Hazon Food Conference

Dec 29, 2014 - Jan 1, 2015

Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, Falls Village, CT

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Join the thinkers and doers of the Jewish Food Movement to explore and experience a new angle on food.

The Hazon Food Conference is the only place in the world where farmers and rabbis, nutritionists and chefs, vegans, omnivores, and you come together to explore the dynamic interplay of food, Jewish tradition, and contemporary life. Our annual event brings together passionate people who are working for sustainable food systems on multiple levels – nationally and internationally, in their communities, and in their own lives. Learn from the experts and you will never look at eggs, bees, or food prices the same way again.

This year’s highlights include:

  • VISION: Make collaborative decisions setting the next 7-year goals for the Jewish Food Movement
  • SOURCE: Participate in an educational poultry shechita (kosher slaughter) of heritage breed chickens
  • PARTY: Rockin’ New Year’s Eve “Pollinators’ Ball” party with a live band and contra dancing
  • TASTE: Expert cooking demonstrations and hands-on learning with renowned farm-to-table chefs
  • HOMESTEAD: Workshops with farmers and city folk for backyard chickens, pollinator conservation, and beekeeping
  • EQUIP: Community organizing training and take-home resources to build a sustainable, resilient food future
  • EXPLORE: Daily text study on the Poultry, Pollinators & Policy theme in Hebrew or English at our Open Beit Midrash – all levels welcome!


I’m so grateful to have gotten to meet like-minded people my age who are also looking to further contribute to the growing Jewish Food Movement. I really enjoyed spending time at the retreat center in general due its natural beauty. I honestly had a good time participating in any and all activities and sessions.
—Danny, Chicago, IL

The Poultry, Pollinators & Policy theme is a thread that will run throughout the conference. We’ll explore ethical eating and learn about the sources of our food through poultry and other foods. We’ll understand sustainable agriculture through learning about pollinators and other critical elements of ecosystems. And presentations on activism and advocacy, including food policy, will show how we could be creating a more healthy, sustainable and just food system.



How have heritage bred poultry that once fed the nation been transformed into the specialized egg laying and broiler chickens of today?

What options are widely available, if any, for humanely raised egg laying hens?

How might we act to bring better systems for animal welfare and humane slaughter?

Sessions include:

  • how to keep egg-laying hens in your yard
  • firsthand poultry shechita (ritual slaughter)
  • taste testing chickens of heritage and hybrid breeds
  • discussions among contemporary poultry farmers and retired Jewish poultry farmers
  • Jewish law related to ritual slaughter
  • history of poultry and kashrut
  • technicalities of eggs and pareve food



How much does our food system really rely on pollinators?

What trends in conventional and organic agriculture impact pollinators?

How can honey be kosher if bees are not?

What can ancient midrashim (legends) about honey harvest teach us about food justice?

In what ways can Jewish tradition support our living in harmony with a diverse ecosystem of pollinators?

Sessions include:

  • backyard beekeeping
  • how to garden in order to maximize robust ecosystems for pollination
  • international honey tasting
  • conference-wide plant/pollinator real life pollination mystery game
  • honey tasting from around the globe



Since ancient times, Jewish communities have set up systems for fair food growing and distribution practices. What can we learn from these systems and how can we take them back to our communities today?

How do the policies of our federal and local governments contribute to the challenges and successes of our current food systems?

What systems have worked to increase access to healthy food for citizens of all income levels?

What are some campaigns that we can join to make change for farmers, workers, and consumers?

How can our communities strive toward a “whole supply chain approach” with food products that are be grown, harvested, processed, packaged, transported, and sold without exploitation of workers anywhere along the line?

Sessions include:
  • presentations by activists and politicians working at the local and national level
  • community organizing trainings for you to bring more robust food policies to your local area
  • collaborative opportunities for how we create a more healthy, sustainable and just food system
  • take-home resources for getting involved in food policy this year

I was inspired to be in the presence of so many people who care so deeply about the state of the food system and use a Jewish framework to address its flaws.
—Ian, Detroit, MI

Register by December 1st and use Discount Code EARLY to save $25.

register now

Rates start at $425 per person and include all programming, lodging, and meals. Click the “register now” button above for information, room rates, and to register online.

Online registration is for full credit card payments only. If you would like to pay in installments, pay by check, or apply approved financial aid, please call 860.824.5991 x0. Please review our lodging options and rates prior to calling. You will receive a confirmation email once you have registered and made a payment online or by phone. If you do not receive the confirmation email within 24 hours of registering, please call us at 860.824.5991 x0.

If you’re new to Isabella Freedman, click here for information about where we’re located, arrival and departure times, what to bring, etc.

We strive to make our programs affordable to everyone.

Click here for information about Financial Aid. »
Hazon is committed to making our Transformative Experiences financially accessible to as many people as possible. We believe that participation in these kinds of events are a core feature of a healthy and sustainable Jewish community in the 21st century. Please note that in our efforts to provide access to our events, we must balance our ability to meet individual requests with our ability to spread our resources among as many participants as possible. You can help support us in this endeavor by considering your request carefully. Financial Aid is given on a per-retreat basis and ranges from 10% – 50% off our regular rates. Please submit your application prior to registering.
apply for financial aid

Camp Teva is for kids ages 5 – 12, and runs simultaneously with retreats geared toward adults. Camp Teva combines the best of Teva’s signature Jewish environmental education with all of the opportunities provided by the Adamah Farm to create a distinctive and creative way for kids to have a fun and safe Jewish outdoor, food, and environmental education experience while their parents are enjoying Hazon’s many retreats, conferences, holidays, and workshops at Isabella Freedman. A transformative experience for the whole family!

