The J Community Garden’s mission statement is to build a healthy, vibrant, and sustainable Jewish community by engaging with urban farming, food justice, environmental education, and outdoor activity. The J Community Garden is located at 3600 Dutchmans Lane on property owned by the Jewish Community of Louisville, which includes the Louisville Jewish Community Center.
The Jewish Outdoor, Food, and Environmental Education (JOFEE) program promotes Jewish approaches to stewardship, community engagement, and our richly complex relationship with the natural world. JOFEE provides new and diverse opportunities for JCL veterans and newcomers of all ages and backgrounds by piloting new programs and events; partnering with other JCL programs; connecting with a larger network of organizations working on similar issues throughout both Louisville and the Jewish world; and engaging participants’ sense of curiosity, consciousness, and gratitude.
Expanding the garden will diversify what is planted there, including a greater variety of vegetables, fruit trees, perennials, pollinator attracting plants, and cover crops. The greater variety will increase the J Community Garden’s educational capacity through instructing program participants about holistic approaches to agriculture and land management.
Individuals involved in the J Community Garden benefit from education about seasonality, empowerment to grow their own garden, social interaction (including intergenerational interaction), leadership opportunities, and the ability to take home fresh produce. The garden also serves as a programming and education resource for a variety of J programs. Early Learning Center students, summer camp participants, Fresh Stop Market visitors, and many others have the opportunity to visit the garden for one-time programs and informal tours, allowing people to learn about the garden even if they are not regular volunteers. In addition to volunteers and program partners who spend time there, the J Community Garden benefits individuals who are not directly involved by providing fresh produce for the Jewish Family and Career Services food pantry and the J’s senior adult lunch program, which together receive the majority of the produce grown in the garden.