Where do we begin? The Hazon Food Conference

Thursday, May 16, 2019 | 26th day of the omer; hod she’b’netzach

by Nigel Savage

Dear All,

This is indeed a global environmental crisis – indeed, a series of crises. “Climate change” is not only a thing in itself; it is also shorthand for multiple different ways that (a) our daily behaviors are literally unsustainable; (b) we’re already seeing profound negative consequences; and (c) things are on track to get worse before or if they have any chance of getting better.

And Jewish tradition compels us to respond. 

How we do that goes to deep questions that we’re thinking about, and that will influence our work these next coming years.
What’s the relationship between education, action, and advocacy?
How can any one person or institution make any measurable difference?
Do we effect change through a positive vision or fears of a dyspeptic future – or maybe both?

Hazon recently completed a strategic planning process that has refined our focus on the ways in which food and climate change and Jewish life intersect. We’re doing this because it builds on our work thus far, and is intended to focus and amplify it, quite considerably.

All of this work crystallizes around a single central paradox.

On the one hand – your actions and my actions by ourselves are insignificant, in the face of the task at hand.

And, on the other hand – it’s on us, now, to start to make a difference, with whatever tools and levers we have at hand.

This is where we each have a role to play. We are encouraging commitments to change among individuals and institutions with a particular focus on food systems because food is both central to Jewish life and to our impact in the world. 

There are so many different ways to move this work forwards, but I want especially to invite you to join us for the Hazon Food Conference – a celebratory opportunity to explore and commit to having a smaller impact on the planet and a greater impact on your community and your own health.

The Hazon Food Conference is where we first publicly slaughtered a goat (and then ate it, for Friday night dinner – for those who wanted) as a way to get us all to think about where our “meat” comes from. (If you’re squeamish about eating a goat you saw as a happy living creature the day before, perhaps you should be eating a lot less meat in general…?)

It’s where we launched the Shmita Project, to start to put Shmita on the agenda of the Jewish community.

It’s where, in multiple successive years, we laid the groundwork to build a network of Jewish CSAs in North America.

It’s where we started the work that led to the Jewish Working Group on the Farm Bill.

Now, in 2019, you’re warmly invited to this year’s Hazon Food Conference.

It’s at Isabella Freedman this summer, and as well as great food and great kids’ programming, we’ll start to go to the next level in thinking about food and climate change, and how we might drive systemic change in the American Jewish community, and what it means to really challenge the prevalence of animal agriculture.

And there’s a Kids’ Food Conference, for kids aged five to twelve.

So… come for the celebration; come for the vacation; or come to change the world.

Prices rise June 1.

Shabbat shalom,