JCC to host ecology, food and permaculture panel, July 19

Jacqui Childs teaches early childhood students at the Jewish educational garden. Photo courtesy of Asheville JCC

Asheville Jewish Community Center will host a panel discussion on Sunday, July 19, from 4-6:30 p.m. focused on educating the public on Jewish values that encourage environmental stewardship.

The panel entitled, “Ecology, Food and Permaculture in the Living Jewish Landscape,”will feature representatives of Jewish institutions in Asheville.

The panelist for the evening include, Lael Gray, executive director of the JCC;  Zev Friedman, permaculture designer; Jacqui Childs, garden specialist for JCC; and Rabbi Justin Goldstein of Congregation Beth Israel.

Topics addressed by the panelist will include permaculture and the living Jewish landscape, community gardens and Jewish education through gardening.

The discussion will highlight current projects and programs within the community, as well as the future of Jewish engagement with the environment in Asheville.  The panel will also serve as a forum for any interested community members to explore how traditional Jewish customs and values support modern eco-conscious lifestyles.

“So many Jewish traditions, holidays and festivals are informed by and celebrate agricultural cycles,” Gray explains. “Our industrialized lifestyle has forced us to become very disconnected from these basic human experiences. I hope that people will be inspired to learn more about how to express their Jewishness — or any faith — through a connection to nature.”

Childs adds that the attendees will walk away with “a sense of the connection between Judaism and modern environmentalism and ways to engage their families either privately or through their communities.”

According to Friedman, the panel is design to “renew our awareness of the ancient basis that Jewish culture has in ecology and sustainable farming cycles, and explore how our local Jewish community can partner with other groups for local earth healing endeavors and institutional scale urban permaculture.”

The Asheville Jewish Community Center is located at 236 Charlotte St. There is no cost to attend the event.

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About Josh O'Conner
Josh O’Conner is an urban/land use planner with a passion for urban agriculture. He can be reached at @kalepiracy or @joshoconner on Twitter or e-mailed at josh.oconner@gmail.com.

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