Congregation Kol Ami is proud to offer a Jewish Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, the first in our region and now one of five in the region aligned with Hazon, a national non-profit that links Jewish tradition with environmental action. Through its CSA network, Hazon is using Jewish purchasing power to support local organic farmers, foster vibrant Jewish communities who care about environmental and educational issues, and examine food and environmental issues from a Jewish perspective.
Since launching in 2007, the CSA at Kol Ami operates from May through December. Our CSA is comprised of members from the local community. We gather each week to share recipes and catch up with friends and neighbors as we pick up fresh, locally grown, organic vegetables, fruit, eggs, cheese and herbal medicines.
Our CSA donates any unclaimed produce to the Mitzvah Food Pantry at Beth Sholom Congregation in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania.
A CSA is a direct partnership between consumers and farmers. Subscribing members pay the farmers before the growing season, which gives the farmers financial security, a direct market for their goods and a fair wage for their produce, helping sustain family farms and preserve local farmland. In return, the farmers provide a weekly share of fresh organic produce.
The Hazon CSA at Kol Ami partners with over 100 Amish and Mennonite organic farmers from Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative (LFFC). The diversity of crops among LFFC farmers ensures a good variety of fresh-picked seasonal produce each week. With CSA member support, Lancaster Farm Fresh has grown from 20 farms to over 100 in the last 10 years!
The amount of produce delivered each week varies with the season. Click here to view a sample share. To learn more about the Hazon CSA at Kol Ami, visit http//www.lancasterfarmfresh.com. Choose PA: Kol Ami Hazon as your pick-up location in Elkins Park.
Each winter, the Hazon CSA at Kol Ami hosts a creative Tu B’Shvat Seder at the synagogue. This evocative evening brings together a diversity of people to eat, learn and pray. The entire feast is hand-prepared by members of our CSA and is free to CSA members and open to the public for a nominal charge..
Modern life brings us the bounty of distant farms, but it is Sukkot that asks us to consider our connection to the land and those who conserve and protect it. Each Sukkot we travel to a Lancaster Farm to meet the farm family and see the harvest in person. We share a pot-luck lunch, and learn about each others cultures.
As Rabbi Holin said, “Offering prayers in the Sukkah constructed by our members on the farmer’s land speaks to us about our mutual desire to sustain faith and the environment. It is a wonderful way to celebrate Shabbat, making us keenly aware that ‘the earth is the Lord’s.’ (Psalm 24:1)”