Sustainable Agriculture Subscribe

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


Blogs

Towards an all-inclusive Tu Bishvat

Tomorrow (Shabbat 11th February) we celebrate Tu Bishvat, the Jewish New Year for trees. It is a time when we celebrate the natural world, when we take time to contemplate all that God has provided for us – the trees, flowers, fruit, rivers, seas. But in such times of celebration we must also spare a thought for those less fortunate. Those subject to rejection because their physical form isn’t perfect.  Those who find themselves dismissed from lack of beauty. That is, those fruits and vegetables excluded from the supermarket shelves due to blemishes or ...

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 The Best Approach to Promoting Veganism?

  While climate change is an existential threat the United States, and, indeed, the entire world, there has not been sufficient attention to it by most people. It was not discussed at all during the recent presidential debates, and was not a major campaign issue. Unfortunately, “denial is not just a river in Egypt,” and most people today are, in effect, rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic as we head toward a giant iceberg. Here are several importan  reasons we all should be very concerned about climate change. Science academies worldwide, 97% of ...

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Preserving the Sacred Environment: A Religious Imperative – A Tu Bishvat Message

Many contemporary Jews look upon Tu Bishvat (February 10-11 in 2017) as a Jewish Earth Day, a day for contemplating our ecological heritage - and the multitude of threats it currently faces. An ancient midrash has become all too relevant today: "In the hour when the Holy one, blessed be He, created the first person, He showed him the trees in the Garden of Eden, and said to him: "See My works, how fine they are; Now all that I have created, I created for your benefit. Think upon this and do not corrupt and destroy My world, For if you destroy it, there is no one to ...

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A Basic Case for Vegetarianism (and Veganism)

There is a widely accepted aspect of modern life that contradicts many Jewish teachings and harms people, communities, and the planet -- the mass production and widespread consumption of meat. Please consider: 1. While Judaism mandates that people should be very careful about preserving their health and their lives, numerous scientific studies have linked animal-based diets directly to heart disease, stroke, many forms of cancer, and other chronic degenerative diseases. 2. While Judaism forbids tsa'ar ba'alei chayim, inflicting unnecessary pain on animals, most farm ...

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Eden Village is Hiring Farm Educator Apprentices

Eden Village Camp is Hiring! Submit Your Application About Eden Village Camp: Eden Village Camp aims to be a living model of a thriving, sustainable Jewish community, grounded in social responsibility and inspired Jewish spiritual life. By bringing the wisdom of our tradition to the environmental, social, and personal issues important to today’s young people, we practice a Judaism that is substantive and relevant. Through our Jewish environmental and service-learning curricula, joyful Shabbat observance, pluralistic Jewish expression, and inspiring, diverse staff ...

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An Existential Threat to Israel, the U.S., and the World

While climate change is an existential threat to Israel, the United States, and, indeed, the entire world, there has not been sufficient attention to it by most people. It was not discussed at all during the recent presidential debates, and was not a major campaign issue. Unfortunately, “denial is not just a river in Egypt,” and most people today are, in effect rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, as we head toward a giant iceberg. Here are ten important reasons we all should be very concerned about climate change: 1. Science academies worldwide, 97% of ...

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Earth Etudes for Elul: A Collection of Meaningful Ways to Enrich Our Lives

by Susan Levine ~ It’s not too late to read the thought-provoking Earth Etudes for the month of Elul. Now is a good time to think about our lives and what matters: our family, our friends, this Earth we call our home and all the other people and animals who share it with us. How can we take care of our health and work towards a peaceful and sustainable future for our children? A special thank you to Rabbi Katy Z. Allen for organizing this project and to our contributing writers with their meaningful essays, poems and thoughts. You can read them here whenever ...

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Yom Kippur and Vegetarianism

Yom Kippur, the culmination of the Aseret Y’mei Teshuva (the Ten Days of Penitence) that begins on Rosh Hashanah, is the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. On this day, Jews refrain completely from consuming food and water and spend many hours in synagogues, examining their deeds, vowing to repent of past transgressions, and seeking God’s blessings for a coming year of good health and positive outcomes. Yet, after Yom Kippur, most Jews return to animal-based diets that are arguably inconsistent with the values of Yom Kippur and Judaism in general. Please consider: ...

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Our Earth Etudes for Elul: Thank you to our contributors!

Thank you!

By Susan Levine A special thank you to Rabbi Katy Z. Allen for organizing this project and to our contributing writers with their meaningful essays, poems and thoughts. Elul is the month that leads up to Rosh Hashanah, but these Earth Etudes are insightful windows into the meaning of life and the interconnection between our lives, our Earth and our spiritual existence at any time.  ~ Etude Elul 1 by Andy Oram: Save the Earth to Save Our children. Read more... ~ Etude Elul 2 by Rabbi Robin Damsky: Oh Deer What Can the Matter Be? Read more… ~ Etude Elul 3 by ...

