Food and Freedom: Our Relationship with Food, Ethical Consumption and Responsible Recycling


Dear Hazon Seal Sites,

Earth Day is this coming MONDAY, April 22! Here is another themed listserv email to get you all excited!

As we come together around the Seder table this Passover, we invite you to take this opportunity to explore your relationship to food. If this is not new to you, we invite you to dive a little deeper.

During this time of year we celebrate our freedom and remember times of inhumane treatment and abuse. We are elevated by appreciation for our liberty to choose and, if we are fortunate, the abundance of modern times. This year Shabbat coincides with Passover, making this Shabbat exceptionally holy. Let us take a look at our Seder table and ask ourselves: Does this table represent me and my values? In this modern industrial world, it is hard to shop and eat without perpetuating suffering in some form or fashion. But we can try. Let’s ask ourselves: How can I better celebrate without perpetuating harm or suffering? We have the freedom to choose, but do we choose wisely, kindly?

Our tradition compels us to care for our environment and to take animal suffering seriously. In our food choices we have the power to support only companies that care about animal welfare, fair workers’ wages and conditions, and not dousing our food in chemicals and pesticides. It is also up to us to mindfully avoid waste, and to responsibly process the waste we do produce. Once we take from the Earth, it’s crucial that we give back to it. Thankfully, composting our food scraps is becoming more and more accessible!

We hope that you accept our invitation and have this Seder be a starting point to a journey, or a meaningful point in one you already started. Let us exercise our freedom by consciously doing what we can to keep our beautiful earth’s bounty free of waste and pollution, and our animals free of oppression and cruelty. Below you will find opportunities and resources to help you cultivate a healthier and more sustainable relationship with the earth through your food choices and practices. We encourage you to use these materials in your communities and organizations, and please “reply to all” to share additional ones!

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Pesach Kasher v’Sameach,
Merav & Ariel

PS As you prepare for Passover, check out Hazon’s sustainable Pesach resources! We encourage you to download and use our Higher Welfare Egg Haggadah Supplement at your seder, created in partnership with JIFA, the Jewish Initiative for Animals.



A reminder: Apply today to receive a mini grant to promote ethical food sourcing and animal welfare in your organization! Deadline: April 30. Learn more about the grant.

Serious about shifting your community toward a plant-based diet? Apply for the Synagogue Vegan Challenge by Shamayim. You can be one of five synagogues chosen each year for this program and granted $5,000 each for food. Applications close May 15th! FYI, a new Hazon Seal site in Chicago, Skokie Valley Agudath Jacob, participated last year! We can connect you to their green team; just shoot us an email.

Calling all HillelsApply for Shamayim’s College Fellowship. The Campus Fellowship trains Jewish college students who care about animals to take action and make change on their campuses. Applications close July 15th!

Check out Hazon’s Food Values and Policies.

Jewish Initiative Animals has amazing resources regarding ethical food choices. Ready to craft a food policy for your institution? Watch this JIFA Webinar for helpful tips!

Check out these wonderful vegan Passover recipes by Jewish Food Hero (hat tip: Samayim).



Reducing Wasted Food at Home: Check out this great guide by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Ample Harvest created a super valuable crowd-sourced resource – an online database of all farmers and gardeners linking to local food pantries. This enables collection of excess fruits and vegetables from farmers and gardeners and provides food pantries all over the country with this fresh produce. Make sure local gardens and pantries near you register!

Food Waste Weekend: This initiative by Ample Harvest Provides everything you need to promote awareness regarding food waste in your community, including information for faith leaders to learn about the opportunity to speak to their congregants about food waste – from their own faith perspectives. Share this with other Jewish communities and with your interfaith counterparts; it includes similar resources for other religions.



Hazon Seal NYC Cohort launches Compost initiative: Last month, the Hazon Seal NYC Cohort met at our Hazon office to learn more about composting! A representative of the NYC Department of Sanitation presented local resources and provided much-needed clarity regarding various programs in NYC. Join us! And if you are not in NYC, please invite your NYC friends!

City Saucery – Get this tomato sauce made by a company that saves “ugly” tomatoes from landfills!

Rescuing Leftover Cuisine – Learn about this company that donates extra food to those in need.

According to the EPA, we threw out 37.6 million TONS of food waste in 2015. While food scraps are one of the largest components of trash sent to landfills and incinerators, it doesn’t have to be garbage; it can be turned into nutritious soil called compost! Composting both reduces our waste and gives back to our nutrient life cycle resulting in cleaner soil, water, and air. According to Kiss the Ground, composting also increases food nutrition, crop yields, plant immunity, plant water retention, and plant growth – which are crucial for capturing CO2 and helping to reverse climate change.

Watch The Compost Story by Kiss the Ground for a fun and informative video about the benefits of composting.

Watch The Soil Story by Kiss the Ground to learn some more.



August 14-18, Isabella Freedman
Take a summer vacation at the home of farm-to-table Jewish food in the beautiful northwestern Connecticut countryside. The Hazon Food Conference has shown that the most unexpected – and even life-changing – discoveries happen when diverse topics and engaged people come together. This Conference typically sells out.

Register now – prices rise June 1!



That’s it for now. Don’t forget to collect those food scrap leftovers tonight. Google “compost drop off” or “compost collection” and the name of your town to find out about compost collection options in your area. Community gardens would be a good place to ask if you can’t find information electronically. Reach out to us if at a dead end!

And remember, our Hazon Seal resource bank (type in food, compost, or animals for example) has a wealth of knowledge!