It was an unusually chilly, grey afternoon in September. However, the students from Temple Beth David in Westwood were ready to go, rain or shine! Students were dressed in rain boots and jackets, ready to take on the challenge of an afternoon on the farm. “Even if it’s raining, you still have to put your time in here,” farmer Judy told the students as it started to drizzle. Farmers do not have the luxury to wait for a dry day to harvest crops. When the crops are ready, they need to be picked, or else they spoil in the field.
Judy is the head farmer at the Brookwood Community Farm, a B’nai TELEM service partner with two locations in Canton and Milton. The Brookwood Community Farm is a certified organic CSA (short for Community Supported Agriculture) where people directly purchase shares of the farm’s harvest. They also donate 10% of their harvest to local homeless shelters and soup kitchens. “It’s important that everyone is able to have access to fresh, healthy produce,” Judy says.
The students spent their time picking late season tomatoes, and breaking down areas of the farm that have finished being harvested. Everyone was energized despite the weather conditions, even when it started to drizzle a bit harder. By the end of the day, the students had picked enough tomatoes for the CSA pick-up that coming week. “This was fun! I feel like I really helped,“observed one very satisfied B’nai TELEM student.
On a farm in another part of Greater Boston, students from Kesher Community Hebrew School picked an assortment of peppers for donation to a local soup kitchen. The Waltham Fields Community Farm has become a staple in the community, educating people about the importance of locally produced food. “Educating volunteers is important too,” say Jericho Bicknell, the Education and Outreach Coordinator at the farm. Jericho shared with the students some simple things they could do to live more sustainably such as purchasing locally grown food or turning the water off while brushing their teeth.
Students raced up and down the rows of vegetables, filling their buckets as fast as they could. They enjoyed themselves so much, they barely noticed the five giant buckets of peppers they filled up. As students prepared to leave the farm, Jericho reminded them, “The work you are doing is so important, people at the soup kitchens in Waltham really depend on our food.” By picking those buckets of peppers, the B’nai TELEM students also helped bring nutritious and wholesome food to those who cannot afford to buy it on their own.