Learning Yiddish on the Farm: Raising Zucchini With Language Immersion on the Side

July 27, 2012

Source: The Jewish Daily Forward


Ezra Glinter writes in the Forward about a group of young farmers who are launching Yiddish Farm, a new experiment in Jewish agriculture, in the foothills of the Catskills, some 50 miles northwest of Manhattan. They aim to create both an immersive environment for speaking and learning Yiddish and a model of sustainable agriculture. In this, their first real season, they have attracted a handful of full-time participants to live and work on their property in Goshen, NY for the summer. Yiddish Farm was founded on three principles: to foster unity among Yiddish speakers, to create an expanded role for the Yiddish language and to promote environmentalism through organic agriculture.


Participants at Yiddish Farm change from month to month, or even week to week, paying a $2,400-a-month, or $4,400-a-summer fee.


The farm itself, which is Sabbath observant and kosher, reflects the blend of very progressive and very traditional elements that can be found in the Yiddish community. They prayed the Friday night service in the Ashkenazi fashion, sounding like any small Orthodox synagogue in Brooklyn. But men and women prayed together.


As the farm grows, they hope to become self-sustaining by selling produce at farmers markets and directly to supermarkets and caterers. The farm has already sold some of its first crops to Landau’s Supermarket, in Kiryas Joel, the nearby Satmar town. They also plan to produce packaged goods, like borscht and popcorn, and intend to raise a herd of goats and egg-laying hens.


See the whole article at the Jewish Daily Forward.

Updated: Aug. 07, 2012