11 Oct 2020
Committed to honoring the ancient Jewish tradition of regenerative agriculture, Briarcliff Manor’s Congregation Sons of Israel (CSI) established a community organic farm seven years ago, successfully bringing together congregants of all ages.
On any given day, depending on season and weather, you might find a gathering of nursery school children visiting baby chicks in the recently constructed chicken coop and then, perhaps, collecting newly laid eggs from mature hens in the old chicken coop. A group of religious school students could be observed planting daffodils in the garden, part of a worldwide Daffodil Project in memory of children who died in the Holocaust and in support of all children in humanitarian crises today.
Older and wiser congregants may be busy in the kitchen: washing, weighing, and packaging vegetables and herbs which were harvested earlier in the day by moms, dads, and singles with stronger backs and hardier knees. Teens interning under the farm manager are learning about planting, nurturing, growing crops and understanding where and how the food they eat originates.
Over 3,200 pounds of fruits, vegetables and herbs were produced at the farm in 2019. Of these, more than 600 pounds were donated to food banks in neighboring communities. Thankfully, the good work continues this year.
Congregation members are encouraged to work on their own garden beds in addition to the farm. Those with stamina join the gardening gurus to assist with weeding and harvesting chores. Flower arranging, assemblage and delivery of food baskets for new synagogue members, new parents, sick congregants and grieving families, as well as the creation of centerpieces for luncheons and parties, are all tasks taken on by the older members.
The farm has become a center of interaction among the generations, a way for the young, the old and the middles to meet each other as they all work toward a common goal. And what could be more delicious than a meal made up of fresh organic fruits, vegetables, eggs and herbs?