Peah Garden. Peah refers to the corners of the fields that were not harvested by the owner of the field. Instead, the produce of these corners were left for the stranger, the widow and the orphan. (Leviticus 19) There is a whole classification of produce: peah, leket, shichach – the corners of the field, the produce that does not fall and the produce left behind that the Torah and later Jewish law declares to be for those in need. These values mirror stories both in Judaism and beyond that all we grow in our garden is not our possession. Just like we borrow the earth from God or we seek to be partners in creation, these mitzvot and stories remind us that our garden experience flourishes when it always has a component of sharing, giving back or paying forward. A Peah garden is a “food justice” garden. Many communities grow vegetables to be donated to local food pantries and food banks. We can consider Jewish values of sharing our food with those in need. As we care for this garden, we wrestle with what we need as opposed to what we want. We have opportunities to understand sustenance instead of excess. We can find ways of paying our labor and blessings forward. This type of garden can also be paired with participation with a CSA, community supported agriculture.
At Temple Beth Shalom we create and care for a Garden (of Eden) inspired by the flora and agriculture of the Land of Israel and the Hebrew Bible whose produce, beauty and spaces will enhance the celebration and observance of holy moments and holidays and help us connect with experiences of our ancestors and the stories and values of Torah.
There will soon be a link to the website dedicated to Gardening with Jewish Values.