Starting this week, Hazon will be spotlighting a few of this year’s mini-grant recipients from the 2012 Hazon New York Ride. The New York Ride is Hazon’s longest-running program, and will take place for the eleventh time this Labor Day weekend. Each year, the Ride is an opportunity for Hazon to connect with and support new organizations that are doing work we are excited about, and over the years we’ve been able to support upwards of 105 different organizations. Just as importantly, the Ride has allowed us to build continued, long-lasting relationships with several organizations that we have been involved with from the very beginning, and whose goals and visions are similar to our own. This week I had the pleasure of speaking with Leora Mallach, co-founder of Ganei Beantown, to discuss how this organization got started, its incredible progress, and where it’s headed!
Almost a year and a half ago, Leora co-founded Ganei Beantown with Becca Weaver with the vision of building a pluralistic Jewish community through hands on agriculture and sustainability education framed within Jewish tradition, history, and culture. Since then, Leora has seen the organization grow exponentially, mainly because she believes, “Boston was and is still really ripe for a Jewish sustainable statement,” which Ganei Beantown is proving to be.
Although still a young organization, Ganei Beantown has proven to be quite a powerful statement in the Jewish community of Boston. They held the first annual Boston Jewish Food Conference this past April that included incredible programming. The one day conference was created with the mission of teaching and learning about how Jewish traditions of dietary laws, agriculture and religion intersect with today’s views on sustainable food policy. Some highlights include a workshop on the ethics of eating from a Jewish perspective and another on food access in the greater Boston area. They are already looking forward to planning next year’s!
And right now, with the help of receiving a mini-grant from Hazon, they are in the process of planning the 2nd annual Sukkot Family Harvest Festival. It will take place October 7th to celebrate the abundance of harvest in the fall with learning, music, and the wonderful community of Boston. This year’s festival will have a strong focus on discussions around water, specifically how the traditional Jewish prayers for rain relate to the terrible drought our world is currently facing.
Leora sees what Hazon does on national level, with our bike rides and food conferences, complimenting well what they are doing on a local level in Boston. With receiving a mini-grant from Hazon, they are excited to continue working on building a strong pluralistic Jewish community in the Boston area and create even stronger programs and events with our support.