Wednesday, June 23, 2021

A Great Idea: Zumwalt Acres


A friend told me about Zumwalt Acres, an intentional community committed to sustainable agriculture in Illinois. This sounded too awesome to be true and I checked it out. Below are some excerpts from the website:

Zumwalt Acres is a Jewish regenerative agriculture community working to develop a replicable model of ecologically sustainable and socially just land stewardship in Illinois.

Zumwalt Acres is an agroforestry farm practicing methods of agriculture that are regenerative, draw down carbon, and align with Jewish values. It was founded by the youngest generation of the Zumwalt family and their peers in 2020 on land in Sheldon, IL that has been in the Zumwalt family for over 150 years. JR Zumwalt, our farm manager, grew up in our farmhouse. He has long envisioned a more sustainable and diversified system on this land.

We are also inspired by faith-based teachings on land stewardship and ecological values. Spirituality motivates us to infuse our work with care and intentionality, and reminds us of our obligations to future generations who will tend the land after us. Jewish tradition, in particular, will serve as the bedrock of our community, and Zumwalt Acres apprentices today are working to incorporate Jewish mandates such as the periodic fallowing of the land and the dedication of portions of our yield to communities in need into our practice. Our community of apprentices also work to maintain a household grounded in Jewish practices, giving us time to rest on Shabbat and guide reflections on our work through the holiday calendar. We look forward to cultivating an interfaith community that honors the array of traditions, beliefs, and spiritual connection to land that future apprentices may bring.

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