05/28/13
Food & Wine Editor
Planting Jewish Roots

A Bay Area nonprofit is planning the nation's largest urban Jewish farm.

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An urban Jewish community farm operating on leased California land can finally take root in a permanent home.

Urban Adamah, the first urban organic Jewish community farm in the United States, announced today that the Berkeley, California nonprofit has purchased a 2.2-acre parcel of land that will expand its educational programming and outreach.

According to a press release that came out on Tuesday, the $2.1 million purchase in west Berkeley will allow Urban Adamah to more than double its educational offerings, which include a residential fellowship for young adults, a summer camp, after-school programs, sustainability workshops and special events.

“This land is a dream come true,” Adam Berman, the executive director and founder of Urban Adamah said, adding that “it’s incredibly rare for such a large underdeveloped tract to be available in this city — let alone one with access to a restored creek, forest habitat and playing fields. It is an incredible opportunity for us and for the whole community.”

The new campus will increase the farm’s agricultural production by nearly five times to 50,000 pounds of produce annually. All of the farm’s produce is donated to local food banks at Urban Adamah’s weekly free-food farm stand.

Given Urban Adamah’s reputation as a pioneer for Jewish urban agricultural education, Will Schneider, the director of Slingshot, a funding source for innovation in Jewish life, said the announcement, while exciting, also came as no surprise.

“They were using rented space that could go away at any time, dependent on the good will of he owners. Getting something more permanent was a goal of theirs,” Schneider said.

From the time it was founded in 2010, Urban Adamah designed its farm to be completely mobile, using the 1.25 acres of donated leased land as a jumping-off point for a bigger farm in the future. With that in mind, Urban Adamah is prepared for the logistics involved in transitioning the chicken coop, greenhouses, plant beds, and the rest of the farm to the new site.

To make this move possible, Urban Adamah launched its capital campaign last April and has raised $1.2 million to date, working to raise the remaining funds by mid-August to close the deal by mid September.

"Urban Adamah is fanatical in the best sense about their mission and tactics," Schneider said, emphasizing the organization’s efforts toward community building, bringing people closer to the environment, and applying agricultural education to a 21st century urban landscape. “It’s exactly what the Jewish world needs.”

editor@jewishweek.org

Last Update:

05/30/2013 - 12:35

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