Many of us have personal gardens where we grow small amounts of food for our use. But there are operations right here in Atlanta that harvest food for many others than just property owners.

Some of these operations will be highlighted at the Hunger Seder at Ahavath Achim Synagogue on Wednesday, April 4. Please join us to find out how you can participate in helping provide food for others, whether it is through harvesting food or by advocating policies that assist those in need.

The Jewish Community Relations Council of Atlanta and Ahavath Achim are partnering with a number of other Jewish congregations, non-Jewish congregations, the Atlanta Community Food Bank, and other food-related organizations, from Second Helpings Atlanta to Food Security for America.

One of those organizations is Concrete Jungle, which harvests fruits and nuts from over 2,000 trees in the metro area. Yes, there are thousands of trees in Atlanta that provide food for shelters and food pantries. They are in yards, on the side of the road, next to buildings.

Most of these trees were untended and ignored, their produce “being wasted to wildlife while only miles away many poor and homeless struggle to include any fresh produce in their diet,” as Concrete Jungle’s website states.

Come to the Hunger Seder and learn how to volunteer to help pick this produce for local people in need.

Concrete Jungle also grows vegetables on a small urban farm in Southwest Atlanta, Doghead Farm. That farm allows the organization to host additional volunteer events.

Another partner is Global Growers, which manages nearly 20 acres and supports a network of farms and gardens throughout metro Atlanta. Since 2010, it has produced around 500,000 pounds of fresh produce.

Its 15-acre incubator farm in Stone Mountain, Bamboo Creek Farm, is operating as a center for commercial crop production. It is hosting immigrant farmers who were involved in agriculture in their native countries and are now able to engage again in farming.

The Hunger Seder is now in its eighth year. It provides a full seder meal and a chance to see the haggadah become a vehicle for liberating people from hunger and food insecurity. In a profound way, we are helping, as the haggadah says, “let all who are hungry come and eat.”

The Jewish tradition is rich with references to how Jews are expected to provide for those in need.

Leviticus 19:9-10 states: “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not fully reap the corner of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you collect the (fallen) individual grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger. I am the Lord, your G-d.”

From Isaiah, we hear, “If you shall pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.”

And in the Talmud in the Midrash Tannim, we see, “G-d says to Israel, ‘My children, whenever you give sustenance to the poor, I impute it to you as though you gave sustenance to Me.’ Does G-d then eat and drink? No, but whenever you give food to the poor, G-d accounts it to you as if you gave food to G-d.”

Those are but a few references from our tradition.

Through the Hunger Seder, we aim to create advocates for food and nutrition programs on the local, state and national levels. We encourage you to come and join us as we work to make our tradition live in numerous ways in our metro area. Please join us.

What: Hunger Seder
Where: Ahavath Achim Synagogue, 600 Peachtree Battle Ave., Buckhead
When: 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 4
Admission: $36; www.aasynagogue.org/event/hunger-seder-2018 or 404-355-5222