Sustainable Agriculture Subscribe

A selection of initiatives, blogs, resources and communities on Jewcology which focus on sustainable agriculture.


Blogs

Strategy ideas to get Veganism and related issues onto the agenda of the upcoming climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland


My review of “Food Is Climate” By Glen Merzer, published in the October 11 Jerusalem Report

Can a Climate Catastrophe Be Prevented? Food is Climate: A Response To Al Gore, Bill Gates,  Paul Hawken, and the Conventional Narrative On Climate Change Glen Merzer ISBN: 9798507729623 Vivid Thoughts Press 2021; $10.95; Kindle copy, $5.95          Reviewed by Richard H. Schwartz     Every once in a while there is a book, such as Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson, Diet For a New America by John Robbins, and Diet For a Small Planet by Francis Moore Lappe, that has the potential of changing society’s thinking on ...

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Shabbat (Haaretz) Shalom

Renewed themes in the commandment of the shmita, in light of the climate crisis This year 5782 is a shmita year - a special period in the Hebrew calendar that recurs once every seven years. This year we face a harsh reality - the IPPC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report published in early August claims that the climate crisis is already here and directly linked to humanity’s treatment of our natural resources. In recent months, multiple natural disasters occurred around the world, further stressing the urgency of the matter. Add to that the Covid-19 ...

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Five articles related to the Jewish fall holidays

by Richard Schwartz See below for the five op-ed articles related to the Fall Jewish holidays: Should Jews Become Vegetarians or Vegans at Rosh Hashanah?Rosh Hashanah Message: Is God’s “Very Good” World Now Approaching An Unprecedented Catastrophe?Why Perform a Rite That Kills Chickens as a Way to Seek God’s Compassion?Yom Kippur and Vegetarianism and VeganismSukkot, Shemini Atzeret, and Simchat Torah and the connection to Vegetarianism and veganism ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Should Jews Become ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 29: At the Hoh~A Rainforest in the Pacific Northwest

by Thea Iberall Hoh Rainforest on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State The Amazon Rainforest is the most biodiverse region on Earth and provides shelter to three million species of plants and animals. Billions of trees absorb tons of carbon dioxide every year and produce 20% of earth’s oxygen. It’s been called the Lungs of the Earth. But I read something most disturbing. The Amazon rainforest is now emitting about a billion tons of carbon dioxide a year. From its role as a carbon sink, the lungs of the Earth have become a carbon source. ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 24: Harachaman for Shmita

by Rabbi David Seidenberg As we approach Rosh Hashanah, we are also fast approaching the next Shmita year, when all the land in Israel was supposed to rest, all debts were supposed to be canceled, and all food was to be shared, even with the wild animals. Just like Elul through the High Holidays, the Shmita year itself was a long journey of t’shuvah, returning to God, during which our sense of business-as-usual could fall away, revealing what it means to be in community with each other and with the land. A human world that observed Shmita fully is a world that ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 22: Healing in Nature and Helping Nature Heal

by Joan Rachlin It has been just over 17 months since my husband suffered a stroke. It wasn’t just our lives that changed that day, though, as March 11, 2020 was also the day that Boston went into lockdown in an effort to stem the spread of Covid-19. We therefore found ourselves living in a bubble within a bubble and rehab services were consequently hard to find. All of the outpatient clinics were closed and home care was limited. In this “timing is everything world,” my husband’s rehab was slowed down because the world had turned upside down. We drove ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 21: Tikkun Olam and Climate Change

by Michael Garry Tikkun olam, which in Hebrew means “repair of the world,” has always been a guiding principle of the Jewish people, one that we teach our children and try to practice in our everyday lives.  In the modern era, tikkun olam means that Jews bear responsibility not only for their own moral, spiritual, and material welfare, but also for the welfare of society at large. It is well known that the welfare of the planet is now threatened by an environmental crisis called climate change, caused by unchecked emissions of carbon dioxide from ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 19: It’s All About the Soil

by Rabbi Robin Damsky “It’s All About the Soil.” So reads the headline for a website discussing regenerative agriculture. I’m torn between fear and possibility. Evidence of climate change worsens every place we breathe. I read several summaries of the most recent UN report on the climate crisis in which Antonio Guterres declares a “code red for humanity.” Yikes. I’ve always believed we have the power to heal our planet. I still do. But the window of opportunity is getting smaller and the actions we must take are more substantive. There ...

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My podcast interview with Glen Merzer, author of the potentially transformative book, “Food Is Climate,” which argues that the only way to avert a climate catastrophe is through a societal shift to vegan diets.


