ADAMAH’s newest home

February 6, 2009 at 12:30 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

By: Shamu (fearless leader/ program director)

Are you going to stop farming in the sadeh now that you have Beebe Hill?
Have you gotten the town to officially change the name to Bubbe Hill?
Can we cut through the woods across from the Adamah House to get to the new farm?

The before picture

The before picture

Is permaculture something nice Jewish boys, girls and squers can do?

These queries and more I have received on the new land that we are blessed with. The Kaplan Family Farm is 15 acres on Beebe Hill across from the entrance to Freedman that we aqcuired, thanks to a very generous donation, a little over one year ago. We took last spring and summer to assess and design the new farm. Megan and Anna measured slopes, Shir Yaakov and Josh researched soils, Aviv, Abby and others tackled water flow. What is the character of this land? What are its limitations? The second set of questions involved our goals- educational and agricultural/financial. How can we inspire and educate visitors to the farm (Freedman’s 8,000 yearly guests) and produce food to generate income to support 2-3 well-paid Adamah staff positions? Dave Jacke, permaculturalist, designer and teacher extraordinaire (author of Edible Forest Gardens) lead us through the design process, focusing on the 5 acres closest to Freedman. Adina and Jeff, Sabrina, Jason Kass, Seth Shames and others joined us last spring for a 4 day permaculture retreat with Dave in which we designed a 1/2 acre educational garden of Eden where Beebe and Johnson Road meet.

Half Acre Garden of Eden design

Half Acre Garden of Eden design

The full design includes a future barn, bees (Jaimie just ordered them!), orchards, row crops, kiwis, mushroom garden, blueberry and rasberries, possible goat dairy, and a composting area.

Fall 2008 building perennial beds

Fall 2008 building perennial beds

Since then many Adamahniks have cut brush, planted and harvested cabbage, sheet mulched and prep small garden beds, and prepared 540 feet of 8′ wide blueberry beds. The beautiful gateway was built by local Dave Miner and the tiles by Emmett Leader, artist and Adamah ally from Northampton.

This spring Adamah Alumni will come and install irrigation, plant 150 blueberry bushes, 30 fruit trees, asparagus, etc… We hope to start a flock of laying hens who will feed on our food waste (a trick we learned from Vermont Composting Company) and plant strawberries as well.
The Hebrew on the gateway tiles reads “And God saw that it was good.” Creation is fundamentally good. Not just because it looks nice or feels good but because the goodness, rightness, fittedness is built into the evolution of the world. In permaculture we are striving to imitate the natural goodness in the way we gather food and fuel. As Jews we give thanks, again and again, for the blessing to work and guard this good land.



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  1. Two permaculture projects of which you should be aware:

    One in Jerusalem:

    And on, on land this Jew owns, in San Francisco:

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