Urban Adamah privately slaughtered 15 chickens that were scheduled to be killed as part of a public kosher slaughter workshop on May 4 that was canceled after community outcry.
Adam Berman, executive director of the Berkeley farm and education center, disclosed the news in an email to J. this week.
The chickens, which were no longer laying eggs, were killed by a shochet (kosher slaughterer) in two sessions attended by staff members and Urban Adamah fellows. Eight chickens were slaughtered on May 14 and the remainder on May 20.
“Unfortunately, we were unable, due to time limitations, to process all of the chickens on [May 14],” Berman wrote in an email. “The remaining few were killed by staff, with the support of our fellows, on Tuesday afternoon, May 20 All of our chickens were treated with utmost kindness and care during their lifetimes and killed in the most thoughtful and humane way we know possible.”
The meat was used in chicken soup and served at Urban Adamah’s weekly free farm stand on May 21. The stand usually gives away produce grown on the Berkeley farm.
In August of 2012, I ran one of my first kosher slaughter workshops at the Urban Adamah educational farm in Berkeley. I explained the kosher process and demonstrated live slaughter and processing on a few of their spent laying hens. Several participants cried during the slaughter and while some were inspired to eat better meat, others said they wanted to become vegetarians or vegans as a result of the experience. The class not only facilitated a tremendous amount of dialogue, growth and learning for all involved, it also provided a highly nutritious and tasty heritage chicken soup for farm visitors.
This past Sunday, Urban Adamah had once again set up a workshop where they were slated to slaughter the remaining 15 hens of their laying flock. Things were going very smoothly until animal rights activists found out about the event and began to organize a mass protest. Their aggressive tactics and serious threats eventually caused the farm’s landlord to request a cancellation and despite holding strong until that point, farm founder Adam Berman was forced to scrub the workshop in the face of the large and disruptive demonstration.
This past December, an opportunity involving fish and plants swam into my life. At work, I was tasked with finding answers to the question: “Could aquaponics viably produce healthy organic produce faster and more efficiently than conventional soil- growing?” In seeking to answer that question, I became part of the small but growing world of Aquaponic farming. That’s aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (growing plants in water, rather than soil) combined. Individuals who farm aquaponically are usually experienced with either aquaculture or hydroponics, and are drawn toward aquaponics for the added benefits that flow from marrying the two. Over the past six months, I have embarked on quite a journey–I’ve met inspiringly innovative individuals, I have grown to understand fish needs, and I’ve learned way more Chemistry than I bargained for.
I’m blessed to work at a glorious place called Urban Adamah, a nonprofit Jewish farm & education center in Berkeley, CA, where I have quickly become an aquaponic farmer. Though currently, I’m working on living up to the title. Rising Tide Aquaponics installed our beautiful system, and now I have the privilege of managing it. I’m finding that there is quite a learning curve when one begins farming aquaponically. I haven’t yet developed an eye for when spraying worm casting tea on the leaves could boost plant health, or the knack to know when adding chelated Iron might provide necessary nutrition. My mentor has a background in ecology and evolutionary biology, and it sure shows. This, however, is not to say that aquaponics requires a specific degree. The technique is fairly straightforward; training, research, and an experimental approach will suffice to equip one with the tools to become an aquapon.
Headed to the Super Bowl this weekend? We’re jealous! While you’re there, check out the giant kosher tailgate party being hosted by Chabad. [Chabad.org]
Downtown Manhattan just got a little slice of Israel. A new Aroma Espresso bar opened near Wall Street (and the Forward!). [Midtown Lunch]
Adam Berman, founder of Urban Adamah chats about Jewish farming. [Grist]
Food in Art: the Jewish Museum looks at the artistic side of Tu B’Shvat, from the 1940s to the present. [Jewish Museum Blog]
Many people believe that there is no place better to live than a big city, but Adam Berman, Executive Director of Urban Adamah in Berkeley, California, thinks so for different reasons than most. Following his dream to take Adamah: The Jewish Environmental Fellowship “to the next level,” Berman has gathered a dozen like-minded young fellows to help him get the first independent Jewish community urban farm off the ground — literally.
Berman, who founded Adamah in 2003, during his seven years directing the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Connecticut, felt it was important to establish a farming and social justice fellowship in an inner-city setting, where more people would have access to the farm’s produce and programs. The fellows, too, would have greater and more direct access to social justice initiatives addressing what Berman refers to as the “dysfunctional ago-economic system” and related issues of poverty and food security.
(Watch the video below, in which Urban Adamah fellows show how to grow food in an urban area.)