Earth Etude for Elul 12~Shmita: The Seven Year Switch

by Mirele B. Goldsmith This Rosh HaShanah is also the start of the Shmita, the Sabbatical Year.  The Torah’s Shmita focuses on land as the nexus of our relationship to Earth and demands that we let it rest from the damage caused by agriculture. To ensure that everyone can participate, all debts are released.  During the Shmita year the produce of the land is shared so that everyone has what they need to survive.  Today, Earth is threatened by the exploitation of fossil fuels that is causing damage that was unimaginable to our ancestors.  But ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 10: Too Much of a Good Thing, or When All You’ve Ever Wanted is Really Too Much

by Rabbi Judy Kummer When this summer started, we in the Northeast were facing a drought. The levels of water in area lakes seemed to be down by as much as 4 feet, and rivers that should have been tumbling with early spring melt weren’t rushing and gurgling so much as dribbling, the vegetation on their nearby banks a droopy stunted mess. I was skeptical that the seedlings I had nurtured indoors all winter would survive if planted in my garden. And then, as we moved into summer, the rains began to fall. Where we gardeners may have expected an occasional rainfall to ...

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Can the Climate Crisis Bring Israeli and Diaspora Jews Together?

by Dr. Dov Maimon and Ambassador Gideon Behar ~The challenge of climate change may constitute a unique opportunity for joint action, especially among young Jews in Israel and the Diaspora, that would not only benefit the entire world, but also help create a renewed sense of mission for the Jewish people. Jews from across the globe could be mobilized for a task that transcends narrow Jewish interests: that of building an ecologically and socially responsible world, or in traditional Jewish terms: Tikkun Olam. Unlike the issue of human rights that galvanized young ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 6: I Am a Terrible Gardener

by Rabbi Megan Doherty I am a terrible gardener. But I garden anyway. I hate weeding. I water my plants too much, or too little. I don’t know from fertilizer, or mulch, or those fancy cages which keep out the deer and the birds. I live in rural Ohio, and when I look at the thriving mini-farms my neighbors create and tend, I want to throw my hands up in despair. But I plant. One year, my dad showed up at our house with a bunch of lumber and built raised beds in our backyard. The process was a beacon for awestruck kindergartners, who showed up with ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 4: A Letter to Mother Earth

by Rabbi Judy Schindler Dear Mother Earth, As we spiritually make our way through the month of Elul and approach the anniversary of your and our creation, you are in our prayers for healing. An illness extends across the globe – COVID-19.  We know that you can feel it.  You wonder why people wear masks when the air should be so perfect to inhale. You cringe that we have come to fear rains and their floods, winds and their consequent hurricanes, when instead we should stand in awe of the miraculous cycles of your natural world. We have ...

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An upcoming Zoom event that will help promote veganism.

Please share widely. The Compassion Consortium is proud to feature the free Jewish Veg documentary A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal the World, and Dr. Richard Schwartz’s new book Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism, for your consideration. So, check out the film (links below) and read the book. Then join us at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time on August 15, 2021 via Zoom as Dr. Schwartz and Lionel Friedberg, the film’s writers and producers, discuss the book and film and the historical and contemporary issues on Judaism, environmen...

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Invitation to three Zoom events about restoring and transforming the ancient Jewish New Year for Animals

Shalom,      You are cordially invited to attend any or all of three Zoom events that will consider restoring the ancient Jewish New Year for Animals and transforming it into a day devoted to increasing awareness  of Jewish teachings about compassion for animals and how far current realities for animals are from these teachings.      The teach-ins will consider how animal-based diets and agriculture seriously violate basic Jewish teachings about preserving human health, treating animals with compassion, protecting the environment, ...

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Plans for activities for restoring the ancient Jewish New Year for Animals and transforming it into a day devoted to improving conditions for animals.

     I am working with other Jewish veg activists to organize many events in an historic, potentially transformative initiative to restore the ancient New Year for Animals and to transform it into a day devoted to increasing awareness  of Jewish teachings about compassion to animals and how far current realities are from these teachings. The events will also consider how animal-based diets and agriculture seriously violate basic Jewish teachings about preserving human health, treating animals with compassion, protecting the environment, conserving ...

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“A New Year for Animals?” article by Abigail Klein Leichner in the August 9 Jerusalem Report

[This article discusses my efforts to restore the ancient Jewish New Year for Animals and to transform it into a day devoted to increasing awareness of judaism's teachings on compassion to animals and how far current realities are3vfrom these teachings.] A New Year for Animals? By Abigail Klein Leichman Just as Tu BiShvat was reinvented from a Temple-centric day marking the start of the fruit and nut tithing cycle into an ecologically conscious Jewish New Year for the Trees, the New Year for Animals on the first of Elul – when animal tithes were assessed for ...

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Article by Professor Yael Shemesh in the August 9 Jerusalem report, “Judaism does not allow the abuse of animals,” supporting my cover story, “Why Jews Should Be Vegans,” in the same issue

Prof. Yael Shemesh, Bible Department, Bar-Ilan University I have read the words of Prof. Richard Schwartz, an observant Jewish vegan who dedicates his life to promoting the vegetarian-vegan idea in accordance with Jewish values, as well as the words of Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld clearly demonstrating that he is a non-vegetarian. He even asks not to be preached to about stopping to consume meat. I will begin with my bottom line impression – both are right. Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld is right that Judaism is not a vegetarian religion and does not require its adherents to be ...

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