Meet the New Stewards of the Kavanah Garden

In order to create a resilient ecosystem, organisms must adapt to change.  If we don’t learn to adapt, we stop growing because we get stuck in the past.
In 2008 Risa Alyson Cooper had a vision: develop a thriving Jewish educational garden at the new Lebovic Jewish Community Campus in Vaughan where community members could engage in hands-on activities to spark their connection to the earth and Jewish tradition. With support from the community, UJA Federation and countless funders, her vision was manifested and the Kavanah Garden was created.
For more than a decade the Shoresh family stewarded and nurtured the garden welcoming in thousands of people, pollinators and plants. We nurtured nature and created life, beauty and community through our work. Inspired by the Torah and our ancestors, we actualized our role as humans to tend the gardn, to “guard it and keep it.”
וַיִּקַּ֛ח יְהֹוָ֥ה אֱלֹהִ֖ים אֶת־הָֽאָדָ֑ם וַיַּנִּחֵ֣הוּ בְגַן־עֵ֔דֶן לְעׇבְדָ֖הּ וּלְשׇׁמְרָֽהּ׃
God יהוה settled the Human in the garden of Eden, to till it and tend it.
Genesis 2:15
With time, the Campus changed and the local demographics changed and so Shoresh adapted and has changed. In 2021, we formed a partnership agreement with York Region Food Network (YRFN) and transferred stewardship of the garden to them.  Shoresh will continue to have access to the site for nature-based Jewish programming, and YRFN will take over community-based food programming.  While we feel a little sad to be lessening our connection to the Kavanah Garden, we feel humbled and honoured by the connections we built there and grateful and excited that this partnership will ensure the Kavanah Garden is maximizing its impact in terms of food access and nature-based programming for the Vaughan community.
To celebrate our accomplishments, check out our photo album of some of the sweetest moments at the Kavanah Garden.
May we all continue to adapt to the change in ways that benefit all of life.
© 2018 Shoresh.