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Red Wagon Organic Farm

Shmita in America: Support CSA, Farmers and Farmworkers

Red Wagon Organic Farm

Tuv Ha’aretz, Boulder’s interfaith CSA program, would like to announce that it is time to sign up again for delicious local veggies from talented farmers!  Sign up for your CSA share and to be a part of Tuv Ha’aretz on Red Wagon Organic Farm’s website.

Tuv Ha’aretz and Red Wagon Organic Farm are making a commitment to farmworkers during this Shmita year.  Shmita is literally the biblical “release” of land and debts to community members (Exodus 23:10-12, Leviticus 25:2-7, Deuteronomy 15:1-3 and 15:7-10).  Two ways this is happening this spring include a screening of “Food Chains” on March 12th and an opportunity to donate to Red Wagon Organic Farm’s new Farm Worker Support Fund.

On March 12th at 7:00 pm, Tuv Ha’aretz will be screening “Food Chains” at the Boulder JCC.  This film, showing in time to include conversations on this topic in your Passover seder, documents the many farmworker injustices that happen daily in our agricultural system in this country. There will be a discussion afterward with Amy Tisdale of Red Wagon Organic Farm and Rabbi Marc Soloway of Congregation Bonai Shalom.  Doors open at 6:30 pm.  Movie screening is free for Tuv Ha’aretz CSA members, $5 for non-members.  Reservations at: bit.ly/foodchainmovie

In addition, Red Wagon Organic Farm, inspired by the faith community’s support through Tuv Ha’Aretz, has created a Farm Worker Support Fund to contribute to the quality of life for the workers who help produce the delicious food that we eat.  As you sign up for your CSA share, please consider making a contribution to this fund to support the farm workers who grow your food.

More About Shmita and Tuv Ha’aretz’ commitment:  Rosh Hashannah (the Jewish New Year) this year signaled the start of the Shmita Year in the Jewish Tradition.  Every seven years, the land is supposed to get a rest year, its own Shabbat, when in the entire land of Israel no farmer will till or plant new crops.  In addition, property boundaries disappear this year and no matter one’s economic status, everyone has equal access to the produce that comes from the land.  Farmers and landowners cannot receive a profit.  On top of sharing the produce for this year, all monetary debts are released. The society has a built-in mechanism to level the economic playing field.   In an economic system based in agriculture, the Shmita year provided a check and balance to wealth inequality.  Rav Kook points out that:

“It is a year of equality and rest, in which the soul reaches out towards divine justice, towards God who sustains the living creatures with loving kindness.”

Today we do not live in Israel and we do not live in the type of economic system that can support farmers taking a break for an entire year.  Our society is not agriculturally-based, and in fact, the wealthy class no longer makes a living through the bounty coming from their land.  In fact, most of our family farmers and farm workers struggle every year to make enough money to cover their basic needs like health care, paid sick time, and clothes appropriate to work in.  In this context, what does Shmita mean for our farmers?  What does it mean for us in the way we eat food?  What does it mean for our own economic activities?

During this past year the Tuv Ha’Aretz Core Committee has discussed what we can do for Shmita.  What activities could we do to help support our farmer’s economic viability?  How can we support the farmworkers that grow our food?  How can we take small steps to level the economic playing field and re-create the “release” that is prescribed to us in the Torah?  Tuv Ha’aretz is excited to devote time, energy, and money to this cause during the upcoming growing season.  Red Wagon Organic Farm’s Farm Worker Support Fund and the screening of “Food Chains” are the first steps to making a difference.

About Becca Weaver

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One comment

  1. I Shop at Red Wagon any time i am going to work horses and am on 63rd and they take food stammps
    as well, even though they a little high priced and,,, they have a wonderful barnyard full of llamas, geese
    one strong dog and more; worth stopping by; they are west of the diagonal about 1 or 2 miles.