In July, Edes received a grant to launch a community-based program at the intersection of spirituality, art, and embodiment, using an experiential and discussion-based learning model similar to their Hampshire education.
Hampshire alum Asher Edes 03F was recently awarded a Young Adult Leadership Action (YALA) Twin Cities grant to launch their project Shmita Hives in September of 2021.
Shmita Hives is a year-long art-, play-, and discussion-based curriculum for adults designed by Edes and artist and farmer Alexander Vickery. The project takes its name from Shmita, the year of rest every seven years on the Jewish calendar. Historically, in communities that observed the Shmita cycle, farmers took the seventh year off work, food became free to everyone, and debts were forgiven. Edes was inspired by contemporary experiments in adapting Shmita to a 21st century American context.
With the purpose of bringing together local groups, Shmita Hives provides resources and tools for the Jewish community, especially young adults, artists, activists, farmers, and unaffiliated Jewish community members who are looking for alternative ways to observe Shabbat.
During a Kesher Fellowship, a leadership and community-building program for young, progressive Jewish adults, Edes met Vickery, who shared an interest in Shmita. Edes and Vickery connected over their shared enthusiasm for how the concept can support healthy rest, and provide a sustainable model for activism around issues such as food justice, Land Back, and abolition.
Edes will lead a group in Minneapolis, Minnesota, supported by the YALA Twin Cities grant, while Vickery will do the same in Olympia, Washington. The curriculum is free and open to the public. Edes and Vickery encourage groups to self-organize in other locations or online.