Who The Folk?! Elazar Hoch

Elazar Hoch is an adventuring artist, born in Minnesota, moved to New York, and back again to tend to the gardens and help teach the Camp Olami kids at the Sabes JCC on horticulture, biodiversity, pollination, and more. He’s also working on a song to teach the kids about composting. He teaches pre-k through sixth grade and two adult groups, often spending time on the weekends getting the garden prepped for the week ahead. So, Who The Folk is Elazar Hoch?

How did you get into gardening? What started it all?

So, a very specific opportunity came my way this summer, to work with the Amir Project, which is a gardening program that staffs people in gardens around the country. They primarily staff in overnight camps and day camps as well. I was really intrigued by this organization and I really felt aligned with their values, so that was my ticket into the gardening that I’m doing right now.

What did you do before gardening?

I live in New York City, and I got a degree in fine arts and painting, and I’m living the lifestyle of an artist in New York. I get jobs as they come. I did some training programs after I graduated. I did a program in pet care, to be a pet care tech — I was a professional dog walker and “puppy nanny.” Directly before coming out here I worked with a friend who had a children’s fashion line called “Frenchie’s Mini Couture.” I was an extra set of hands during her sample sale.

What do you enjoy about gardening?

I really enjoy the physical nature of it. Being involved with my hands and my body, reading what the garden needs through what it communicates. I try to tell the campers that not all communication is audible – some of it is visual – assessing the garden’s needs, meeting those needs, that is very relaxing. Your mind just quiets down. Just trellising a tomato plant, just weeding, is very relaxing.

What is your favorite plant to grow? If you have just one?

I’d say the tomato plant.

What is your favorite Jewish holiday

Well, okay, I’m biased – my favorite Jewish holiday is Passover because I was born on Passover.

Favorite Jewish food?

Umm… my favorite Jewish food… my favorite Jewish food is kreplach.

He also sang us the song he sings to the campers to help out with their composting skills:

A toast, a toast, a toast to compost
A toast, a toast, a toast to compost
A toast, a toast, a toast to compost

To the table, to the bucket

All the chickens love it, all the chickens love it

No big chunks of meat meat meat
No big chunks of meat meat meat

All the chickens love it, all the chickens love it!


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