land and justice. She is the author of Regenerative Design for Change Makers: A Social Permaculture Guidebook.
Adam Brock is a Denver-based cultural artist weaving together the threads of collective liberation, social permaculture and Hebraic futurism. As co-founder and co-director of the food justice space The GrowHaus, Adam worked in solidarity with North Denver’s Latinx community to transform an abandoned half-acre greenhouse into a thriving hub of food production, distribution and education. As Western Program Director at the National Young Farmers Coalition, Adam organized beginning farmers throughout the Southwestern US to advocate for sensible agriculture policy and racial justice. And as a facilitator, author and consultant in the field of social permaculture, Adam helps individuals and organizations use nature’s wisdom to level up their activism and social change work.
Adam McCurdy is a committed citizen of this amazing land he has been farming for most of his career. He has been naturally/sustainably/organically stewarding the land and producing mixed vegetables, tree and cane fruits, and chickens throughout the Great Northwest in Oregon, Washington, and California. Adam is committed to learning and sharing and to making the most of this time on earth in this gift of life. He is a proud poppa of two beautiful children and raising his family on the land in urban settings. He officially converted to Judaism when he was 30 years old while living partially off grid in rural Eastern Washington. Adam is enjoying being a part of the solution and this exciting resurgence of what it means for Judaism in this modern day to connect with the land, the people, and all the interconnectedness of creatures and ecosystems. Adam has always had a desire to help people and am forever committed to hunger relief, land access, and sharing nourishment. Adam is the farm manager at Coastal Roots Farm in Encinitas, CA.
Amalia Haas works as a consultant in the Jewish agricultural 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. Whether designing a pollinator garden for a camp, facilitating a ritual installation of bees or garden, or teaching about bees through a Jewish lens, Amalia wants JOFEE (Jewish Outdoor Food Farming Environmental Education) organizations to give the sustaining of pollinators a place – in our minds, on our grounds, and in our rituals and programs.
Anika Rice is a researcher and educator, studying agrarian change, social movements and political ecology in the University of Wisconsin Madison’s Geography program. She works with farming communities affected by climate change and migration in rural Guatemala, and with Jewish food systems and farming education in the US. Anika loves weaving, foraging medicinal plants, the Jewish agricultural calendar, and cats.
Ben Samuelson, an Adamah and Allegheny Mountain Institute fellow, learned the soil food web approach with Dr. Elaine Ingham before earning his M.S. in Horticulture from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. He is driven to make land-based livelihoods more fruitful by sharing principles of practical fertility management.
Betsy Samuelson is the Development Specialist for Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance and currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Administration. Samuelson has been active in creating Common Soil Seed Library in Omaha, Nebraska and the Community Seed Network, an international partnership. She helped draft and successfully lobbied to amend the Nebraska Seed Law and the Recommended Uniform State Seed Law allowing for noncommercial seed sharing. This and past work (as Organic Farm Production Manager, Wildcrafter, Apothecary Manager, Educator, Jewish Youth Director, and Farmers Market Manager) informs her belief that seed saving is a link to connect to ancestors, future generations, and the earth that nurtures us. She seeks to inspire others to save & share seeds.
CR Lawn founded Fedco Seeds co-operative in 1978 and served on its management team until his retirement in 2018. He wrote most of the co-operative's seed catalog and authored many essays on genetic engineering, weather and climate change, the seed industry, intellectual property rights and economic justice. He served on the Board of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) for 17 years and is currently on the Board of the Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI).
Dan Pelberg is a Jewish meditation practitioner and teacher having learned with Rabbis and teachers in India, Israel, and the United States. Previously, he developed and led Jewish programming at Brandeis Collegiate Institute and studied at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. He can often be found teaching at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center. Dan recently discovered his roots in Alliance, and joined the ACRe board in 2019.
Devora Kimelman-Block is CEO and founder of Kol Foods, the world's only certified kosher, regeneratively raised meat producer.
Greg Herring is a Whole-Animal Butcher and trained Chef specializing in sourcing ingredients with limited or positive environmental impact.
Janna Siller, as the Farm Director at Isabella Freedman, leads a crew of participants in the Adamah Fellowship in growing organic vegetables for CSA distribution, value-added production, on-site food service, and donations while maintaining the fields as resonant learning space for visitors. She teaches classes on practical farming and gardening skills as well as classes that explore the big picture systems, policies and issues that shape what we eat and how it is grown. Janna represents Hazon as a member of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and the National Young Farmers Coalition. Janna is also a freelance writer focusing on topics of land and food.
Jesse Schaffer has worked in a variety of capacities within the food system for the past nine years, from community building around food justice and education, to researching food insecurity and building educational community farms. After graduating from the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) in 2015, Jesse managed Jones Valley Teaching Farm, Birmingham’s largest urban teaching farm and now facilitates the production of seven teaching farms across the city.
Jodi Kushins owns and operates Over the Fence Urban Farm, a cooperatively maintained, community supported agricultural (CSA) project located in Columbus, OH. The farm, founded in 2013, is an experiment in creative placemaking, an outgrowth of Jodi’s training as an artist, educator, and social science researcher. Through her work on the farm, Jodi hopes to inspire others to grow more, be self-reliant and eat better, with an emphasis on locally produced foods that are not only healthier for our bodies and the planet, but taste better than anything you’ll find in the big box markets. Jodi grew up in New York Conservative Jewish community, attending and working at Camp Ramah in the Berkshires for many years. Today she is a lay leader of Kehilat Sukkat Shalom which has dual affiliation with the Reconstructionist and Renewal movements.
