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Adam Berman founded Urban Adamah in 2010 and currently serves as its Executive Director. From 2002 – 2009, Adam served as the Executive Director of the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in the Connecticut Berkshires. While at Isabella Freedman, Adam founded ADAMAH: The Jewish Environmental Fellowship, a three month leadership training program for Jewish young adults that integrates Jewish learning and living with sustainable agriculture, green living skills, teaching and contemplative spiritual practice. He also served as the program’s first Director. At Isabella Freedman, Adam also co-founded the Jewish Greening Fellowship (JGF), an intensive 18-month Fellowship program for Jewish professionals from twenty different New York Jewish summer camps and community centers. The JGF is working to reduce the carbon footprints of Jewish communal agencies and place environmental stewardship high on the agenda of every agency that participates. For three years (1996-1999), Adam served as the Director of the Teva Learning Alliance, the leading Jewish environmental education program in the United States.
Currently, Adam serves on the Board of Directors of the David Brower Center, Wilderness Torah, the Jewish Federation of the East Bay, and on Advisory Boards for the Teva Learning Center and Adamah. He teaches widely on issues related to Judaism, ecology and civic leadership. Adam holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of California at Berkeley and a B.A. in Environmental Policy from Brown University.
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Ash sees herself helping to create a more sustainable food system for our planet. Her introduction to this field began in 2007 during a Green Apprenticeship on Kibbutz Lotan in Israel and has taken her across the globe to farms in Hawaii and eventually to this landing spot in Berkeley. Ash was a fellow at Urban Adamah during the fall of 2011 and went on to become one of the founding members and Business Manager of Urban Worm, Urban Adamah’s worm composting project. Having graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 2008 with degrees in geography, economics and business, Ash combines her greater passion for justice with her agricultural knowledge and business sense to not only keep Urban Adamah’s books balanced but expand its reach and ability to make a difference.
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After a year of volunteer service at Urban Adamah, Alena grew into a new role as the Farm Apprentice. Prior to arriving at Urban Adamah, Alena worked as a mental health counselor with an emphasis in ecotherapy, which blends traditional therapy with the healing power of the natural world. Alena holds a BA in Psychology, an MA in Counseling Psychology, and a certificate in Horticultural Therapy. She is currently pursing a PhD in East-West Psychology; her dissertation examines the psychospiritual dimensions of urban farming.
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Zachary is passionate about working toward creating a more equitable and sustainable food system. After completing his B.S. in Chemistry at Tufts University, Zachary worked as a chemist before moving to New York City to teach middle school science in East Harlem. He moved to California in the fall of 2012 to attend the Urban Adamah Fellowship, after which he worked at Green String Farm where he learned regenerative farming methods. At heart, Zachary is a camp counselor. He grew up attending YMCA Camp Coniston in New Hampshire for 14 years, serving as the camp’s Program Director during his last two summers. Zachary is excited to combine his enthusiasm for education and local food systems here at Urban Adamah. When not on the farm Zachary can be found tending to his community garden plot and exploring the limits of personal homesteading projects.
Sarah teaches the ten week core urban agriculture course to all Urban Adamah fellowship cohorts. In addition to her role as Urban Adamah’s Senior Farm Educator, Sarah also works at City Slicker Farms where she supervises the construction of gardens in pre-schools throughout Alameda County. She is also a garden and nutrition educator at Bay Farm Elementary School, where she created and teaches a garden-based curriculum to 4th and 5th graders. Sarah has a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Environmental Studies from Oberlin College and a master’s degree in Culture, Ecology, and Sustainable Community with a concentration in Ecological Agriculture from New College of California. Sarah also holds a Certificate of Herbal Medicine from the California School of Herbal Studies and a Certificate of Permaculture Design from New College of California. She brings to her work a passion for gardens as tools for individual and community health, connection and well-being.
Aquaponics Manager and Educator
Nathan manages the aquaponic system and associated programs on the Urban Adamah farm. Born and raised in the Bay Area, he earned a B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and a B.A. in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Cruz. Prior to his work in aquaponics, Nathan studied the physiological structure and function of albino redwoods. Since catching the aquaponic bug back in 2010, he has interned and worked on several aquaponic farms and education centers throughout Northern CA. Nathan came to Urban Adamah as a fellow in the Spring of 2013, and is captivated by the intersection of community, ecology and technology. Now as a member of the staff, he experiments with space conservative agro-ecosystems in order to develop environmentally sustainable and equitable methods of food production for urban areas.
