Food-Producing Gardens: Coming to Your Congregation

Last weekend, Robert Nevel, director of  KAM Isaiah Israel Congregation of Chicago’s groundbreaking urban garden and food justice program, traveled to St. Louis to share insight and tips on how to start a food-producing garden.  Approximately 25 people joined the workshop, which was sponsored by the URJ in partnership with the Saul Mirowitz Community School, the Jewish Community Center, the Jewish Community Relations Council and the PJ Library.

Since early 2009, Robert and the KAM Isaiah Israel community have helped lead one of the most successful food justice programs in Chicago. Using what little land is available to an urban congregation, KAM Isaiah Israel grows fresh fruits and vegetables (pictured above), which are then donated to those in need in the community, all while educating volunteers about working with the land in an urban setting. To date, the URJ Fain Award-winning program has harvested and donated over 4,000 pounds of food and transformed nearly 5,000 square feet of urban congregational lawns into food-producing micro farms.

One of the main goals of the St. Louis workshop was to show that “this [starting a food-producing garden] can be done by pretty much anybody,” Robert said, emphasizing that this kind of work doesn’t require a professional architect, planner, or farmer. “Yes, you can do this, and yes, you should start this tomorrow,” he said.

We’re taking this advice to heart. What potential lies in your congregation’s backyard? Join the RAC for a special webinar Planting to Pe’ah: How-To’s of Starting a Food-Producing Garden at Your Congregation” to learn the do’s, don’ts and benefits of creating a food-producing garden at your synagogue. Robert Nevel and JCC Association Social Responsibility Consultant Barbara Lerman-Golomb will share their expertise as we examine how garden projects can be meaningfully integrated into congregational life.

Click here to learn more and register for the webinar today.

Image courtesy of KAM Isaiah Israel Congregation.

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Susan Paykin

About Susan Paykin

Susan Paykin is a 2011-2012 Eisendrath Legislative Assistant at the RAC. She is a native of Oakland, NJ, and recently graduated from Brandeis University.

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