Planting A Seed

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Young Jewish adults unite to help Keep Growing Detroit.

More than 60 young adults met at the Repair the World Workshop in Detroit on Thursday, March 12, for Seeds, Snacks & Six Packs, an event held in partnership with Federation’s NEXTGen Detroit and Repair the World Detroit.

The event, which was the first in a series of events planned by the new NEXTGen Volunteers Committee, was an opportunity for attendees to pack seeds for Keep Growing Detroit and learn about the Jewish community’s involvement in the city’s urban garden movement.

Keep Growing Detroit is a nonprofit organization that offers programs, educational opportunities and services to promote food sovereignty in the city of Detroit. The seeds packed at the event will be distributed to local gardeners and farmers throughout Detroit as they prepare for this year’s growing season.

“I was so happy to see so many groups of young people come to our workshop in Southwest Detroit,” said Abby Rubin, Repair the World Detroit fellow. “The turnout and the energy made it clear that service is important to this community, and I was thrilled that we were able to facilitate an event like this.”

According to Sarah Snider, NEXTGen Detroit community outreach associate and lead staff for the event, “NEXTGen Detroit has been so fortunate to be able to work with fantastic community partners to build up our volunteer programming. We are especially grateful to Repair the World for partnering with us on this event as well as our upcoming Do it For Detroit: Food Justice micro-grant event in conjunction with Yad Ezra on May 27.”

Representatives from the Downtown Synagogue and Chabad of Greater Downtown Detroit spoke to attendees about their community gardens and how the seeds provided by Keep Growing Detroit help them to not only grow fruits and vegetables but also grow connections and create opportunities for people to get involved in their community.

“Many of our members tap into their Judaism through the growing process. There’s nothing more Jewish than watching the seeds you plant become nourishment for the mind, body and spirit,” said Anna Kohn, program director of the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue. “Creating these gardens is a community effort, and Keep Growing Detroit has been a valuable resource for places like the Downtown Synagogue, Eden Gardens Farms and Chabad of Greater Downtown Detroit as we all work to bring growing opportunities to our community members.”

Also in attendance were the residents of the Motor City Moishe House, the Ramah Fellows and a large group of Detroit Community Birthright alumni, illustrating the collaborative and supportive nature of the young Jewish community in Detroit.

“This was a great kickoff event for us. The turnout was more than we’d hoped for, and many of the volunteers were new faces to NEXTGen events,” said Seth Fisher, NEXTGen volunteers chair.

“Several people shared with me that they were particularly impressed by the organization and collaboration, and they appreciated the fun, social atmosphere. Most importantly, we did some good, and we know this is the first of many events that will give our NEXTGen community the opportunity to do good and have fun doing it.”

By Becky Hurvitz, Special to the Jewish News

Volunteers pack seeds in the Repair the World Workshop.
City Director of Repair the World Detroit Ben Falik shows a group of volunteers the art of seed packing.
Ramah Fellow Darrien Sherman and Moishe House residents Jordan Rosenbaum and Josh Stewart
Repair the World Fellow Abby Rubin and NEXTGen Detroit board member Rabbi Ariana Silverman
Alumni from NEXTGen’s most recent Detroit Community Birthright trip
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