Jewish Outdoor, Food, Farming & Environmental Education
JOFEE stands for Jewish Outdoor, Food, Farming & Environmental Education. JOFEE experiences connect people to Judaism, community, and the natural world. JOFEE programs engage participants of many different ages, Jewish backgrounds, and religious approaches. Tens of thousands of people engage in JOFEE activities every year, from learning about Jewish harvest rituals to starting a CSA. Combining methods from existing secular models with Jewish learning, wisdom and traditions, JOFEE programs create entry points to Jewish life and social action.
The number of people participating in JOFEE activities is growing explosively, from about 2,500 in 2012 to more than 6,000 participants, in hundreds of multi-day programs across the country, in 2015. From children at Teva to teenagers at Ramah Outdoors, from young adults teaching at Eden Village to families celebrating Passover at Isabella Freedman, JOFEE now has an impact on Jewish people of all ages and stages of life.
If you're a practitioner – a Jewish food activist, a Jewish environmental educator, a Jewish outdoor leader – consider yourself well within the overall JOFEE field, and use this page to learn about the many opportunities available within the JOFEE field.
How can I support the field?
Investments of many different sizes in the field can make an important contribution in helping to expand Jewish life and learning through JOFEE, especially to people who have previously been disconnected from Jewish life. You can promote JOFEE approaches with existing local, regional, national or international grantees, as well as in new grantmaking. In addition to working with individual JOFEE programs, there is field-wide work that needs ongoing support for the field to grow:
Support professional development, to build the capacity JOFEE programs need to reach their potential
Build on promising business models in which participant pay to participate, and look for ways to support financial sustainability
Strengthen the network of JOFEE participants and professionals
Support research on JOFEE work, including areas like programmatic return on investment and the overall impact of JOFEE programs on Jewish communities.
Support market research to help us learn about the needs, interests, and constraints of JOFEE participants and potential participants.
The JOFEE Fellowship
The JOFEE Fellowship seeks to invigorate the Jewish educational landscape by seeding Jewish communities with a cadre of outstanding Jewish Outdoor, Food, Farming and Environmental Educators.
JOFEE Fellows will work to effect change in local institutions and communities by organizing and running JOFEE programs that focus on education, action, and engagement.
Applications for the first cohort are now closed. If you are an institution interested in hosting a Fellow, or an individual interested in joining our second cohort, email firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to being in touch!
The JOFEE Network Gathering
The JOFEE Network Gathering is for JOFEE educators and professionals, Jewish communal professionals, lay leaders, and others looking to further develop their knowledge and expertise in Jewish Outdoor, Food, Farming & Environmental Education (JOFEE).
Stay tuned for more information about the 2017 Gathering!
During the inaugural Gathering, which took place June 6-9, 2016, participants representing a broad variety of organizations and backgrounds, from farmers to educators to executive directors, came together to learn and vision at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center.
What could a Jewish community that values JOFEE look like?
It would include some (or all) of the following:
In fall 2012, a collection of Jewish funders collaborated with Hazon to conduct the first national research study on experiences that integrate Jewish outdoor, food, farming & environmental education (JOFEE), focusing on immersive JOFEE programs lasting four days or longer. The Improve Group and Informing Change gathered and analyzed data to explore JOFEE programs, participants, and professionals. On March 10, 2014, Seeds of Opportunity: A National Study of Immersive Jewish Outdoor, Food, and Environmental Education (JOFEE) was released.We’re grateful to the Advisory Group for their guidance throughout this research project:
People who participate in immersive JOFEE experiences report increased their involvement with the Jewish community. Their energy and skill helps make them leaders and enrich their communities’ Jewish life.