You can grow your own food. And we can help!

JCA Garden & Sustainability Initiative

Our full project includes design phases over several years with elements such as wetland rehabilitation, creation of outdoor prayer and classroom spaces, expansion of our gardens and food production, and installation of solar panels and a rainwater collection system. Our community of over 430 households explores environmental themes, values and practices through a variety of educational programs and workshops for families, teens, adults, religious school and summer camp. These initiatives are part of an ongoing process in our synagogue with three central goals:

1) To articulate our ecological identity and vision as a Jewish community;

2) To integrate sustainability technology that will enhance our synagogue community as well as the larger surrounding communities;

3) To inspire other community groups to take environmental actions that benefit people and inspire ecological stewardship while enhancing community identity and cohesion.

The specific aspect of our project that we are seeking funding for here is the construction of a large arbor that will serve three functions: creation of shade for both people and shade-loving plants, an outdoor space for learning and prayer, and a trellis for vining plants such as hardy kiwis and grapes. During our community Mitzvah Day in May, an intergenerational work crew will erect the structure as well as prepare stumps from fallen trees on our property for seating under the arbor. We intend to build the arbor with black locust wood. Black locust is an invasive species and its spread is problematic in many regions. At the same time, black locust is beautiful, incredibly rot resistant and long lasting, which means it does not require any chemical treatments and it uses fewer resources than many other types of building materials over the long term. It grows very commonly in our region and is readily available as lumber through a local business. 

Where it's at:

Jewish Community of Amherst
742 Main St.
Amherst, MA 01002
United States

Garden type:

community garden

Garden size (in square feet):


Garden beneficiaries:

people of all ages from infants to elders including college students, families and disabled people, plus the flora and fauna of the ecosystem the garden is part of and food insecure people

Number of people reached:

1 000

What this project needs:

expert technical assistance
fruit bushes
fruit trees
irrigation system
outdoor oven

Project leaders:

Cara Michelle Silverberg
Bob Winston

About us:

KGI is a nonprofit community of over 30,000 people who are growing some of our own food and helping others to do the same.  

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Contact us:

Kitchen Gardeners International
3 Powderhorn Drive,
Scarborough, ME, 04074, USA
(207) 956-0606