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Rebecca joined our team in the spring of 2012, and is responsible for fellowship logistics, public program coordination and alumni relations. Rebecca has a stubborn fascination with food and culture, justice, farmers, hunger, climate change, race, class, gender, rural communities and cities. She has worked on farms in Washington and New York, has served as a community organizer for Food and Water Watch in Los Angeles and has worked in fundraising at Columbia/Barnard Hillel. She graduated with a B.A. in English from Barnard College in 2009. Rebecca was an Urban Adamah fellow in the fall of 2011.
Office and Special Programs Manager
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Kat received a BA in Religious Studies in 2010 from Virginia Commonwealth University. During her studies she completed an in-depth research project investigating the negative health consequences of industrialized agriculture and the role of globalization in expanding these methods. Spurned into action by all she had learned, after graduation Kat began an 18-month sustainable agriculture and leadership-development program with the Allegheny Mountain School in Virginia. Through this fellowship, Kat came to work with Urban Adamah and after joining on as a fulltime staff member, she is enthralled to continue nurturing her new Bay Area roots. When she is not thinking about the joys of healthful eating, Kat enjoys writing and performing music, salsa dancing, traveling to foreign locations, forming connections with those around her, and delving into life through both the unexpected and extraordinary.
Senior Farm Educator/Hebrew School on the Farm Director
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Ariela grew up in Mexico City with no opportunity for formal Jewish education and somehow made her way in life as a Jewish environmental and experiential educator. Her passion for living on the Earth as a Jew has been nurtured through years of personal study and work in the community. After completing her B.A.in Education from Brown University, she spent a year in Israel learning Torah and other traditional texts. Her favorite learning there was through the Eco-Activist Beit Midrash in Jerusalem, where she got to focus on texts relevant to ecology and earth-based Judaism. After working for the Teva Learning Center as a Jewish environmental educator, she settled in the Bay Area and has taken on diverse educational projects, including Camp Tawonga, Chochmat HaLev’s religious school, and Gan Shalom Preschool in Berkeley. She is the program founder of “B’Hootz,” Wilderness Torah’s year-round children’s program, and most recently served as Education Director for Edah, an innovative out-of-school, Jewish experiential learning program that includes an after-school program, camps, and family learning. She is also a Kevah teaching fellow and is participating in the Torah Trek program.
Willow Rosenthal grew up in West Sonoma County, where she began her love of farming by planting an annual veggie garden with her Dad. Since moving to the Bay Area in 1997, she has worked to strengthen local economies and improve community food access with a variety of organizations including the Women’s Initiative for Self Employment; Food First; the Organic Consumers Association; Berkeley Region Exchange and Development; and The West Oakland Neighborhood Improvement Initiative. In 2000 Willow founded City Slicker Farms, in order to increase access to fresh produce for low-income residents in her West Oakland neighborhood. She has partnered with Slow Food USA on the Victory Garden at San Francisco City Hall, and with the US Department of Labor on the urban farm at the Treasure Island Job Corps Center. She and Novella Carpenter are co-authors of The Essential Urban Farmer (Penguin Press, 2011). She holds a BA in International Studies from the University of Oregon, and is a certified Waldorf teacher. Willow is excited to now bring an understanding of human development to farm and garden education at Urban Adamah. She lives in Berkeley with her husband where they tend a very, very small veggie garden of their own.
Prior to his arrival at Urban Adamah in the spring of 2011, Casey Yurow spent time as the farm program director at Eden Village Camp — a new pluralistic environmental Jewish sleep-away camp in Putnam Valley, New York (2010). From 2007-2009, Casey served as the education director at the Kayam Farm at Pearlstone in rural Maryland. While at Kayam, Casey helped to create several innovative projects including a farm semester for an interfaith group of Baltimore-area homeschooling families and an intergenerational Beit Midrash shabbaton to explore primary sources for sustainability and social justice in Jewish agriculture. From 2005-2007, Casey worked as the program coordinator at the Teva Learning Center. Casey has led alternative break trips for the Jewish Farm School as well as a month-long backpacking trip for teens on the Israel trail with Derech HaTeva (SPNI). He studied for two years in yeshiva in Israel and received a B.Sc in Environmental Science and Policy from the University of Maryland. Casey is thrilled to bring his experience in farm and garden-based education, as well as his love of music, fermentation and community to the Bay Area.