Two hundred people were present for a weekend of cooking demos, discussions and copious quantities of great Jewish cuisine.
Jacob Siegel recently experienced a chicken slaughter that utterly transformed the way he looks at meat.
It’s the Whole Foods paradox: I want to eat healthy, local ingredients—but I can’t afford it. It’s like seeing a fabulous dress at the store, before you turn over the price tag and have to walk away. We’ve all been there. Every time I hold a bag of chia seeds or a carton of hemp milk in my hand, I probably pick it up and put it back 3 or 4 times before I decide that it’s just not in my recently-graduated-college-and-moved-to-the-city budget. But I can’t help it, I love these products. So, what’s a foodie to do?
Hazon’s mission is a lofty one.
Last summer I had the opportunity to attend the Hazon Food Conference through the generosity of Pursue. As a full-time food justice community organizer at that time, I had considerable information floating around my head about sustainability, structural racism’s role in our food system and the path our food takes from farm to fork. What I didn’t know much about was knishes.
While attending the Hazon Food Conference at the University of California, Davis campus last month, I had the pleasure of leading a table learning and discussion at the Community-Wide Beit Midrash (house of study) program on Saturday morning. Sitting at separate tables in the large room, I was one of two people who lead sessions on non-Jewish rather than Jewish texts. The noise level was high but the energy level was fierce. My role was as facilitator, not lecturer, and I found it timely to present a topic inspired by a post in [Grist.com], which referenced a TED presentation by Frederick Kaufman called “The Measure of All Things.”
Bring over 300+ foodies, chefs, nutritionists and rabbis together to talk about food… and you better have a good plan for what to feed them! Planning food for the Hazon Food Conference is a delightful challenge. We have a list of food values which we try to meet at all Hazon events — and yet the values themselves sometimes conflict with each other. Add the fact that we’re not throwing a dinner party for 12, and the decisions get a lot more complicated. Food procurement and institutional cooking is an area that has a long way to go in terms of sustainability, and we’re proud of our efforts to nudge us along on that route — but we’re far from there yet. Here are some of the values we try to meet, and the choices we made to get there at this year’s Hazon Food Conference at UC Davis.
Innovative Jewish education projects around the country are helping students of all ages to understand the connections between Jewish tradition and contemporary food issues. But what about the educators? How can these innovative professional and lay leaders, often working and teaching in isolation, create a community and come together to collaborate and work on common challenges?
At a session entitled “The University of California: Friend or Foe to Sustainable Agriculture” at this year’s Eco-Farm Conference, Tom Tomich of the UC Davis Agricultural Sustainability Institute reminded participants of how the California budget crisis may affect farming: With massive cuts to the University of California system expected, funding for agricultural research at its land-grant universities is in danger. The students and faculty doing GMO and pesticide research can secure funding from private companies, but researchers doing sustainable agriculture and food systems research are on shakier ground, says Tracy Lerman, a UC Davis graduate student and member of the Community Development Graduate Group. As an example, she cites the closure of the Small Farms Center as a result of state funding cuts to the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.