Israel is facing an unprecedented agricultural crisis as foreign farm workers have fled the country and many owners have been called up for military service. Those who remain are working tirelessly to cover the gaps. And others who have lost loved ones, are striving to salvage their crops amidst destruction and grief.
Choosing to buy local right now not only ensures access to high-quality seasonal produce, it also plays a vital role in supporting the local economy and community, and helps decrease reliance on foreign imports.
We’ve compiled a list below of farms in need of volunteers or donations. You’ll also find suggestions for supporting restaurants that are cooking for soldiers and people in need. If you have a suggestion of a place to add to this list, please reach out to us here or on Instagram.
Supporting the local farmers
Leading Israeli culinary figures including chef Yaniv Gur Arye, Ayala Noy Meir of Rish La’kish olive press, and historian and food researcher Uri Mayer-Chissick have joined forces with organizations like Brothers in Arms and the Organic Israel Association to improve the efficiency of the national food chain in these times of crisis. Through Adam ve-Adama, high school students help rescue surplus produce, sort fruits and vegetables and help bring them to food rescue centers. Volunteers also help forge connections between farmers with less popular items such as sweet potato leaves and soft tomatoes with manufacturers who can use them to make juices or other items. Learn more.
Tzav 8 LaHaklaut
This initiative from content creator Sharon Raz and Ohad Rot, the founder of the popular Facebook group Culinaria Mekomit, helps connect farmers in need of support with volunteers. For more details, visit the Tzav 8 LaHaklaut Facebook page or their new website.
Where Can I Order From?
The war is impacting businesses not only in the Gaza border area, but across the country. Restaurants and producers are asking for the public’s support to ensure their own survival and to enable them to continue their contributions to both the front line and the homefront.
The family-owned Meshek Havivian, situated in moshav Hodaya near Ashkelon, is donating baskets of food to families in need and working closely with sexual assault crisis centers.
Owner Michal Havivian explains that by shopping on their website — ordering a weekly basket, upgrading your order, or perhaps sending someone a thoughtful gift basket — you make these initiatives possible.
You can support this delicatessen, located in moshav Gilat (near Ofakim), by purchasing their home-made sauces, special spice rubs, seasoned butters, spreads, and more. Contact Efrat at 052-5608499 or purchase online.
The Ptora farm is struggling with severe labor shortage during this crucial time in the olive harvest. It is donating 10 percent of the proceeds from their website to support Israeli armed forces and the homefront.
El Mano Resturant
This Vietnamese-Filipino restaurant is offering free meals for soldiers and police forces. It invites customers to support their activity through their newly-launched delivery service.
Chef Yuval Ben Neria’s Taizu and ‘A’ restaurants remain closed for customers as the team works to prepare thousands of kosher meals for Israeli soldiers. You can support their work by ordering delivery from their restaurant Cafe Taizu.
Erez Komarovsky’s Baladi Chic
Chef Erez Komarovsky’s team is cooking hundreds of meals daily for soldiers and residents of the Gaza border area. To support their efforts, join them for a meal between 11:45 a.m. and 4 p.m. or order delivery.