JFarm UMD: A Jewish Green Initiative

Mission:
JFarm UMD aims to inspire Jewish students to change the world through environmental sustainability. It fosters a culture of environmental education, creativity, and activism within the university’s Jewish communities by raising awareness of the synergy between environmentalism and Judaism and promoting green living and healthy choices for the body and the world.

Founded in 2009, it has created an organic and sustainable garden on Hillel property and transformed the front yard into a zone of education, community, tranquility, and sustainability. Through hands-on work, JFarm has taught students how to garden and live sustainably. It also gives back to its community by donating the majority of its harvest to the local Family Crisis Center.

About us:
JFarm is expanding its reach to make its garden a centerpiece of environmental education, creativity, and activism. It seeks to partner with other Jewish organizations around campus to give them an opportunity to garden, while learning about topics such as sustainable living, the connection between Judaism and environmentalism, and social justice. This will not only connect these groups to Judaism and environmentalism, but will make Hillel’s outside spaces more accessible to a wider variety of students. It will also help foster a larger community of environmental activism and social justice among Jewish students.

In addition to increased educational outreach, JFarm is also increasing its presence as an advocate for sustainability across the campus and the community. It will engage with other facilities that want to start their own gardens; it is currently working with Chabad, the Family Crisis Center, and groups of students in off-campus housing on this initiative, and welcomes more interested partners. It will continue to encourage Hillel to become more environmentally sustainable, including continuing and expanding its compost initiative.