Judaism in the Garden

We use our Temple Biblical garden as a workshop for Jewish values and to teach sustainability. With a wide variety of hands on activities, we use the garden to illustrate Jewish values, provide materials for Jewish rituals, and tell Jewish stories. As we do this work, we endeavor to model and reinforce the Jewish values for caring for and sustaining the Earth.

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Pico Union Community Engagement

Pico Union Project's compost from our emergency Covid-19 fresh produce distribution. Through our distribution which takes produce that otherwise would have been waste, is distributed to over 1500 families. The food that cannot be distributed goes to our community compost. Our volunteers who are all community members have learned how to compost, which produce and other items can be composted(e.g. toilet paper rolls, paper bags, cardboard) and how to maintain the compost. The compost is then used for our urban/community garden which has nourished the area that had been completed stripped of nutrients to plant trees and vegetation for the community. Creating tree canopy's for the community and herbs/vegetables that is then cooked for community. Our kitchen cooks plant-based meals to low-income individuals and distributes the recipe on how to recreate with produce at our distribution.

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We provide evergreen winter blanket arrangements and summer floral planters on our cemetery plots. We average 13,000 winter blankets and 90,000 floral planters each year. At the end of the winter and fall seasons, we dispose of these items by means of dumpster waste removal. This year, we plan to utilize a composting disposal service to better benefit the environment.

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Seven Year Environmental Justice and Sustainability Plan

We are planning to draw up, revise, and finalize a seven year plan in preparation for the shmita year to begin during the High Holy Days. The plan will start with the BJ Environmental Advocates and involve engagement with the teens, the Executive Director, and Operations team.

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Hallway ‘indoor garden’/hydroponic grow towers

The preschool hallway most likely needs plants that thrive in very very low and indirect light for them to grow successfully. We would like to have plant growing/observation tables where, after kiddos initially pot plants, they can observe and study their continued growth/progress. This way the plants and their care can be continually incorporated into the daily classroom curriculum. -In addition we are in the process of creating an indoor hydroponics garden. In order to have the hydroponic grow towers sent and activate our partnership with Lettuce Grow Farm stands, we need to be able to purchase indoor grow lights to make the veggie tower growing successful. Once the lights have been ordered LG will send us a Farm Stand, plant seedlings/starters for a year and the required nutrients to maintain their continued health.

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Front Lawn Garden Bed

A centered raised garden bed will be a Holocaust Memorial Daffodil Garden in partnership with the Daffodil project. The bed will have formal borders with a dedicated plaque. The number of daffodils will range from 500 - 750. A donor has been found to match and possibly double the daffodil project’s 250 bulb donation. The bed will also include other edible herbs and perennial plants good for pollinators to act as the beginning of a front lawn community garden. There has been a gardener out to survey and we will get a bid and a rendering of the finished project from him as well as a few other companies. We will select the best and most cost competitive. I will put together a presentation for the preschool and congregation families to ask for funding late May - early July. The bed should be built early August so we can begin planting at the end of August/ beginning of October. One idea for fundraising is to offer mini home daffodil kits to families giving at a higher rate. I will also begin calling local businesses for donations for an online preschool auction to run during the fundraising window. All proceeds will benefit the front lawn garden bed and the garden/outdoor projects.

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Preschool outdoor garden

The preschool would like to prepare the outdoor garden for replanting this year. We need to evaluate what worked and what didn’t as well as utilizing labeling and grid planting this year to remain more organized. There should also be more information typed up and posted as to watering amounts and times for different areas of the garden as well as weeding and other care required to teach staff and kiddos how to help the garden thrive. Chore or garden responsibility charts should also be created for each class according to ability level and age. All of the garden projects should be documented through photos and uploaded to social media as well as in google slides titled ‘the garden pt 2’.

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Fruit Trees/Tree project

We would like to see fruit trees planted in front of the preschool/Mizel front lawn wood fence. Possibly an apple, pear or peach tree would be nice. This would be a preschool family/teacher project. It would allow cross pollination with the fruit trees that are already there and be an extention of the outdoor preschool garden.

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Zero Food Waste

We had a caterer facilitate an event on teaching our participants on how to avoid food waste. She was in someone's kitchen and went through their kitchen and pantry and showed how they could re-purpose food into new meal ideas. The idea was to show how to turn leftovers that might otherwise be thrown away into new food ideas.

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