One of the kids!

Jewish Farm Updates and Community Visioning

Rabbi Marc Soloway sells the chicken and goat co-ops on behalf of its members with two witnesses, Jeff Levy and Lev Shalem, to Bob Wing.
Rabbi Marc Soloway sells the chicken and goat co-ops on behalf of its members with two witnesses, Jeff Levy and Lev Shalem, to Bob Wing.

Passover came and went quickly this year at the Jewish goat and chicken co-op, located at the Boulder Jewish Commons. Days before Passover began, the co-ops had to determine what they would do with their goats and chickens, as during Passover a Jew is not supposed to benefit from anything considered Hametz– which included the animals’ feed.

The newly born baby goats weren’t eating grain yet, but the mamma’s were being milked and drinking that milk would’ve been considered benefiting from Hametz.  The chickens also eat grain, so their eggs would not be kosher for Passover.  With every year comes new questions, ideas and solutions: do we sell our co-op ritually and donate the milk and eggs?  Who takes care of the animals during Passover- only the non-Jews or everyone?  What does a contract look like for selling something on behalf of co-op members, who buys it, and how do we make sure to get all the co-op member’s permission?

Luckily, our rabbinical leadership has been involved with our animals from the beginning to offer the community guidance. This year, Rabbi Marc Soloway prepared a contract and sold the animals on behalf of the co-op to a non-Jewish co-op member, Bob Wing. The eggs were donated all week to those in need and the goat co-op members decided what to do with their milk. And then, just as quickly as Passover arrived- it was over.  Co-op members regained their ownership of the animals and work shifts return to what they were before the holiday.  And the farm animal life-cycles continue.  Most of the babies that were born around Purim left the day after Passover ended for a new home at a local girl scout camp.

The farm activities at the Commons have been a place of learning, fun, and justice, and food production; a place to bring Jewish traditions to life, redefine what it means to be Jewish, and bring diverse community members together. The community has been touched by agricultural activities taking place on the Commons. Whether you have been directly involved in one of the co-ops or the tzedakah garden (thanks you so much for laying the groundwork!), or just seen your friends and neighbors take part in its bounty, you have probably already observed the rich experiences it can add to our lives.  As the new JCC is breaking ground and the plan for the Boulder Jewish Commons is becoming a reality, we are excited to formalize an agricultural space on the land to continue to help our community grow. We have the opportunity to create a Boulder Jewish Commons Community Farm. What will it look like?

Sheleg and Schwartzy, Alfalfa's babies born before Purim, nursing from their mom
Sheleg and Schwartzy, Alfalfa’s babies born before Purim, nursing from their mom

What do you think our Community Farm should be?”

What kind of food do you want to grow? What kinds of activities do you want to see happen? What role would you/your organization like to have at the future Farm and in helping us to get to that Farm?

The Farm can be a part of early childhood education, Hebrew school curriculum, b’nai mitzvah, teen programming, adult education, inclusion programs, and more. We can have educational garden space, outdoor community gathering space, space for our animals, and space to grow food for those in need. Right now is the time for visioning and brainstorming so that we can create a farm that truly meets our community’s needs, that helps us grow food, grow together, and grow community.

We invite you to an exciting convening and community conversation about the future of the Boulder Jewish Commons Community Farm. We want you there! There are two gatherings–each with the exact same agenda–to pick from:  Thursday, May 15, 6:00 – 9:00 pm, Congregation Har HaShem, south building, 3901 Pinon Drive, Boulder, 80303 — or —  Monday, May 19, 6:00 – 9:00 pm, Boulder JCC, 3800 Kalmia Avenue, Boulder 80301.  Snacks and drinks will be provided. RSVP here.





About Becca Gan Levy

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