Kavanah Garden 2011: A Visual Tour

2011 was an epic and fantastic year at the Kavanah Garden! Over 100 volunteers contributed over 1260 hours this season to help plant, maintain and harvest the garden. Over 2600 individuals participated in Kavanah Garden programs (such as school programs, weekly family-drop in programs, community events) and other Shoresh programs. We harvested and donated 500 lbs of Kavanah Garden vegetables to tzedakah plus 2500 lbs from The Cutting Veg CSA. We created this blog posting as a visual and chronological tribute to an incredible season at our beloved garden.


We got a new sign and we love it!

Our awesome interns: Bronwyn and Jenny.

Yoga session during our Jewish Environmental Educators Training.

We planted in our wheelchair accessible beds.

We built 18 new raised beds.

Little ones planting seeds.


A young farmer discovers a worm. Did you know that earthworms are not native to North America?

Summer chilling in the garden during Kavanah Kids Camp.

We love and know our farmer, Daniel Hoffman who blesses us with a fresh, weekly harvest at the Tikkun Adamah CSA from the Cutting Veg.

The Kavanah Kids are catching some shade under the bridge and over the river.

We built a bicycle blender and made smoothies all summer long!

Reading time in the garden is fun!

Yoga + Camp + The Kavanah Garden = AWESOME

Kavanah Kids Camp Graduation! Mazel Tov!


City Councillor James Pasternak acknowledged the work we are doing at the Kavanah Garden at the City of Toronto Council Chambers!

Fall harvest at the Tikkun Adamah CSA. Yummy.

Our Sababa Scavenger Hunt at our annual Harvest Festival.

Awesome kids from our School Programs help us close up the garden for the season.

Snail discoveries.

Risa Alyson Cooper, Director of Shoresh, prepping students for an epic Fall garden clean up.

The last planting for 2011-our beloved garlic from our friends at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center and The Cutting Veg's Global Garlic Project.

Earth-based Teshuvah

Hashivenu, hashivenu Adonai elecha. Venashuva venashuva. Hadesh Hadesh yamenu ke ke dem.

Turn thou us unto thee, Hashem and we shall be turned. Renew our days as of old.

We spent Thanksgiving Monday exploring, playing and planting at Shoresh's Bela Farm, a rural centre for sustainable, land-based Judaism in Southern Ontario.

Bela Farm

This year, Thanksgiving occured just after Yom Kippur and right before Sukkot. It seemed like the perfect time to have our first community event at the Farm.

Jewish tradition teaches us that the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the most potent days for us to make teshuvah, to return to G-d. While at Bela Farm last week, I realized that through this amazing project, our community could return to G-d, to our roots and to Jewish tradition through the connecting with the Earth. Imagine Shabbat on the farm with beeswax candles from our hives! Imagine celebrating a wedding or Bar Mitzvah outside! imagine immersing in our spring-fed pond as a mikvah?

The Synagogue

It seemed auspicious to me that our first community event at the farm occurred immeditely after the days tof teshuvah and right before the harvest festival of Sukkot.

Envisioning the Possibilities

May Bela Farm grow and evolve to be a central gathering place that provides our community with 365 days of opportunities to make teshuvah, to return to days of old as well as a centre where we can harvest the fruits of our tradition and the fruits of our labour.


Shoresh goes to City Hall

Shoresh staff were invited to a Council Chambers meeting this morning by Councillor James Pasternak. Councillor Pasternak acknowledged the important work that we are doing in the community and congratulated us on being awarded an Earth Day Canada Environment Grant.

Sabrina Malach, Risa Alyson Cooper and Councillor James Pasternak

Today was a fascinating day to be at City Hall as City Councillors reviewed what core services would be cut later in the day. There were moments of tension and heated debate and it was very clear that the day's decisions would be difficult.

With the Toronto Environment Office and Riverdale Farm being on the cutting block, it is important for us to re-examine our relationship to the political process and become active citizens in the political process. At the very least, we should be conscious of the fact that policy affects food security. Regardless of where you stand on the spectrum, we invite you to take a moment to VOTE on Food and Farming here.

Shana tova! May it be good and sweet.

Party Time

In honour of our last day at Baycrest, we had a party. Here are photos from our celebration:

Frida's herbal brooch.

Rosemary's herbal corsage.

A gift from Baycrest for the Kavanah Garden.

We are grateful!

Queen wave.

A proud pickle maker and owner.

New friends

Shoresh's gift to Baycrest

I love my pickled beans!

Shoresh + Baycrest = True Love

Precious Pickling

Last week, we organized a pickling workshop with our friends and Baycrest. We harvested cucumbers from Baycrest's container garden and brought in beans from a local market. We all had a fabulous time and are excited to eat the pickled goods in two weeks at our end of season party.

The beans!

The cucumbers from our very own container garden.

The Garlic!

The Dill!

Filling the jars with beans, dill and pickling spices!

Tasting our fresh cukes!

Morris's beatiful jar of dilly beans.

Our not-so-secret recipe.

Morris the bean-master.

Oh my garden goodness!

Zucchinis! Tomatoes! Cucumbers! Oh my! The Kavanah Garden is thriving thanks to all of the many hands and hearts that have helped it grow and flourish.

Harvesting monster zucchinis for tzedakah.

Big zucchinis are fun to play with!

Art in the Garden

Our grape vines are happy! Only 1-2 more years until we can harvest them!
Harvesting our first batch of Kohlrabi for tzedakah

Weighing our cucumber harvest. Can you guess how many pounds?

Enjoying a wild black raspberry smoothies made on our very own bicycle powered blender.

Music in the garden at our Free Family Drop-In Program courtesy of Rythmic By Nature.

Making fresh mint tea in our solar oven at our July Family Festival

Black Raspberry harvest

Bicycle-powered blender at our July Family Festival!

Yoga courtesy of Marni Levitt at our July Family Festival.

Kavanah Kids are officially Shomrei Adamah (stewards of the Earth)!

Some of our 10 varieties of heirloom tomatoes. YUMMY.

Black-eyed Susans in our native pollinator garden.

Sampling garlic scape pesto at the Tikkun Adamah CSA.

Kavanah Garden Goodness

Kohlrabi in the Daled bed.