We are offering a residential, weeklong, back-to-the-land farming & food justice intensive for Jewish teens ( in the 9th-12th grade) in August 2016, open to teens from all over New England.
Our vision for the program is threefold: to educate Jewish teens about the food system and food justice, to connect these teens to the land through hands-on experiences living, working, eating, and playing outside on a farm, and to offer a vibrant, fun social community for the teens to connect with each other while deepening their Jewish identities.
The program will take place on a small farm (Dig In Farm) in Shutesbury, Massachusetts where students will live in large canvas tents in the woods, cook and eat together in the outdoor kitchen, learn in a classroom with seats made from tree stumps, and spend time in nature bonding deeply with other Jewish teens. We’ll be eating delicious, organic vegetarian food.
Over the week we will explore our Jewish connection to agriculture, the land, and justice. We will take field trips around the Pioneer Valley to learn about food and farming, visiting with local farmers, teachers, activists, and religious leaders. These experiences will help us better understand the food system, and grapple with our role as Jews as part of it. Each day we will learn about a different facet of the food system, from food production, to food sovereignty, to worker’s rights and environmental impact. We will explore these topics through a Jewish lens.
Participants will also gain hands-on skills working on a small farm, carving wood, learning bird language, making medicine from herbs, going on a daylong hiking expedition, picking wild berries, and more. They will shower in outdoor showers, swim in a nearby lake, and experience a joyful and restful Shabbat together. It will be an incredibly fun and action-packed week.
Our hope is to offer a meaningful, immersive experience for Jewish teens that roots Judaism deeply in connection to adamah (the earth) and tzedakah (justice). Most important, the teens will get to participate in a fun, social space with other Jewish teens, building strong social ties to their Jewish identity, centered on caring for the earth and other people.