A recently released mini-film titled “With Heart and Soil, Nourishing Community from the Ground Up,” highlights the faith-based values and organic farming practices at Coastal Roots Farm in Encinitas, California. The film showcases key elements of the farm’s regenerative, organic farming, Jewish foundation, and the impact it has had on the land and the community.
Coastal Roots was established in 2014. Since then, the staff has run a hunger relief program and a pay-what-you-can farm stand for residents in need. They also provide local Holocaust survivors with food donations at home and a connection to their Jewish heritage. The docu-style film gives viewers detailed insight into the 18,144 kilogram (4000 pound) annual donation of the farm’s harvest to senior citizens, low income seniors, and other vulnerable populations.
The film shows the stories of patrons from varying backgrounds who have joined the Coastal Roots community. At its center, this mini-film advocates for the unity and education of all people.
Families of all faiths and backgrounds join in Jewish cultural celebrations and gatherings at Coastal Roots, learning to appreciate the land and the work done on the farm. This holistic farming approach is founded in the ten ancient Jewish traditions that guide the farm’s progress.
Kesha Dorsey Spoor, Director of Philanthropy, Program Strategy, and Communications at Coastal Roots, tells Food Tank “Jewish values such as Peah (lining the corners of one’s field for those in need) and Ma’aser (reserving a percentage of one’s produce for the poor) are foundational to our Organic Food Distribution Program which reduces food insecurity by serving as a critical access point to nutrition for 30,000 individuals each year.”
The farmers also practice Kayamit (ecological sustainability) and Shmita (honoring natural cycles of the earth) to shape farming practices. “We use and believe in regenerative and organic farming practices that emphasize soil health, which is critical not just to grow great food but also to mitigate the impact of climate change,” Spoor tells Food Tank.
The mini-film educates viewers on the factors that contribute to the farm’s diverse crop output and overall farm health. Ellie Honan, Coastal Roots’ Farm Production Manager, tells Food Tank, “To rest and rejuvenate our soils, we move our mobile chicken coops through each production field and the food forest to help protect the soil as well.” She and other staff members are interviewed in the film, teaching viewers about the farm’s growing property and discussing agricultural techniques.
Honan explains that many of their practices are not new. “Rather, they are techniques used by Indigenous communities in many parts of the world, that have been overshadowed by conventional agriculture in recent years,” she says.
“We hope to educate and inspire others to take actions that will sustain the food system we so deeply rely on and to share our appreciation for the natural world.” Spoor tells Food Tank.