Why do we need a Jewish community farm?
1: Reconnecting to our heritage
“Jewish tradition comes alive when you engage with the physical world” Nigel Savage
According to a US study, a third of the Jews who had been disconnected to Jewish life and re-engaged with Jewish life, were inspired to reconnect to their Judaism due to Jewish outdoor farm and food educational programmes. However in the UK, there are no Jewish outdoor farm and food educational programmes - Sadeh will be the first! Here Jewish people of all ages and backgrounds can connect with our rich tradition of Jewish farming and be inspired by a religion based in agriculture.
2: Interfaith and inter-communal work
“It makes sense to act together as faith communities on issues like climate change. This is about working side-by-side. This is about standing together, being united” Lord Sacks, Emeritus Chief Rabbi
Through growing food together and environmental education, diverse communities and faiths can come together in a united goal to preserve our environment. The farm will offer a space for faiths and communities to discuss their differences and similarities and how we can heal these tensions through food growing. We can learn from each other and discover how food unites us.
3: Commitment to protecting our environment
“And put Adam in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” Genesis 2:15
Though the environment is one of the most pressing matters of our day, there are very few European Jewish programmes focused on it, and only one in the UK (JVS)! In our ancient texts, we are charged many times to take care of our planet. As climate change reshapes our environment, Sadeh will provide education on how our actions affect the planet and how we can be part of the solution.
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote that the prophets of ancient Israel “remind us of the moral state of a people: Few are guilty, but all are responsible.” (The Prophets, p. 16).
Here’s what we’re doing
“It’s a very basic human urge, it seems, to plant a seed, watch it grow, provision ourselves first-hand.” Barbara Kingsolver
As well as growing delicious, organic veg and fruit, we will be offering local volunteering, training and much more! We will be offering programmes to the many groups of young people who come and stay at Skeet Hill House and to those who want to come down for the day and get their hands dirty.
Our community farm will:
1: Inspire us to reconnect to our faiths and communities by being and working together on the land
- discovering composting systems how that relates to prayer
- farm Retreats/Festivals based on Jewish agricultural rituals
- the heritage of fermenting and pickling
- growing veggies for Jewish festivals
2: Make us physically and mentally healthier by getting outside and doing some digging!
- volunteer days on the farm
- herbs for health
- from farm to table: prepare your own lunch
- brewing days for adults (future)
3: Help different communities and faiths to connect to each other through working on a common aim of growing vegetables and protecting our shared planet.
- cross-communal willow weaving
- interfaith “weed” dating (where you meet people while you weed!)
- learning to grow (and eat!) vegetables from different heritages
4: Strengthen our commitment to protecting our environment through educational programmes on the farm for a range of ages.
- learning how to grow your own veggies
- farm tours and mucking in
- sustainable education workshops
- foraging activities
5: Motivate broader positive social action in our communities and beyond as caring for our environment inspires us to think about our planet as a whole and the other people and animals we share it with.
- volunteer opportunities (Duke of Edinburgh etc.)
- programmes on why the local food movement is a political statement
- supervised time with animals
The farm will be at Skeet Hill House in Kent. An amazing Jewish retreat centre which has its own heritage of practicing Judaism in the context of working and being on the land. The site is near Orpington station within the M25, just over an hour's drive from Golders Green.
FARM PLAN 1 - 7 years
What do we need the money for?
We need to raise £15000 to get this off the ground. Here is a breakdown of what we need:
and we have some great rewards to help us achieve this!
Sadeh farm is being spearheaded by a member of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation network and has been awarded a matching grant. Schusterman is a global organization that seeks to ignite the passion and unleash the power in young people to create positive change for themselves, the Jewish community and the broader world. Learn more about the Foundation here.