Adamah holds dinner in the Edgewood garden

Spring was on its best behavior with a gentle breeze and temps in the high 60s. Rosemary lemon cocktails and mocktails were flowing, served with fresh, herby appetizers. The Edgewood Community Learning Garden was buzzing on March 27 with plant-loving members of Atlanta’s Jewish community. 

In a cooperative fashion, many hands came together to create the food and spirituality retreat. It was led by Adamah ATL Director Joanna Kobylivker, Adamah ATL Community Program Coordinator Amy Price, and Ma’ayan Spiritual Arts Ritualist McKenzie Wren. Gardeners in the group contributed garlic, garlic flowers, herbs, spring onions, and kale. 

“We invite you to feel about plants, rather than think about plants,” Wren said. 

Before sitting down to dinner, the 35 attendees wandered the garden, practiced a meditation of the senses, and sang with Rabbi Ariel Wolpe as she led prayers to bless the fruit of the earth. 

Sephardic chef Susan Barocas served vegetarian and vegan dish after dish as Nina Rubin acted as her line chef. A Washington, D.C. resident, Barocas is the founding director of Savor, a Jewish food and music experience. She brought Sephardic food into the White House as guest chef for three of President Obama’s Passover seders. 

Barocas ran a waste-free kitchen, using as much of each ingredient as possible. For example, the cucumber slice served with beet hummus as an appetizer was hollowed out and used in the tzatziki dressing at dinner. Materials at the event were compostable or reusable.

Dinner dishes included quinoa with chickpeas, aqua faba (chickpea water), dates, green garlic oil, and chives; fennel braised in fennel stock; Kuku or Quajado, a kugel-like dish made from cauliflower, onion, fenugreek, cumin, parsley, dill, cilantro and eggs; a green salad with carrot shavings, seeds, cucumbers, bell peppers, and lettuces; and Shai Lavi’s tahini. The dessert was baklava with local honey and apple crisp.

Barocas pointed out that nearly every dish on the menu was kosher for Passover. 

“Everything here, provided you eat quinoa, it’s all good for Passover,” she said. “The commandment is to taste the matzah, not eat it 24-7.”

Adamah ATL’s mission is to connect people and planet through Jewish environmental education, climate action, and youth empowerment. The organization’s next event is an Earth Day celebration on April 19 at Mason Mill Park in Decatur.

Photo and article by Logan C. Ritchie.