Seeds of Opportunity: A National Study of Immersive Jewish Outdoor, Food, and Environmental Education (JOFEE)
March 10th, 2014
Over the past decade, observers of Jewish education have seen a growing interest in experiences that integrate Jewish learning with outdoor, food, and environmental issues. Local, regional and national philanthropists and practitioners have invested time and resources to develop innovative learning opportunities that address these issues, including new initiatives and organizations, some of which have expanded their reach globally.
Seeds of Opportunity: A National Study of Immersive Jewish Outdoor, Food, and Environmental Education (JOFEE) is the the first-ever national survey on JOFEE. The report, released by the Jim Joseph Foundation, Leichtag Foundation, The Morningstar Foundation, Rose Community Foundation, Schusterman Family Foundation, UJA-Federation of New York, and Hazon, examines the history, programs, professionals, and participants that comprise JOFEE experiences.The report was funded to learn more about the emerging field and the potential to create and support more Jewish learning experiences. Examples of the vast array of JOFEE experiences include Jewish farming programs, wilderness celebrations of Jewish holidays, multi-day Jewish bike rides, and a sustainable food tour of Israel.
The study, written by Informing Change, interviewed approximately 40 stakeholders, including JOFEE program directors and educators, rabbis, funders, entrepreneurs, community organizers, thought leaders and Jewish education leaders. Two focus groups in Colorado and four focus groups in New York garnered additional qualitative data, while a survey of 800 individuals over the age of 18 who had participated in immersive JOFEE programs provided quantitative data.