You are here

Temple Israel 'first-year farm' tour set for Sunday

Thursday, July 27, 2017

From Thursday's Recorder; article by Richie Davis, photo by Paul Franz

In the beginning, there was the garden.

This Sunday, as part of the beginning of its "Superbia" project with neighbors in the larger community, Temple Israel will have a tour of gardens around the community from 4 to 7 p.m.

The seed for this was planted at a series of community meetings last winter to gauge interest among neighbors of the Pierce Street synagogue about finding on (sic) ways to build local connections in "a neighborhood re-design for growing community and resilience."

A tour to share ideas based on what people in the neighborhood are already doing would be a good way to start, Rabbi Andrea Cohen-Kiener figured, especially it would be a way for people to get to know one other (sic) better.

About 20 people -- including some synagogue members and some neighbors -- have already signed up for a tour of the backyard "first-year farm" inspired by the project. Those taking the tour will also see a raised-bed garden that a neighbor arranged with her landlord, a garden surrounded by beanpoles, the start of an "edible forest" permaculture garden and one with an extensive water retrieval system.

Plans call for the tour to end at an informal community garden including chickens, a greenhouse, and orchard, where the group will share a potluck dinner.

The Superbia project has also spawned a gleaning effort where people have worked with an area farm to collect "what's basically gone weedy when the farmers have gone off to harvest in a different patch."

With half a dozen volunteers collecting about 100 pounds of food "waste," according to the ancient biblical principle of setting aside a portion of the overall crop for the needy, gleaners donated about 70 pounds of food to the Center for self-Reliance and Oak Courts and also made two gallons of borsht from beets for the synagogue pantry, Cohen-Kiener said.

The project has also begun working with the Pleasant Street community garden, which has regrouped during construction of a new Greenfield Senior Center, in hopes of building a collaboration that may lead to a second garden tour and potentially a search for additional plots where gardeners could work together, Cohen-Kiener said.

People are asked to RSVP for the tour, which is open to anyone interested and begins at 4 at Temple Israel, by writing to [email protected].