Photo by Jerusalem-based photographer Sharon Gabay.

Highlights of 2016 at Leichtag Commons (So Far)

So much has happened in the first 6 months of 2016 at Leichtag Commons. We’ve hosted international conferences, dinners, art exhibitions, and of course Coastal Roots Farm has hosted volunteer experiences, educational experiences, and more.

Here’s a quick recap of some of the great convenings, events, and programs we’ve hosted (in chronological order).


The 2nd Jewish Community Farmer Convening

Planting trees with Jewish community farmers from around the world.

Many different Jewish farms from around the world came to Leichtag Commons for the second year in a row to advance the field of Jewish community farming. Yes, there is a Jewish Farmers Movement!

Jewish Community Farmers are growing in numbers!

Rekindle: A Shabbat Studio

Scenes from Rekindle: A Shabbat Studio.

With our partners at Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, we created “‪#‎Rekindle‬: A Shabbat Studio” to bring together a community of Shabbat innovators from around the world. Our North County hub members joined in to build relationships, share best practices, and connect around inventive Shabbat approaches rooted in playful exploration and joy. Read more.

Rekindle was created and facilitated by Alison Laichter and Josh Feldman.

Food Forest Festival celebrating Tu B’Shevat

A view from above.

Coastal Roots Farm kicked off 2016 with a Tu B’Shevat inspired Food Forest Festival. 200 local volunteers came and planted 1,200 trees and participated in environmental education programs. More photos.

The future food forest. 200 volunteers planted 1,200 trees of 50 fruit bearing varieties for a Tu B’Shevat inspired Food Forest Festival.
Our dedicated volunteers are an amazing team!

Urban Land Institute awards Leichtag Commons and Coastal Roots Farm

We won the Healthy Places Award for Urban Agriculture from ULI San Diego-Tijuana. Read more!

Art Installation

Israeli artist and TED Fellow Raffael Lomas installed a series of wheels on display

Raffael sculpting a new work.

Israeli artist and TED fellow Raffael Lomas has been sculpting agricultural wheels for many years — and during a visit to Leichtag Commons he discovered the same style of wheels on the vintage tractors found here on the property. Installing his Wheels series was a natural fit. Just as he is reimagining old agricultural wheels, we hope to do the same with agriculture.

Raffael preparing sculptures for installation.
Raffael creates these sculptures by only cutting and bending. By using the limitations of the wheels, he sees the wheels have infinite possibilities.

Raffael also used his time here to work on a longstanding project involving South Sudanese refugee communities. We hope to exhibit his project later this year!

Introducing new friends to Raffael’s work and studio.
Harvesting strawberries at Coastal Roots Farm for a lunch together.

Coastal Roots Farm Volunteer Days

Coastal Roots Farm has volunteer days two days a week and dedicated volunteers from our community assist our team with harvesting and keeping the farm looking fresh. Thank you volunteers!

Molly and Ross from our Farm team help out our volunteers. Volunteer days are Sundays at 2pm–4pm and Tuesdays at 8am-10am.

Creative Shabbat

Un/Masked: A Meditative Purim Shabbat

The Center for Jewish Culture hosts a “Creative Shabbat” series, fusing educational cultural experiences with fun Shabbat dinners. For Purim, the evening led by Alison Laichter featured face-painting, Purim games, a meditation on masks, and a reading of the Purim story with grogger noise-making iPhone apps.

Alison Laichter leads a drink meditation for a Shabbat Kiddush blessing.
Lighting candles on the Farm House patio.

Jewish Funders Network: Opening Reception

This April we hosted the opening reception of Jewish Funders Network annual conference here in Encinitas, CA, and it was a night to remember! Thank you to everyone who traveled to be here, including The Jerusalem Biennale for Contemporary Jewish Art. More photos are on Facebook.

Watch the full highlight real of JFN’s opening night reception at Leichtag Commons.
The Jerusalem Biennale exhibition in the Farm House.
Farmer D, our Director of Agricultural Innovation and Development, leads a Coastal Roots Farm tour at JFN 2016.

Hosting Jerusalem’s Creative Class

We hosted a dinner on April 5th to introduce guests of Jewish Funders Network’s ‪#‎JFN2016‬ to Jerusalem’s “Creative Class.” The evening brought together the social entrepreneurs, activists, artists, and even Mayor Nir Barkat of Jerusalem to showcase all the creativity and talent that’s making Jerusalem a vibrant city in the 21st century.

Jerusalem grantees helping out in the kitchen.

It was especially fun for us to see our Jerusalem grantees teaming up together to prepare some dishes in our Farm House kitchen with Jerusalem’s acclaimed Chef Hedai Ofaim.

Jerusalem social entrepreneurs and activists spoke to JFN 2016 attendees for this memorable evening celebrating the creative work being done in the city.
Acclaimed Jerusalem Chef Hedai Ofaim is all over the kitchen!

Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans (PANA) Releases its 2016 Report

The PANA report explored San Diego’s refugees’ experience with housing, health, jobs and education.

How are refugees resettled in San Diego? And how can it be improved? That is the theme of the Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans (PANA) 2016 Report, which highlights research addressing the many issues refugees face in our region. Ramla Sahid, Executive Director of PANA, also leads our Syrian Refugee Initiative as the Foundation’s Senior Refugee Advisor. Read KPBS’s coverage and the report here.


The Gefilteria’s “Jewish Culinary” Residency

Bringing old world Jewish cuisine to North County.

Over the course of 3 weeks, Jeffrey Yoskowitz and Liz Alpern of Brooklyn-based “The Gefilteria” hosted educational programs, dinners, and experiences centered around Ashkenazi food, reaching 350 North County community members. They used their time here to prepare for their upcoming book release The Gefilte Manifesto: New Recipes for Old World Jewish Foods, and to draw inspiration from Coastal Roots Farm and our North County Hub community.

Gefilte fish has never looked this good.

This residency was made possible by the Schusterman Foundation’s Grassroots Initiative, OneTable, and Center for Jewish Culture.

140 people attended “Creative Shabbat: Delancey Street West” which paid homage to the kosher “dairy restaurants” of New York’s Lower East Side, like the famous Ratner’s, which are now vanished aspects of New York’s culinary history.
Jeffrey Yoskowitz sharing stories of old world Jewish cuisine.
Liz Alpern teaching an Ashkenazi cooking class at The Spice Way.
Dairy preservation class for Shavuot for the North County Hub.
Lighting candles for Shabbat.
Coastal Roots Farm team members celebrating after growing, harvesting, and supplying the produce served in this unique dinner.

Farm & Hangout returns!

Coastal Roots Farm began its monthly summer gatherings this June. The fun continues Thursday July 21st at 4:30pm-7:30pm.

Bring a chair, bring a blanket, and come hangout!

Farm Stand Opens

Coastal Roots’ Farm Stand is now open for business on Thursdays, 3–7pm. Pick up fresh, local and seasonal produce grown using organic and biodynamic practices. The Farm Stand accepts EBT/SNAP.

Our Jerusalem grantee C.A.T.A.M.O.N. dance group visiting the Farm Stand before a performance at New Village Arts Theatre in Carlsbad.

And 2016 is only halfway through!

From all of us at Leichtag Foundation and Coastal Roots Farm, thank you to everyone who volunteered, participated, traveled, and celebrated with us.

To learn about upcoming Coastal Roots Farm events, make sure to sign up for its newsletter.

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