This article was first published in The Times of Israel.
Twenty of Kehilla Community Synagogue’s 3rd and 4th graders don’t spend the majority of their Hebrew school time at the congregation’s Piedmont, California building. Instead, they dig into Judaism by getting their hands dirty at Urban Adamah, the only urban Jewish farm in North America, located in nearby Berkeley.
These kids are only twenty of the 10,000 annual visitors who come to Urban Adamah’s 1.25-acre site from around the San Francisco Bay Area for hands-on educational programming that combines Jewish values with sustainable agriculture and environmental stewardship.
Amazed at how quickly its mission and programs have attracted interest, Urban Adamah, which opened in 2011, has already decided it needs more room to grow and has announced plans to purchase and move to a property twice the size of its current one.
And the best part about Urban Adamah’s pulling up roots is that it doesn’t have to actually do so. Differing from other Jewish farms likeEden Village Camp in Putnam Valley, New York and the Pearlstone Center in Resisterstown, Maryland and Kavanah Gardenin Toronto, which are located in rural or suburban areas, Urban Adamah is currently situated on rented property in an inner-city setting. Accordingly, it has devised methods of growing all its crops in beds that are not only raised above the ground, but also portable and relatively easy to safely transport to a new site.
Urban Adamah’s executive director Adam Berman calls the purchase of the new 2.2-acre parcel in West Berkeley “a once in a lifetime opportunity” for the farm. “This piece of land is off-the-charts amazing,” he told The Times of Israel. There are not many large, open lots in the area, let alone ones that are comprised completely of exposed soil and situated next to a restored creek and wetland area.
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© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.