We spoke with Shamu Fenyvesi Sadeh, co-founder and director of Adamah: The Jewish Farming Fellowship, a three-month leadership training program for Jewish adults ages 20-32 that integrates organic agriculture, farm-to-table living, Jewish learning, community building, and spiritual practice. Shamu teaches Judaism and ecology, turns the compost piles, maintains the orchards, and supervises and mentors staff and Adamah Fellows. His wife Jaimie and kids Yonah, Ibby and Lev keep the bees, help harvest and pickle, and DJ staff dance parties.
Shamu has helped to shape and nurture a new generation of Jewish farmers and has been a mentor and friend to Shoresh’s Risa and Sabrina. Read on to see what he’s most excited about these days.
As someone who has been working for more than a decade in the field of Jewish community farming, what keeps you going? Why do you do this work?
What a mechaya to grow food together, watch the sunset, share shabbat, chant ‘modeh ani’, and create new understandings of our relationship with the land. I feed off of the diversity and integration of the farm work, Jewish life, teaching and mentoring, and spiritual practice.
How has the Jewish community farming field changed since you started Adamah in 2004?
Farming and food are much more in the public imagination now. Our alumni (like Sabrina and Risa!) have started farms and programs of their own. The small handful of folks in the field in 2004 could not imgaine the complexity and creativity of the conversations around shmitah, animal care, pollinators or kashrut that are happening in dozens of communities today.
Given that Risa and Sabrina are both Adamah alumni, what about Shoresh makes you kvell? What are you most excited about for your Jewish farming family in Canada?
I love hearing about your attention to conversations about diaspora, women and the land, and ecological restoration. You are not only running educational gardens but carefully planning a large farm and forest!
What are your long-term plans for Adamah?
We plan to acquire more land to farm, redesign parts of the current farm to better teach about Judaism and sustainability, and to participate in the work to restore the Isabella Freedman Campus. Most importantly we will to continue to support young people in the Adamah Fellowship to integrate the soil and soul!