It has been 11 years since Red Wagon Farm and Tuv Ha’Aretz formed a partnership thanks to Rabbi Marc, Lisa Bates, and Sandy Cohn. Thank you so much to all of you who have been members in that time! In the first few years of our partnership, Tuv Ha’Aretz members did things like volunteer at our CSA pickups and there was a Tuv Ha’Aretz newsletter that was sent out frequently. There was also a large Tuv Ha’Aretz Core Committee that met monthly. We’re down to 5 members on the Core Committee (me, Beth Ornstein, Becca Gan Levy, Jerry Pinsker, and Monica LaBush) and we only meet 3-4 times each year. There aren’t many official organized activities for Tuv Ha’Aretz members anymore and it might be difficult for people to see tangible benefits of being a Tuv Ha’Aretz member. But the partnership still has tremendous value to me, Wyatt, and Red Wagon Farm!
For starters, 2 of our 4 CSA pickups are at Nevei Kodesh and the Boulder JCC and we are very grateful for the ability to use these spaces. The JCC in particular has been incredibly supportive of our farm and CSA. Jonathan Lev and Cynthia Weinger knew our CSA pickups would be a challenge this year and they offered to host a second pickup day at the JCC if it would help us. Last fall Becca Gan Levy let us have our last pickup of the year in the barn at the JCC to help us get out of the snow!
We have been invited to many events over the years at the JCC, Bonai Shalom, Nevei Kodesh, and Har Hashem to get to know Tuv Ha’Aretz members and build a connection. Among other things, we’ve been to multiple Seders to celebrate Passover and Sukkot and we’ve been invited to participate in the Jewish Food Fest at the JCC. We’ve also hosted Sukkot events for Mazel Tot at our farm.
Each week we have CSA members who miss their pickups and we donate the veggies from these missed shares. For many years, Bob and Ru Wing helped to get these veggies to community members in need. This year we have partnered with Jewish Family Service to fill this role. They send volunteers to our farm each Friday to pickup and distribute these missed shares to community members. There has been an extra need for fresh vegetables during the pandemic and I know the recipients of these vegetables have been especially grateful.
This spring we needed help recruiting new CSA members and Rabbi Marc Soloway wrote a lovely piece that was included in the Boulder Jewish News. The JCC also helped us promote our CSA.
The most important part of the partnership between Red Wagon and Tuv Ha’Aretz has been the connection. We value each and every one of our CSA members, but for the most part we have individual connections with CSA members. Our connection with Tuv Ha’Aretz members is different. It is really valuable for Red Wagon to have the support of a whole community who shares values–even if it is just moral support sometimes! I also know I can reach out to the Tuv Ha’Aretz community if our farm needs anything. There’s also been a personal connection between me and Wyatt and so many of our Tuv Ha’Aretz members and we’ve come to know many of you as friends. I am reminded of this on the weeks that I work at all of our CSA pickups like this last week of our CSA season. I know a lot of people at each of our pickup locations and talk to many people, but I can help Kai out as part of the CSA team. However, Kai knows I’m pretty worthless on Thursdays as a part of our team and that she shouldn’t count on me for much help because I know so many of our Tuv Ha’Aretz members. I don’t get to see you very often so I value having a few minutes to catch up with each of you. Remember that when you see me standing around talking this Thursday!
With warmth and friendship,