Cultivating Ourselves and Each Other

October 28, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Posted in adamahniks, pickles | Leave a comment

At ADAMAH of late, we have been steadily transitioning into fall/winter homesteading and projects geared toward the program’s long-term vision. Whereas mere weeks ago we spent the majority of our time harvesting for the White Plains CSA, we are now bottling up kim chi (and soon sauerkraut) that will be consumed mostly this winter and next year, and raking, raking, raking the seemingly endless fall of leaves. Since these projects, exciting as they are, leave us with time in our schedules, as ADAMAH fellows we embarked this week on special fall projects designed to positively enhance the life of the program for years to come.

While more projects will be taken on throughout November and the first half of December, our current endeavors include: building a 100 ft-long hoop-house on our Beebe Hill site for extended growing seasons; digging stone steps into the treacherous slope outside the Center for Cultural Proliferation; reviving a basement nearby the ADAMAH office to serve as indoor space for fellows and apprentices; designing and digging out new beds in the orchard for herbs that will form the base of our new tea business; and putting anti-freeze into the heating tubes of our greenhouse to prolong their life and save us precious time in the spring. Each of these have an idea and plan as to their direction, but as fellows a creative input is being asked of us to bring these conceptual forms to full manifestation.

In general, I find my work at ADAMAH incredibly fulfilling. Whether it be tending to the Sadeh (Shamu or otherwise), pickling our produce, singing together in Avodat Lev or learning about permaculture, Torah, and qualities of leadership under the same sky-lit yurt roof, I daily feel that in one form or another I am doing something positive and healing for myself and for the world. However, there is something particularly empowering about confronting the unknown, taking ownership of a challenge, and engaging with creativity and passion to uncover a solution. It is a reminder here, as we apprentice and learn, that we each have unique gifts to share.

This sense of empowerment – encouraging people to take initiative in creatively shaping the world around them – is, I believe, essential to creating strong, vibrant, sustainable communities. The more each of us knows individually, the greater the gifts we can give, the greater the bounty we can harvest together. If the world is to become a better place – if we as Jews and as human beings are to heal ecologically, emotionally, and spiritually, and grow to embody the dream we have always imagined – we will have to cultivate this type of leadership within ourselves, and help to cultivate it in others.

Throughout its seven years, ADAMAH has been a model case-study in this domain. Fellows have taken the ADAMAH experience and gone on to become founders of organizations, community leaders, and visionaries in the ecological and agricultural world. Beginning on these fall projects, some small in size, others larger, each of us as fellows coming to them with our own experience, strengths, and questions, I am grateful to see myself and my fellow adamahnikim continue in this tradition. It fills me with excitement to have the privilege of growing with them; it is a blessing to be moving with them, and to feel the power of where else, from here, we will go.

Submitted by Gabriel Crane, Fall ADAMAH 2010

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