Start-Up Moshav: Growing our Demonstration Garden in Berkeley, California
by Wendy Kenin, Young Urban Moshav Founder
Young Urban Moshav is thrilled to have the opportunity to create a demonstration garden at the JCC of the East Bay. The garden is intended to serve the after school program’s garden curriculum and to function as a Jewish outdoor learning center for the community. The project site design will integrate best urban garden practices with Jewish cultural items such as traditional holiday foods and the fruits of Israel. The space will accommodate groups of learners and holiday activities. Young Urban Moshav’s participatory approach includes support with community engagement, from communications content and crowdsourcing to strategic connections with other Jewish green initiatives.
Young Urban Moshav, a new Jewish food start-up, has been accepted into the Hazon CSA network and aims to develop a residentially-based Community Supported Agriculture program. The JCC East Bay garden will be an example of garden design and implementation that Young Urban Moshav is offering for other institutions and private residences as it embarks on its goal to grow a system of interconnected urban agriculture sites across the East Bay.
In developing this exciting demonstration garden, Young Urban Moshav is sourcing labor and products from within the community whenever possible. As of the end of November 2014, exciting progress has been made. The garden has received its first major contribution from Katherine Gulley at Raised Bedlam Woodworks in Berkeley. A beautiful redwood table and bench, including end planters and a garden box, are already on site! Katherine makes custom outdoor and reclaimed furniture. She herself grew up in Berkeley attending the JCC and proudly claims that she was at her after school program at the JCC when the big earthquake of ‘89 hit.
The garden site, an alley between the southwest corner of the JCC building and the adjacent commercial CVS building, is being graded during the month of December so that the main area in use will be flat. Approval has been obtained for a retaining wall and ramp, to be constructed by community member Jory Gessow of Gessow Landscaping. You might recognize Jory from the annual Tikkun Leyl Shavuot events as he is an avid participant of many years!
JCC After School Director Cassie Brown has been overseeing the project. Green Educator Ezra Ranz has been coordinating between the JCC and Young Urban Moshav on a volunteer basis while already growing some starts with students in small boxes on location (pictured in the featured image of this article). Facilities Supervisor Chuck Weis is managing construction details regarding the building site. Front Desk Supervisor Selena Martinez has been filling an insightful and exemplary advisory role. The garden design has been developed by Young Urban Moshav volunteer Talya Ilovitz, who now is updating the drawings to include the newest developments.
Next major steps include construction of raised garden beds and installation of drip irrigation as well as a spiral herb garden and worm bin. Material contributions are being graciously accepted, from lumber to soil, garden equipment and planters to irrigation supplies, seeds, plants and even worms! Please contact email@example.com if you would like to contribute to this exciting Jewish community garden.