We at Adamah recognize that white supremacy and other systems of power affect the access that people with marginalized identities have to our programming and food.
We are committed to actively dismantling those systems by continually educating ourselves and our participants, by recruiting and carrying out programming in ways that uplift marginalized identities, by challenging systems of oppression as we encounter them, by following the leadership of groups experiencing oppression, and by distributing our food in ways that acknowledge the inequity of access.
About This Statement
We at Adamah have long struggled to articulate the equity and justice activities we engage in without using those activities as a platform for self-promotion. Too often individuals with power use their allyship to signal their own virtue and then excuse the ways in which they are silent in the face of oppression and inequity. We are aware of and commit to continually noticing where this dynamic arises. For this reason, it is with some hesitation that we have sought to write a statement like the one you are reading.
And, at the same time, we do want to highlight the ways that our program and our farm continue to shift toward interrupting oppression. If each of us in the Jewish and environmental communities remain silent about our actions for fear of being performative, it becomes difficult to learn from one another. We don’t want to take up space in the conversation about justice with self aggrandizing claims about our initiatives. And yet, we want to publicly commit to growing and strengthening our work under the leadership of marginalized groups and alongside others in the Jewish and environmental world.
White supremacy, ashkenormativity, heteronormativity, male privilege, classism, ableism and other forms of oppression have played a role in Adamah’s history and present. We actively seek to disrupt these oppressive systems by:
- Explicitly encouraging individuals with marginalized identities to apply to our programs and to staff positions
- Acknowledging indigenous territory and the history of the land we are on
- Operating our programs on a sliding scale with no one turned away for lack of funds, acknowledging that systemic oppression has lead to unequal wealth distribution among racial and other identities
- Conducting introductions with both names and pronouns so that assumptions about gender are interrupted from the moment of greeting
- Interrupting patterns of ashkenormativity by naming when we see it- questioning phrases like “Jewish looking” or “a Jewish dance” and Yiddish-centric/Ashkenormative Hebrew- and by having a plurality of traditions represented in our ritual life
- Interrupting heteronormativity by naming it when we see it- questioning assumptions around Jewish marriage or gender roles- and uplifting queer leadership in our ritual life
- Interrupting patriarchy by uplifting the leadership of women and gender-queer staff and participants
- Teaching classes on privilege, power and oppression
- Using an equity lens when we teach about food systems including how systems of oppression affect access to land and healthy food
- Teaching about the intersections of racism and antisemitism and inspiring deep thought on our collective confusion about these issues and about how to dismantle them
- Teaching about the ways that racism is entrenched in our food system via federal laws and regulations
- Inviting guest teachers with a range of marginalized identities to teach
- Ensuring access to programming for individuals of a range of abilities
- Ensuring access to appropriate housing and facilities for all participants including trans community members
- Ensuring access to culturally appropriate food for participants
- Using our own platform to lift up the voices of people of color as reflected in the written materials we study in community, the field trips we take, and the programs we offer with guest teachers
Wealth inequity causes a lack of access to the basic human right of healthy, fresh food for people experiencing poverty. We at Adamah consider this reality in the distribution plan for our produce. We also consider the reality that systemic racism has historically and continues to undergird a disproportionately low access to fresh food and to land for growing for People of Color.
- We operate our CSA on a sliding scale in order to include all community members, regardless of income.
- We donate regularly to food pantries in the region
- Since 2011 we have cultivated a relationship with residents at Tuscan Brotherhood Homes on the north end of Hartford. We recognize the ways that a history of segregation, red lining, employment discrimination and present day racism prevents access to fresh food for community members there, and thus we see it as our own responsibility, as people with access to land and to fundraising streams, to deliver produce there.
There is no future for the environmental sustainability movement or for renewing Jewish life on the land without actively dismantling the systems of racism that deny this most basic of truths that black lives matter.
The following are realities, often hidden from view by the systemic nature of racism, that we seek to visibilize and disrupt in our programming and farming: White Jews have benefited from the privileges of whiteness in America at the expense of black people. Freedom from antisemitism is inextricably bound to the dismantling of racism. Judaism cannot thrive when Jews of color are invisibilized in our communities. Judaism cannot thrive when people of color are discriminated against and threatened.
As we each take time to look straight on at the raw brutality of racism, mourning the deaths of George Floyd and so many others killed by police, and as we each look at the ways that racism infects our own minds and hearts, we must also open our ears and stand in solidarity with visionary leaders of color like those behind the words and links below.
We encourage members of the Adamah community to learn more by clicking on the links and to support the organizations with money and/or time.
Jews in ALL Hues is an education and advocacy organization that supports multiple-heritage Jews and Jews of Color.
The Jews of Color Field Building Initiative hosts “the nation’s first ever philanthropic and capacity building fund expressly dedicated to responding to racial injustice.”
The National Museum of African American History has a wealth of resources on talking about race in America, all beautifully organized to meet individuals where they are in the journey.
#BlackLivesMatter was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer “to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities.”
Not Free to Desist: An open letter from Black Jews, Non-Black Jews of Color, and our allies reimagines our collective Jewish covenant.
Be’chol Lashon raises awareness of the ethnic, racial and cultural diversity of Jewish identity while bringing “the Jewish commitment to civil rights and racial justice forward into the 21st century.”
The Black Food and Justice Alliance (NBFJA) embodies the “long history of resilience, self-determination and deep historical roots of Black food security, production and culture.”
Fair Fight fights the emergency our democracy is facing due to the suppression of voters of color and young voters.
The National Bail Fund Network allocates donations to community based bail funds, one measure in countering the racist, wealth-based incarceration system that results from cash bail requirements in order for a person to leave jail.
Adamah Land Acknowledgment
As we gather in community, we acknowledge that the Adamah farm is on unceded Mahican land. The systems of oppression that annihilated and displaced Indigenous Peoples ring familiar to us as Jews in diaspora, as does the modern Indigenous movement to maintain cultural and spiritual practices.
Essential questions about what it means to be Jewish farmers on stolen land abound and we invite each of you to join us in engaging the difficult questions. As a step toward decolonization and reconciliation, we honor the Indigenous People who have been on this land for thousands of years. We also redistribute a portion of our funds to the Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust.
Learn more about the history of Indigenous People where you live: https://native-land.ca
Our full-time staff has largely been comprised of white, Ashkenazi, cis-gendered individuals and we have a great deal of work to do in continually challenging patterns that enable systems of oppression within our organization. We are committed to this work and are in solidarity with marginalized members of our community. The path toward justice and equity will continue to evolve and we commit to the hard work of keeping ourselves open and vulnerable in order to evolve in tandem.