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May it bee a sweet new year

"May you bee inscribed and sealed in the book of life for a good and sweet new year.  May all your offspring survive to see adulthood and may you successfully pollinate our crops so that we will have sufficient to eat." It's not that I'm actually suggesting this prayer is added to our Rosh HaShanah prayer books - heaven know the services last long enough already - but the words did spring to mind now that we are surrounded by pictures of fluffy cute bumblebees in the run up to the Jewish New Year. These yellow and black critters have become as much symbols of the ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 21: The Food We Eat

by Leora Mallach ~ The severe drought affecting the northeast this growing season is causing farmers to apply for federal disaster relief (they must prove at least 30% crop loss to qualify). According to USDA data, Massachusetts topsoils were 25% drier in July 2016 than the 10 year mean, and there are mandatory water restrictions in many towns. The National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC), established at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1995, tells us: Drought is an insidious hazard of nature. It is often referred to as a "creeping phenomenon" and ...

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A Rosh Hashanah Message: Is God’s ‘Very Good’ World Approaching a Catastrophe?

Rosh Hashanah commemorates God's creation of the world. The “Ten Days of Repentance” from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur is a period to evaluate our deeds and to do teshuvah (repentance) for cases where we have missed the mark. Sukkot, which starts a few days after Yom Kippur, is a holiday in which we leave our fine houses and live in temporary shelters (sukkahs) to commemorate our ancestors’ journey in the wilderness. Hence, the upcoming weeks provide an excellent time to consider the state of the planet's environment and what we might do to help shift the world onto a ...

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Tips for a Native Garden

~ Although late summer or early fall may seem like an odd time to begin a garden, it is a great time to plan the garden and get plants and flowers into the ground before cold weather hits. If you are thinking about planting a garden, consider creating a native garden as the best way to restore native ecosystems and be kind to the environment. What better way to follow the important goal that Judaism teaches to "till and tend God's creation, the Earth." Why Use Native Plants? Before planting a native garden, it is important to have a grasp of what native plants are. By ...

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Elul: A Time to Start Shifting Our Imperiled Planet onto a Sustainable Path


The Hebrew month of Elul has arrived. It is the traditional time for heightened introspection, a chance to consider teshuva, improvements in our lives, before the “Days of Awe,” the days of judgment, the “High Holidays” of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The shofar is blown every morning (except on Shabbat) in synagogues during the month of Elul to awaken us from slumber, to remind us to consider where we are in our lives and to urge us to make positive changes. How should we respond to Elul today? How should we respond when: Science academies worldwide, 97% ...

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Tisha B’Av and Vegetarianism

There are many connections between vegetarianism (and veganism) and the Jewish holiday of Tisha B'Av: 1. Tisha B'Av (the 9th day of the month of Av) commemorates the destruction of the first and second Temples in Jerusalem. Today the entire world is threatened by climate change, and modern intensive livestock agriculture is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. 2. In Megilat Eichah (Lamentations), which is read on Tisha B'Av, the prophet Jeremiah warned the Jewish people of the need to change their unjust ways in order to avoid the destruction of Jerusal...

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10 Top Reasons to Read “Who Stole My Religion? Revitalizing Judaism and Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal Our Imperiled Planet”

Who Stole My Religion?: 1. Generates interest and discourse on the future of Judaism and our imperiled planet because of its challenging analyses. 2. Delivers a critical analysis of Orthodox Judaism’s views on climate change and politics. 3. Argues that vegetarianism, and especially veganism, is the diet most consistent with Jewish teachings and is essential to efforts to avert a climate catastrophe. 4. Offers a possible viable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 5. Provides a radical approach to reducing terrorism. 6. Discusses how to ...

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“Who Stole My Religion?” has been published!

HERE'S WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT THIS UPDATED BOOK BY RICHARD SCHWARTZ. The many endorsements below are included to show that it is not just the author, but also many other people – of various perspectives – who think their religion has been “stolen,” but who still believe that religious values have relevance to current issues. It is our hope that the voices of the people who submitted the statements below, as well as many more voices, will be raised to help revitalize Judaism and other religions and to apply religious values effectively in response to the ...

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SACRED EARTH, SACRED TRUST

A Day of Prayer & Action for People and Planet. Sunday, June 12 FAITHS RISING FOR PEOPLE & PLANET Sacred Earth, Sacred Trust is a worldwide, multi-faith day of prayer & action for the planet and a call for world leaders to commit to a 1.5 degree limit on global temperature rise. Six months after world leaders reached the Paris Agreement, communities around the world will come together in a day of beautiful commitment and blessing for the earth. 1°C OF WARMING MEANS EVERYTHING The adopted Paris Agreement is an incredible first step, but much of ...

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Restoring Eden: Behar and Bechukotai

The loss of Eden near the beginning of Genesis sets in motion the entire saga of the Torah. In fact, the Torah can be read as one long quest to regain Eden. But what does a restored Eden look like? One of Eden’s characteristics was that none of the animals ate each other, and, more specifically, human beings had no permission to eat any of the other animals. Instead, human beings and all the animals shared the plants for food. This motif of sharing and non-violence between species is used as a signal throughout Tanakh (scripture) to let us know when we are talking ...

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Kosher Palm Oil

Until recently I thought I understood the problem with palm oil. I thought palm oil meant unethical agricultural practices causing the destruction of equatorial rainforests, driving Orangutans to extinction and contributing significantly to climate change. I believed that products where palm oil was listed as an ingredient are worse than those where palm oil is not listed as an ingredient. I understood that environment groups advocated boycotting manufacturers that use palm oil until they substituted with an alternative. And then I visited Melbourne Zoo where I listened ...

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