ENCINITAS — Hundreds of community members flocked to Coastal Roots Farm on Sunday in Encinitas to celebrate Tu BiShvat — the Jewish New Year of the Trees — with nature-focused activities, organic food, music, and education around giving back to the land.
Sunday’s event marked the 8th annual celebration of the holiday, which is essentially a Jewish Earth Day, Coastal Roots communications director Kesha Dorsey Spoor said.
“This holiday is really about the trees, but it’s become this global appreciation,” Spoor said. “There is something magical; there is some faith in that.”
Coastal Roots Farm, a nonprofit Jewish community farm and education center founded in 2015, is located on 17 acres off Saxony Road, part of the larger 67-acre Leichtag Commons property. The land consists of vegetable fields, an educational farm and gardens, chickens, a “food forest,” and compost operations.
Spoor said that the farm currently produces 80,000 pounds of food annually, nearly double that of eight years ago when it was founded.
While community members often engage with Coastal Roots at its bi-weekly farm stand near the property entrance, the Tu BiShvat festival provided folks the rare opportunity to see the farm itself, from its rows of crops to the chicken coop.
Booths on the grounds also offered organic produce, lemon balm tea, and activities like dyeing fabric with natural dyes, identifying local plants and yoga. Attendees could also take a tour of the farm’s food forest.
“In the time that I’ve been here, this feels like one of the highest attendances that we’ve had. So it’s been really nice to see the community come back out for this event and get really excited about seeing the farm,” said community gardener Virginia Fall, who led the natural dye activity.
Coastal Roots Farm also partnered with local food vendors and hard kombucha company Local Roots, which uses farm ingredients in some of their beverages, for the event.
For those who have seen the farm grow from its infancy, the event is also a chance to celebrate how far its operation has come. Daron “Farmer D” Joffe, Coastal Roots’ founding director, said he remembers when the community reached out to the farm years ago to help plant around 1,200 trees, many of which now stand several to over 10 feet tall.
The appreciation of trees also reminds Coastal Roots leaders of the importance of giving back to the land rather than just depleting its resources — a concept known as regenerative agriculture.
“The idea always from the beginning was, can we grow the community as we grow this diverse food and ecosystem here,” Joffe said. “It’s so important to demonstrate this more regenerative approach to agriculture. You don’t see it often, but I think we’ll see a lot more of it.”
Coastal Roots Farm is located at 441 Saxony Road. The farm stand is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays and from noon to 3 p.m. on Thursdays.