Bela Farm is a centre for sustainable, land-based Judaism located an hour northwest of Toronto in Hillsburgh, Ontario. In partnership with the farm’s owner, Rochelle Rubinstein and her family, Shoresh stewards the land and animates the space through educational programs and various farm ventures. Bela Farm offers deep, immersive opportunities for land-based Jewish learning and living, creating for participants sustained connections with self, community, and the earth. The design, goals and activities of Bela Farm are rooted in Jewish values and practices and open to all.
ADDRESS AND DIRECTIONS:
Bela Farm is located on the Sixth Line in Hillsburgh, Ontario. Since the farm is also a private residence, it is not open for visits outside of scheduled programs. For directions, please call 416-805-8382.
BELA FARM FEATURES:
Bela Farm is a work-in-progress. By 2021, when the next Shmita (Sabbatical) cycle begins, we will have established the following farm spaces at Bela Farm:
- Bela’s Bees Apiary: 30 active bee hives producing honey for Rosh Hashanah and bees wax for Shabbat, Havdallah, and Chanukah candles! Click here to sponsor a bee hive!
- Reforestation Project: 20 acres of reforested property! Click here to sponsor a native tree sapling!
- Perennial Zone: 20 acres of fruit and nut trees, berry bushes, and native pollinator attractants. Click here to sponsor a tree, berry bush, or native wildflowers!
- Educational Garden Spaces: Various garden spaces with annual vegetables, medicinal and culinary herbs, and perennials such as garlic and rhubarb!
- Educational Programming Space: Including communal gathering spaces as well as various residential spaces.
- Outdoor Kitchen and Cob Oven: For making matzah with our own locally grown wheat!
By 2021, we will have a full line of Bela Farm products available for purchase including:
- Beeswax Candles
- Herbal teas
Help support the growth of Bela Farm by making a tribute donation today!
Through its landscape design, public programs, products, and working process, Bela Farm will model new ways of approaching longstanding Jewish and global concerns. As Jews have throughout history, we emphasize the Jewish laws and ethical principles that help us to respond to the pressing problems of our time.
Healing the Earth / Healing Ourselves:
Bela Farm offers a new interpretation of tikkun olam for the twenty-first century. Using permaculture principles, we observe, respect, and encourage what grows in the particular soil and climate of our farm. We aim to nourish and heal the land and in turn reap sustenance for our bodies, minds, and souls and those of our larger community.
Bela Farm offers a new perspective on diaspora Jewish life in our contemporary context. In the face of climate change, we recognize that all parts of creation are fundamentally interconnected and interdependent. Bela Farm celebrates both the productive potential of wandering and the urgent importance of connecting to the land on which we live.
Holy Land / Sacred Table:
Activities at Bela Farm model the organic connection between environmental ethics and the ways in which we grow, prepare, eat and share our food. We explore biblical agricultural laws, unearthing ancient wisdom we can use to develop innovative twenty-first century farming practices and a land-based approach to tzedakah. We produce food that is kosher, in the fullest meaning of this term.
Nature Time / Jewish Time:
At Bela Farm, we attend closely to the intersections between Jewish time – Shabbat, Rosh Chodesh, the holiday calendar – and “nature” time. We plant both annual and perennial crops, animate our holiday rituals by recognizing their connections to the seasons and the land, and celebrate the phases of the moon and the sun. Along with Jews around the world, we are working to restore the ancient cycle of shmitah (sabbatical) as a model for sustainable attitudes toward land-use and economy.
At Bela Farm, we believe in the power of the shared meal. We aim to educate, nourish, and inspire a broad and inclusive community and to foster an effective multi-faith environmental and social justice movement. We encourage visitors and participants from diverse Jewish and non-Jewish backgrounds, consciously designing our programs to offer multiple ways of encountering both the land and Jewish values and practices.
Land Acknowledgement – Where are We?
Bela Farm is situated on the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee, the Ojibway/Chipewa, and the Anishinabek.
Bela Farm is located within the area of the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, an agreement between peoples in the Great Lakes region to peaceably share and care for the natural resources.
In line with this vision of communal responsibility to each other and all of nature, Shoresh exists to nurture a regional Jewish community that sees environmental ethics as a core element of Jewish identity, and is actively committed to responsible stewardship of the earth.
Bela Farm is situated on the border between two watersheds: the Credit River Watershed, which flows into lake Ontario, and the Grand River Watershed, which flows into lake Erie.