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How 2011 California Ride Fundraising Dollars Are Working for Change

We’re excited to share with you how grant recipients from the 2011 California Ride and Retreat have been making progress towards fulfilling their proposals. Below is a brief reminder of who the organizations are and what they’ve been up to.

7SEEDS Project

Berkeley, CA
The goal of the 7Seeds Project is to relearn the practice of Shmita as a universal guiding principle & healing offering for all peoples. The 7Seeds Project is working to create a contemporary set of tools to celebrate and engage this timeless wisdom as we collectively cultivate an integrative design system that empowers local community, sustainable agriculture & financial equality.

UPDATE:

  • 7Seeds Project has been asking the question: How would we collectively thrive if we designed our agricultural, economic and communal systems inspired by values of the 7-year Shmita cycle.
  • 7Seeds has traveled through California, Oregon & Washington, documenting emerging grassroots designs of neighbors, families and friends coming together, reweaving the cultural fabric of holistic, resilient multi-generational communities.
  • Over the next few months, 7Seeds is in the process of crafting these inspiring resources into a website and instructional manual, which will be available starting this March, at the Kayam Farm-hosted Beit Midrash on Shmita & Society.

EcoJews of the Bay
San Francisco, CA

EcoJews of the Bay works to inspire environmental action through Jewish values.  EcoJews received a mini-grant to work on a community-based greening initiative that would guide Jewish institutions to incorporate concepts such as resource conservation and reduction of toxins into their institutions and practices.

UPDATE:

  • Project is now called The EcoJews TREES Initiative (Torah Repairing the Environment and Educating Stewards)
  • The TREES task force includes environmental experts such as Eric Corey Freed, architect and author of Green Building for Dummies, and Jewish organizational representatives who are excited to share their greening experiences with their peers.
  • EcoJews of the Bay is welcomes anyone who would like to help green Jewish organizations to join the TREES Green Team community or task force.
Milken HS Students

Milken Community High School Students

Milken Community High School
Los Angeles, CA

Milken Community High School received a mini-grant to start and sustain a recycling program at their school as well as implement an education program so that Milken’s students and faculty are aware of the new system and understand why it is essential.

UPDATE:

  • Milken students have implemented a school wide recycling program at Milken Community High School, with identifiable trash cans for bottles, cans and paper.
  • They have already started educating fellow students about environmental awareness and sustainability through various media and print.
  • Milken students are planning to continue to strengthen their recycling program through education and accessibility to recycling containers all over campus.
  • Milken students report that they have started MCHS Urban Farm Cooperative and are building pallet gardens (similar design as Urban Adamah) all over campus patios. This is just the first phase of a five phase project for their school, with the end result having their own CSA on campus and a farm on the roofs of the school. The farm is intended to give context and relevance to Jewish Harvest Holidays and many Jewish values.

Jewish Community High School of the Bay
San Francisco, CA

In 2010, the Jewish Community High School of the Bay established its first organic school garden.  They have connected the garden to secular academic curricula and to all areas of Jewish life.  JCHS strives to engage students, teachers and families in thinking about their food choices and strengthen their connections with nature.  JCHS received a mini-grant to further establish the organic garden at their school as well as related programming.

  • The “Garden Tefillah” Program at JCHS is going strong! This group of sixteen students from different grades meets every morning in the school garden to tend to the plants and also connect to issues of environmental care, food justice and community through a Jewish lens. So far, they have planted winter veggies, harvested and cooked potatoes and shared a variety of berries.
  • The “Environmental & Gardening Va’ad” (environmental club) is planning several work days in the garden. They hope to grow food that can be donated to the local food bank. They will be volunteering at Urban Adamah and taking principles & skills they learn there back to the JCHS garden.
  • Thanks to the grant from Hazon, JCHS hopes to hire a part-time Farm Educator to expand the garden and lead students in workshops.

Urban Adamah
Berkeley, CA

Urban Adamah is a three-month residential leadership-training program for young adults that integrates urban organic farming, social justice work, and progressive Jewish living and learning. Fellows operate an organic farm and educational center in Berkeley, CA, while interning with community-based social justice organizations addressing issues at the intersection of poverty, food security, and environmental stewardship.

  • THE FELLOWSHIP: From June to September 2011, the inaugural summer cohort of fellows experienced our first season of farming and teaching and learning. As of September, our fall fellowship was underway. The fellows have had workshops on everything from Worm Composting and Urban Bee Keeping to Leadership and Pedagogy. Our Spring Fellowship begins in March 2012.
  • SUMMER CAMP and HEBREW SCHOOL ON THE FARM: 1 Summer, 5 Weeks of Camp, 100 Thrilled Families! And since September, Urban Adamah started 2 Hebrew School on the Farm programs, bringing Jewish life, culture, and farming to fifty 2nd thru 4th graders!
  • OUR HARVEST: To date, we have donated over 1000 pounds of freshly harvested vegetables to local clinics and community meals.
  • Learn more about UA’s programs, events, and the Spring Fellowship.

We will post more information as the organizations update us. Interested in cycling in support great organizations like these? Register for the 2012 Hazon California Ride & Retreat.

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