Justin Goldstein was ordained as a rabbi by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in 2011 and served congregations in Bangor, ME and Asheville, NC for a total of 8 years. Currently, Justin serves as the Scholar in Residence at Yesod Farm+Kitchen in Fairview, NC, a new regenerative farm incorporating the wisdom of ancient Jewish agricultural practices. For over 20 years Justin has been investigating the relationship between environmental sustainability, environmental justice, food security, and the Jewish tradition. In both online and print publications, Justin has been published extensively on various topics of the intersection between Jewish wisdom and contemporary environmental and food-related matters.
Laura Beth Resnick is the founder and owner of Butterbee Farm, a four acre flower farm in Pikesville, Maryland. Following sustainable, organic practices, Butterbee Farm provides locally grown flowers for florists, flower lovers, and weddings in Maryland and Washington, D.C. Before creating Butterbee Farm in 2013, Laura Beth worked on organic vegetable farms across the Northeast. A leader in the nationwide flower farming community, she serves as the Secretary of the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers and writes for their quarterly magazine. Laura Beth also mentors new growers through Future Harvest's Beginning Farmer Training Program. She speaks regularly at conferences and arboretums, including the United States Botanical Garden, on topics from starting a cutting garden to growing great dahlias.
Margaret Hathaway and Karl Schatz are the husband and wife team behind five books on food and farming, including the memoir The Year of the Goat, the guide Living With Goats, and the two volumes of the Portland, Maine Chef’s Table. Margaret is a writer who has worked in book publishing, corporate communications, and as manager of New York’s Magnolia Bakery. Karl is a photographer who has worked as an editor at Time, Inc., and as director of Aurora Photos. Since 2005, the couple has lived with their daughters on Ten Apple Farm, their homestead and agritourism business in southern Maine, where they raise dairy goats, tend a large garden and small orchard, make cheese, teach workshops, operate a guest house, and lead goat hikes and other immersive farm experiences.
Meredith Cohen grew up in Hillsborough, NC. After many years away - studying at Oberlin College, teaching elementary school in New Orleans, running after school programs in Portland, OR, and learning organic farming at Adamah - she is thrilled to be back home and putting down roots in Durham. Meredith spent three years working for the Adamah Farm and living at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, during which time she fell in love with Jewish communal life and organic farming at the same time. Since moving back to North Carolina in 2016, she spent two seasons working at incredible sustainable farms in the area before starting her own farm to serve the Jewish community of Durham - One Soil Farm. One Soil Farm will be going into its third season in 2020, which will be Meredith's 8th season farming. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to grow food for her community and to share her combined love of Judaism and farming.
Micah Chetrit is the co-founder of The Midbar Project, a Jewish farming initiative in Tucson, Arizona which cultivates a connection between Sonoran Desert Jews and our inherent roots in agriculture.
Paz Faigenbaum was born and bred in Australia and has been living in Jerusalem for the last 6 years. He has been working in the field of permaculture for more than 15 years. He has also been organizing Jewish environmental community events and projects for over 9 years, from Israel to Australia and Europe and the US. Having learned with the founders of permaculture in Australia, including David Holmgren, he has had the opportunity to teach permaculture all over the world. He is the director of FIG (Food Integrated Gardens). FIG connects people with nature, the land of Israel, and the Jewish festivals. We address environmental, social, and spiritual needs through educational programs and workshops, retreats and festivals, transformational gardening projects and installations. Our goal is to cultivate a renewed sense of identity in relationship to environment, spirit, and community in urban Jerusalem. FIG also hosts the Shmita Permaculture design course, building awareness in the field of oneself, land and community. Currently Paz is leading the Jerusalem food forest movement.
Paul Schulman studied finance, accounting, and math at Northeastern University, then worked for 3 years at various divisions within IBM. Seeking a job which more closely aligned with his increased interest in renewal Judaism, he joined the Institute for Jewish Spirituality as a bookkeeper. Now, as Director of Finance of the Fair Food Program (FFP), he manages the internal finances of the FFP, monitors the “penny-per-pound”, and oversees annual financial audits of the growers within the Program.
Sanaz Arjomand leads the National Young Farmers Coalition’s federal policy strategy and implementation. Prior to this role, she spent three years at the helm of the federal policy team at American Farmland Trust. She has also managed a rural school garden as a service member for Arkansas GardenCorps and worked as a farmer’s apprentice at Full Sun Farm in western North Carolina. Sanaz holds an MS in Environmental Policy from the Bard College Center for Environmental Policy and a BA in Political Science from the College of Charleston.
Zachary Goldberg currently studies geography at Penn State. He works to envision alternative agriculture futures centered around small scale farming through multi-scalar research, learner-centered teaching, and community-focused action. Previously, Zach managed the orchard and herbs at Eden Village Camp, in Putnam Valley NY, and was a member of Beit Izim, a Jewish goat cooperative in Boulder, CO. Moreover, he dreams of becoming a part of a Jewish farming community very soon!