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Thursday, June 30, 2022
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Highlighting: “Farmer’s Kitchen: 50 Recipes Celebrating Israel’s Veggies and Their Growers” by Jamie Geller. Independently published. 2022. Hardcover. English. 128 pages. ISBN-13: 979-8829334420.

(Courtesy of Support Our Farmers) Seven-time bestselling cookbook author Jamie Geller is excited to introduce her latest offering, “Farmer’s Kitchen: 50 Recipes Celebrating Israel’s Veggies and their Growers.” The newly released book is currently for sale and will also be gifted to those who donate $180 to Support Our Farmers, a campaign Geller launched in partnership with The Shmitah Fund in December 2021.

“Farmer’s Kitchen” features 10 vegetables common to Israel, along with guides on selecting and storing them. Though it focuses on Middle Eastern cuisine, it also includes flavors from East Asia and Scandinavia. The cookbook spotlights the farmers of Israel by sharing their shmitah stories.

Geller first befriended Israel’s farming families this summer while finding suppliers for her new product line of spices, honey and pilafs, all sourced exclusively from Israel. “I was humbled by the dedication, passion and faith I encountered in these men, women, and even children,” said Geller. “Their deep connection to the Land of Israel, their unquestioning trust in God to take care of them, and their perseverance in a demanding field has changed the way I live my life.”

This September, more than 3,000 Israeli farmers departed their fields to keep the biblical mitzvah of shmitah, or Israel’s septennial “Shabbat for the land.” For the first time in thousands of years, more than 51% of the Jewish-owned private farmland in Israel—a total of 685,576 dunam (about 169,400 acres)—is lying fallow for the shmitah year. While shmitah reminds farmers that their land belongs to God, its significance is not just religious, but also social and environmental.

Farming families face great financial strain when they abandon their fields for a year. They struggle to pay equipment, land and labor expenses. “This year, shmitah-keeping farmers face an extra challenge,” said Rabbi Shia Markowitz, American CEO of Keren Hashviis. Keren Hashviis is the parent organization of The Shmitah Fund. “The global pandemic crippled the tourism and hospitality industry, their main customers—and this year is a Jewish leap year, with an extra month. God promises to reward the farmers’ sacrifices with immeasurable blessing, and this promise includes those who support their superhuman efforts, especially in a year like this one.”

The Shmitah Fund offers these farming families financial assistance, and this year, Geller has partnered with the organization. In addition to creating “Farmer’s Kitchen” for the campaign, Geller has:

pledged this year’s proceeds from her spice line to the cause

offered a host of incentives to donors, including a one-on-one cooking demo

brought a handpicked group of social media influencers to meet a shmitah-keeping farmer, tour her farm, and receive her blessings

traveled throughout Israel filming interviews with shmitah-observant farming families

participated in live and livestreamed events raising funds

“Jamie Geller’s contribution to Keren Hashviis has been invaluable,” said Rabbi Markowitz. “Her commitment to the Jewish people, her global popularity and her marketing expertise make her a perfect ambassador for shmitah.”

“The farmers do the hard part, but the mitzvah of shmitah belongs to the entire Jewish people,” said Geller. “When global Jewry steps in to help Israel’s farmers get through the year, not only do we partner with the farmers in this unique mitzvah; we also show Israel’s farmers that we appreciate their sacrifices to create the bond between us and our Land.”

Learn more about Support Our Farmers: https://campaigns.causematch.com/SupportOurFarmers

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