“It’s an exciting time to be Jewish.” said Jacob Fine from JConnect in Seattle, in his discussion of ethical principles related to food. After the events in Postville, Iowa last year, there has been a groundswell of interest and support for a different way to think about Jewish ethics and food. There are other principles besides Kashrut in our tradition that might help to inform our decisions about what we find acceptable to eat. This idea that it’s an exciting time to be Jewish could be seen and felt across the 2009 Hazon Food Conference.
When we met as a cohort, those of us from Colorado talked about the things that we wanted to take back to our communities, whether it was new ways to network, inspiration to start a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) or new programming ideas for our current CSA, the conference was inspirational. As Raj Seymour pointed out, sharing this experience with others from Boulder makes it easier to bring the energy to support these ideas back to Boulder as well. Friday night, at the most spirited and exciting Kabbalat Shabbat service I have ever attended, conference participants watched the sun go down over the magnificent Pacific Ocean, watched as the waves turned from blue to orange and red and disappeared as the sun disappeared. Earlier in the day, in order to get ready for Shabbat, many of us went to the beach to recite the blessing you say upon seeing the ocean.
Perhaps the most exciting thing for me was that Thursday, February 18, Nigel Savage, the founder and visionary leader of Hazon will be in Boulder and then in Denver for the weekend.
It went so fast, it’s hard to believe it’s all over. The Colorado group met this morning to plan next steps. To a person, we were all inspired by some aspect of the conference. Jessica Hersh would like to figure out a way to provide, locally grown, kosher chickens for the CSA members next year. I will be working closely with the two Denver Hazon CSA sites to help them get up and running, along with coordinating programs with Birthright Next to enhance our own Boulder Hazon CSA, as well as working hard on growing our own CSA program.
Hazon’s mission is to make the Jewish community and by extension all people healthier. CSA, Community Supported Agriculture, is one of the best ways to put Jewish purchasing power behind local, sustainable farms. Hazon has doubled the number of Jewish CSAs in just the last two years. There will be 40 Hazon CSA projects across the US and Israel. Last year, in a partnership between Aish Kodesh, Bonai Shalom, Nevei Kodesh and Hazon, we started the Boulder Hazon CSA (formerly known as Tuv Ha’Aretz). The Boulder Hazon CSA had 75 members who signed up to support Red Wagon Organic Farm. Small farms often have a difficult time with a reliable income. CSA members purchase a share of the farm’s fresh, seasonal produce, giving the farm needed funds, and sharing in the bounty of the farm over the 22 week season.
Of course, CSA members also take on the risk of farming in a much more direct way than those who shop at a farmers markets or Whole Foods, but without CSAs many farms wouldn’t have the needed capital to begin planting in the Spring. This year the Boulder Hazon CSA will expand to two sites and be able to offer significantly more shares to the entire Boulder Jewish Community, so look for applications in early January.
Here are links to other perspectives about the Hazon Food Conference:
- Food Conference Reflections (The Jew and the Carrot)
- Hazon Food Conference (several posts on Jewschool.com)
- Food for Thought ~ Hazon Food Conference (InMyBox Blog)
- What a Weekend (Pretty Girls Use Knives Blog)
Look for more information, programming and events related to Boulder Hazon CSA.