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Jeffrey Levine
CFO | Seeking a just world I Author

Tu B’Shvat Reflections on Agriculture, Resilience, and Renewal

Finding Hope in the Midst of Turmoil:

Introduction: Tu B’Shvat, a time traditionally dedicated to reflections on farming, nature, and our connection to the land, has taken on a different tone this year. With Am Israel facing immense challenges, it’s difficult to focus on the usual positive aspects of this festival. However, amidst the hardships, there lies an opportunity for renewal and resilience.

The Crucial Connection: As history tells us, the connection between people, the land, and farming is a vital need in our society. The recent events on 7th October underscored the importance of supporting farmers and the Israeli agro-business. While it’s unfortunate that such disasters prompt this realization, there is a silver lining – a call to action that can strengthen our ties to agriculture.

Quoting Rabbi Kook  “Not that all Jews should become farmers. Rather, he is proposing that the integrity of the nation of Israel, and of humanity, is contingent upon the cosmopolitan city-dweller acknowledging his deep connection to the provincial farmer.

A Shift in Perspective: Encouraging more people, especially our children, to connect with farming and consider it as a career is crucial. Agriculture is not just traditional farming; it’s a new high-tech industry that contributes to food security and income globally. Addressing issues like food waste becomes imperative, and I will share some staggering statistics on this matter later.

The Role of Farmers: In Israel, farmers are not only providers of sustenance but also contribute to national security. Strengthening farming communities, particularly through the revival of the kibbutz movement, can create sustainable, self-sufficient villages encompassing farming, living, and security.

Global Impact: Israeli agro holds the potential to make a significant impact worldwide by enhancing food security and prosperity for small farmholders. It becomes a competitive advantage for Israel as an export industry, contributing to tikkun olam – repairing the world – and improving the nation’s global image.

Reassessing Priorities: In these trying times, it’s essential to reassess our priorities. While high-tech industries have defined Israel as a start-up nation, the agro-agro model presents a compelling story of resilience, sustainability, and positive global impact.

Conclusion: Tu B’Shvat this year invites us to reflect not only on the challenges but also on the opportunities for growth and renewal. Embracing the agro-agro model can be a beacon of hope, fostering resilience, sustainability, and positive change for Israel and the world. As we navigate these turbulent times, let us strive for a society that prioritizes the well-being of both its people and the planet.

In more detail: Charting a course towards a better society for Israel and the world at large.

Nature.

What is interesting about all the talk about Climate Change is the focus on Nature. A world with increased sensitivity for Nature. Our Urban Lifestyle has distanced us from Nature. On this day of Tbshvat, I want to meditate on the word Nature. We need to go back to a more Natural Lifestyle. I see an attempt at the cooperation of government,  companies and people, although seemingly flawed.

So, let’s see how this manifests Itself.

Tu B’Shvat – and what is now labelled “Israel Environment” day falls in the middle of winter. The sages chose this day to determine the status, year of the counting of the year of the tree as regards legal obligations. Yes, it was and is a day of Accounting for how to relate to Nature and the gift of Nature that  God has given us. Time to give an account of how humans have caused the planet’s abuse.

Today, there is a worldwide call for Climate Change – One of the major outcomes of COP 28 conference was Food Security.

Israel, and from the early pioneers from the 1880’s has been a leader and Innovator – Here are some examples.

  • JNF – Leading the way with Tree Planting and more.
  • Water – setting out examples of national water projects.
  • Renewable Energy from solar to heating water and electricity.
  • Israel Farming /Model and Ecosystem.
  • Technology for good
  • The Kibbutz / Moshav – Time to renew the spirit and example to establish new “Eco Villages Natural Living communities” – Added benefits lower costs of living and a more balanced lifestyle.

It is time for Israel to refresh and upgrades these ideas. All the above can be used as a model for use in Israel and to be used around the world. It is an opportunity for Israel to become the Impact Nation

Food Loss: A Global Epidemic

The shocking reality of food loss in agriculture is a matter that urgently demands our attention. Approximately one-third of all food produced worldwide is lost or wasted annually. This staggering loss not only impacts food security but also incurs significant economic and environmental costs. Addressing post-harvest losses is crucial, and a comprehensive strategy is needed.

This holistic approach aims to empower farmers and reduce losses across the food value chain.

Size of Post-Harvest Loss 1/3 of all food produced worldwide is lost or wasted annually

This loss represents a cost of USD 2.6 trillion per annum including USD 700 billion in environmental costs and USD 900 billion in social costs.

In sub-Saharan Africa, 37% of food produced is lost between production and consumption. • The annual value of post-harvest grain loss in sub-Saharan Africa is USD 4 billion, which exceeds the value of total food aid that the region has received over the past decade.

SOURCES: Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO, 2019 | World Bank Group, Agriculture in Africa: Telling: Telling Myths from Facts, 2018

How can change the narrative to one of Hope

I read over the weekend, if you want to change the world, you need to change yourself. And by changing yourself, you can maybe influence other people. And when writing these blogs, I would like to change the world, but I’m writing these blogs maybe as a message to myself, to change myself.

Maybe I can influence you who are reading this, to change yourself. And together we can make a change for the better, for the world. And in trying to change myself up.

Working  Together – creating a Good Society .

For those interested in real change, and are passionate about contributing to a better world, my book Upgrading ESG – How Business Can Thrive in the Age of Sustainability available on Amazon dives deeper into these themes, providing insights and avenues for tangible change.

In my book “Upgrading ESG — How Business Can Thrive in the Age of Sustainability”. I highlight that “Creating profitable businesses and building a better world are not conflicting goals”, and by bringing fresh ideas and innovation, we can do both — create more profit opportunities and make an impact towards a more sustainable world.

In the book, I highlight that a Good Society holds one of the keys to a better and fairer world. Without a Good Society, we cannot make a global change, we will not progress.

The age of sustainability represents a massive opportunity for governments, companies and people -Empowering People. Healing the Planet.

To buy the book:   https://www.upgradingesg.com/book    Buy on Kindle

Introducing FarmUp

 

Introducing FarmUp, a groundbreaking platform I’ve developed to address the critical need for empowering investors to provide agro-social finance loans to farmers in developing countries.

Our core principles at FarmUp include:

  1. A robust business model designed to increase profits for all stakeholders.
  2. A commitment to innovation in agricultural finance and development.
  3. The capacity to replicate and upscale successful projects on a global scale.
  4. Strict adherence to ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) principles.
  5. Rigorous financial oversight and a commitment to transparency.

At FarmUp, we champion direct investments from both individuals and companies to support impactful projects that align with our principles. Our primary focus is on fostering job creation and achieving a swift turnaround to income generation.

Discover more about FarmUp, explore our initiatives, and consider joining us in making a positive impact on global agriculture. Visit our website at https://farmup.tech  for further information.

To get in touch: : Jeffrey@upgradingESG.com

Thank You

Jeffrey Levine

About the Author
Jeffrey is a CFO | Seeking a just world I Author -living in Jerusalem. He is a young grandfather who has five kids and six grandchildren. Jeffrey is promoting a vision for a better and fairer world through https://upgradingesg.com and is the author of Upgrading ESG - How Business can thrive in the age of Sustainability
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