Risa Alyson Cooper
Risa is an ardent educator, environmentalist, and urban homesteader! She completed her B.A. Honours at Queen’s University in Comparative Religious Studies, and her M.A. at the Centre for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto, focusing on Contemporary Jewish Environmental Ethics. Upon graduating, Risa moved to rural Connecticut where she worked as a Jewish environmental educator at the Teva Learning Centre for three years. She then transitioned into small-scale organic farming as a member of the Adamah Jewish Farming Fellowship where she grew vegetables on a four-acre farm, worked in a raw goat-milk dairy, and dabbled in the art of fermentation. In 2008, Risa returned to her native Toronto to work as the Director of Shoresh and to establish the Kavanah Garden, bringing together her experience in Jewish outdoor education with her love for Canadian soil and the plants and people that it sustains. In 2010, Risa was profiled as a Woman to Watch by PresenTense Magazine and in 2012 she was honoured to be selected as a fellow in the prestigious Joshua Venture Group Dual Investment Fellowship. In 2013, shortly following the birth of her daughter Ayda, Risa was awarded the Covenant Foundation’s Pomegranate Prize for exceptionalism in Jewish Education. Risa believes that growing food sustainably is an expression of her deeply-rooted Jewish ethics. Her favourite vegetable is the beet.
Director of Engagement
Sabrina began working with Shoresh in 2011 after spending six years working and volunteering in the Jewish Food Movement in New York and Israel. She participated in the Adamah Jewish Farming Fellowship in 2005, graduated from the Eco-Activist Beit Midrash in Jerusalem in 2006, and worked as the program assistant for Hazon from 2006-2007. Upon returning to Toronto, Sabrina got an M.A in Environmental Studies from York University with a focus on pollinator protection in urban centres. In 2010, Sabrina was awarded the Canadian Pollinator Advocacy Award from the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign, and in 2014 she was selected to participate in TENT: Food NYC, a week-long program exploring food and Jewish culture in New York City. Sabrina is Shoresh’s resident beekeeper and her favourite vegetable is cauliflower.
Beth is an avid environmentalist, outdoor enthusiast, and local food lover who loves connecting people to their environment through experiences in nature. She’s been involved with Shoresh since a summer internship in 2010, has been volunteering ever since, and is thrilled to rejoin the Shoresh team. Her interest in the environment and sustainable agriculture began during her BSc in physical geography at Queen’s University, where she was part of a group of students that established a farmers’ market on the Queen’s campus. Her MA in geography and environmental studies from the University of Toronto focused on the interconnections between water, energy, and food resources. Beth has worked at a number of environmental non-profits and startups, and volunteers as an environmental steward with the City of Toronto and the Toronto Region Conservation Authority. Beth’s favourite vegetable is a tie between romano beans and spaghetti squash.
Josh began volunteering for Shoresh a year ago at Kavanah Garden. He enjoys carpentry and has built numerous projects including cutting boards, trays, a desk and shelving units. As our resident carpenter, Josh has built Shoresh a solar beeswax melter for Bela Farm and the Power of Many board that was used at Taking Root in 2018, among other projects. He is excited to now join the team as Program Associate helping to maintain the garden working alongside the Shoresh community. Josh’s favourite vegetable is the pickle.