Our Urban Homesteading Workshops combine experiential skill building with Jewish traditions and context. While gaining insight and resources in self-sufficiency around food and agriculture, we align the programing with the Jewish calendar and holiday cycle, as well as our local New England climate and culture.
Ganei Beantown educators are available to customize programming for your community. Below is a sample of potential programs, which vary in length based on content. Please be in touch to craft high quality programs that meet the needs of your community.
Fermenting the Omer
This session combines Text study of the Omer and learning the ancient art of home-brewing in the modern kitchen. Starting the second day of Passover we count the 50 days of the Omer, following the barley harvest until Shavuot. The Omer was a sacrifice of barley that was made brought in the times of the temple. Barley, lacking adequate levels of gluten to make bread, is often utilized to brew beer.
Do-it-yourself skill: Brewing beer
Timeline: Pesach to Shavuot (or for Purim, or for a local celebration like Temple Sinai, Marblehead did)
Bread for the Earth, Bread for the People, Option 1
In this session, we will explore food justice issues rooted in Jewish tradition. Can the laws of Peah (marking the corners of fields for the poor to harvest) help inform US food aid policy to increase domestic food security for low income members of our community?
Timeline: None, although ties in nicely to Shavuot, the festival of the grain harvest
Bread for the Earth, Bread for the People, Option 2
Farmer’s of ancient Israel had a variety of ways in which they would separate out their harvest to designate some for the poor and needy (Peah, Leket, Shechicha). Both planned and unplanned giving characterize their expectations. This session explores how we can learn from this tradition when making our own choices about tzedakah.
Do-it-yourself skill: Any baking such as: pita, challah, utilizing local grains, vegan or gluten free, rugelach
Cheese-making workshop: Preparing for revelation
Learn a basic farmers cheese, as well as the ins and outs of curds and way.
Timeline: Shavuot, a dairy holiday
Gluten Free Challah Baking
What makes challah challah? Can it be made with any grain? Does the number of braids matter? How many loaves should one have? Come learn-by-doing the basics of gluten free challah baking. We’ll delve into our dough, kneading and snacking as we go. As the dough is rising, we will consider what makes challah so special and unique as well as what blessings are to be said over the beauty of Shabbos and its bread.
Timeline: Anytime (Shabbat comes every week!)
Spring into Sprouting
Jewish tradition has a rich variety of perspectives on birth, renewal and growth. This session will study some of these ideas and we’ll implement such growth through learning sprouting techniques.
Do-it-yourself skill: Learning to sprout in a jar, Herbs in your windowsill, starting seeds in your garden
Timeline for herbs: Springtime
Timeline for sprouts: None
Preserving our First Fruits
Come learn the laws and customs of Bikkurim as well as modern methods of preservation, including making jam with seasonal produce. The laws around Bikkurim command us to bring our first fruits of our harvest to the temple to be consumed during pilgrimage holidays. Not all fruits would last until those holidays, so preservation methods were necessary.
Do-it-yourself skill: Picking, Sauerkraut, Yogurt, Jam
Timeline: Strawberry jam- end of June/beginning of July
Sauerkraut- Year round
Pickles- End of June until mid-August
Wild Edibles and the 7th year
If every seven years we are commanded to observe a Shmita, a year without planting, a year of rest and rejuvenation, what might our options be? Implementing and observing Shmita requires preparation and community engagement. We’ll study ideas and practices of Shmita combined with learning to identify and eat what grows around us as we continue in the cycle.
Do-it-yourself skill: Wild edibles walk
Timeline: May to October
Healing our Whole Selves
Come learn to make natural skin salve using garden herbs and weeds and study how Judaism understands the healing process. Judaism holds the belief that all of the earth is made with divine Wisdom. As we approach the High Holidays, the Days of Awe, we are healing our whole selves: our bodies, relationships, and the world at large. A holistic approach to healing includes our mental, spiritual and social beings as connected to our physical health.
Do-it-yourself skill: Herbal Salves, Soap making
Timeline: Pre-High Holidays
Fair Trade Chocolate
We’ll explore the chocolate making process, from bean to bar, and how we can observe the holiday in a way that provides freedom for others and dedicate ourselves to fair treatment and trade.
Do-it-yourself skill: Rudimentary chocolate making
Timeline: Passover, Chanukah, Halloween… anytime you eat chocolate!
Wisdom and Worms: The Torah of Composting
Come explore Jewish and environmental texts about this amazing and transformative process. We will learn all about the carbon, nitrogen, worms and humus of composting as well as how to begin or improve a home compost system.
Timeline: Spring to Fall