When you register kids during your event registration process, they are automatically enrolled in Camp Teva! All-inclusive kids’ rates include Camp Teva programming.

more information about camp teva

I am planning to eat fewer processed foods at dinner times – i.e. things that come in a box – and work harder to prepare meals in advance that use whole ingredients instead, so I don’t have to sacrifice the efficiency of having food ready to eat when I get home.
—Maddy, New York, NY

Scholarship for Teens (13-17 years old)

Through the generous support of a donor, Hazon is pleased to offer up to 2 scholarships to teens between the ages of 13 – 17, covering program fees and housing expenses. Applications due by December 5th. Email margot.seigle@hazon.org for more information.


Scholarship For Rabbinical Students

Through the generous support of an anonymous donor, Hazon is offering scholarships cover the conference fees for participants currently studying to be rabbis. Participants will be responsible for travel and personal expenses. We are especially looking for individuals who are looking to bring back Jewish food education to their communities and their studies.  Applications due by December 5th. For more information, please email margot.seigle@hazon.org.


Tamar Fund Scholarship

Thanks to a generous donation, a select number of individuals will be chosen to pay a discounted registration fee of $180 for economy housing. Applications due by December 5th. For more information, please email margot.seigle@hazon.org.

The Tamar Fund is in memory of Tamar Bittelman z”l who attended the food conference in Davis, California in 2011. Tamar appreciated the intersection of agriculture, ecology, DIY food & community that the food conference offered. Recipients of the Tamar Fund are expected to write a short blog post about their food conference experience to be shared with her family. 


Young Farmer Scholarship

Are you a young farmer interested in attending the Food Conference? Email Margot at margot.seigle@hazon.org for more information.

Denver and Boulder Area Residents Scholarship

Through the generous support of Rose Community Foundation, 18 Pomegranates, and Oreg Foundation, Hazon is pleased to offer scholarships for people from the Denver and Boulder areas. We are seeking a diverse group of applicants of all ages and religious backgrounds, and especially welcome those working in Jewish organizations. For more information, please email colorado@hazon.org.  Applications are due December 5th.


San Diego Area Residents Scholarship

Through the generous support of the Leichtag Foundation, Hazon is offering scholarships to subsidize a portion of the conference fees for participants from the San Diego area. Scholarships will partially or fully subsidize the conference registration fee (which includes meals and accommodations and all programs, workshops and parties!), and participants will be responsible for travel and personal expenses. We are bringing a cohort from San Diego to the Food Conference to capture new knowledge, connections, energy, and ideas and bring them back to our community. We are seeking a diverse group of participants of all ages and religious backgrounds. For more information, please email gabi.scher@hazon.org.


Detroit Residents Scholarship

For the third year in a row, Hazon is pleased to offer scholarships to Detroit residents through the generous support of our donors and foundation supporters.  This is an opportunity to be part of a cohort that will meet in Detroit pre and post conference, as well as at the conference itself. Those accepted to the Detroit cohort will pay a discounted registration rate of $100 as well as receive a $100 travel stipend. Applications due by December 5th. For more information, please email aj.aaron@hazon.org.




Here are some highlights from last year’s Food Conference. Presenters and sessions change from year to year, but this will give you an idea of what a Hazon Food Conference looks, feels, and tastes like!

2013 schedule  2013 photo gallery  2012 schedule  2012 photo gallery

At the food conference, I connected with many fascinating people with diverse backgrounds and involvements in the food movement. The conversations I had with rabbis, local farmers, and community organizers inspired me to become more involved with the broader Jewish food community and share this with my home community. I am planning to bring another participant to my campus Hillel to lead a workshop on shechita and sustainable food systems. Already, I have had many personal conversations with my peers about what I learned about kashrut and food ethics, Jewish food history, and cooking..
—Johanna, New Haven, CT

While the Hazon Food Conference offers diverse programming – including yoga, hikes, bike rides, farmer’s markets and prayer services – the learning sessions are the dynamic anchor of the whole weekend.

Sessions offer participants the opportunity to strengthen and expand their knowledge of Jewish thought on food, agriculture, and ethics and examine the Jewish community’s role in creating a socially and economically-just and environmentally-sound food system.

The goals of the Food Conference are to:

Think. Encourage participants to think more deeply and broadly about their food choices, food systems –including issues of food access and affordability–and the connection of contemporary food issues to Jewish tradition and texts.

Connect. Build a Jewish community and a Jewish food movement by providing a model of a vibrant, joyful Jewish life that connects Jewish tradition, learning and spirituality with sustainable, healthful food practices.

Inspire. Convey a sense of energy, importance and enjoyment to inspire positive change around food issues and Jewish tradition so that participants who are more familiar with contemporary food issues see the Jewish connections, and Jewishly-knowledgeable participants explore contemporary food issues locally and nationally.

Strengthen. Build leadership capacity by supporting volunteers to help create change in their own communities.

Act. Create change agents to speed the velocity of best practices and action in Jewish homes, institutions, and communities, and the world as a whole.

Dig in. Join this powerful Jewish Food Movement that works to create healthy and sustainable communities in the Jewish world and beyond.

presented in partnership with  Liechtag Foundation