Israel Sustainable Food Tour

Oct 29, 2014 - Nov 3, 2014

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See, Touch, Smell, and Taste Sustainable Food in Israel

Presented in partnership with
the Heschel Sustainability Center
It was wonderful to get beyond the “tourist” view of Israel and experience people in their homes, kibbutzim and work places. That really made a difference. It was also incredible to have a trip explore issues that are so important to me and see them expressed in Israel.
—Larry, New York, NY
Enjoy six glorious days touring Israel and experiencing the sustainable food movement first-hand.

  • Experience Shmita, the Biblical sabbatical year, and witness how modern Israelis on the farm and in the city are interpreting Shmita for themselves and their country.
  • Meet with change-makers and activists using food systems as a lens to make a more just and healthier society.
  • Dig into issues of food justice as you glean produce with Leket, Israel’s largest food rescue program.
  • Dine in delicious restaurants and meet innovative chefs like Moshe Basson of Eucalyptus Restaurant.
  • Visit food growers and producers across the country, from dairies, to olive orchards, to microbreweries and wineries.
  • Take an insider’s tour and taste of Machaneh Yehuda, the storied open-air shuk in Jerusalem.

For an idea of what to expect on the 2014 Tour, check out the 2013 itinerary, the 2013 photos, and an article by a participant. A final 2014 itinerary will be published leading up to the tour in October.

This trip confirmed my general sense that there is some incredible work being done in relationship to sustainability and food in Israel. I was also very surprised at some of the challenges that exist for people who want to promote sustainability in Israel. The warmth and love we were greeted with everywhere we visited allowed me to connect in a new and important way with the land and the people.
—Ali, Long Grove, IL

The Tour is designed for food leaders, activists and people who will be coming to learn in order to apply these ideas and practices at home. The tour is open to everyone. In the past we have had gardeners, journalists, farmers, CSA leaders, educators, and people who just love food and travel join us. Just like all Hazon programs, the tour is intended for a diverse audience, and both Jews and Non-Jews are welcome. There will be no special programming or age-appropriate activities for children.

As we venture out on the 2014 Israel Sustainable Food Tour, the 5774 Shmita year will be just beginning. This Biblically-mandated sabbatical year for the land and its workers has many impacts on Israeli agriculture and society. On the 2014 Food Tour, we will visit some of the following projects and explore key issues, meet central players in the sustainable food scene, and more:

  • Explore the agricultural implications of Shmita in the south, Israel’s largest growing region – at religious and secular kibbutzim, moshavim, and rabbinic and secular institutions.
  • Glean surplus produce from fields, participating in Israel’s largest food rescue operation with Leket (also featured on the Jew and the Carrot).
  • Discover the social and economic implications of the sabbatical year, with leaders of organizations working on issues of debt remission and land use, including Alon Tal, a leading Israeli environmentalist and board member of JNF
  • Delve into the textual background of Shmita in Biblical and Rabbinic literature with leading scholars, and follow in the footsteps of Rav Kook’s 1913 tour of Moshavim with Rabbi Yedidia Sinclair
  • Take an insider’s tour of Machaneh Yehuda, the storied open air shuk in Jerusalem – where rugelach and kibbe, arak and espresso live side by side – and see and taste things you will never find there, in a behind-the-scenes look at the newly founded farmer’s market in Tel Aviv.
  • Imbibe some new-old wisdom, through Talia Schneider’s unique brand of kabbalistic permaculture.
  • Visit Israel’s leading organic dairy, Harduf, which also is an outstanding social venture, by employing youth at risk. (P.S. they also have a fantastic vegetarian restaurant).
  • Sample some of the spice and spirit of the Galilee, meeting visionary Avi Zithershpieler, and his Derech Hatavlinim, the sense-boggling herb and spice farm


Shabbat, the Jewish sabbath, is a wonderful opportunity to come together as a community, and will provide us with time for deeper learning, relaxation, and prayer. We do our best to offer a variety of ways to connect with Jewish ritual and traditions for our diverse participants.  During Shabbat we will celebrate Jewish tradition in a warm and inclusive environment with communal opportunities for prayer, candle lighting, singing, exploring the surrounding beauty, yoga, learning, and delicious communal meals. Participants will have the opportunity to choose go to Shabbat services at a vareity of different local synagogues (Reform, Conservative/Masorti, National Religious, Sephardi, Haredi, and more).


On the Food Tour we will enjoy a variety of delicious menus related to the places we visit and people we connect to during the Tour. Breakfast is typically in the hotel or guesthouse where we will be staying, lunch is in a cafe or restaurant between tour stops, and dinner is a chance to relax at the end of the day with good food and wine. We’ll eat in Israel’s finest restaurants and in farm-to-table cafes using the best local produce. We’ll also sample delicious artisinal food products, direct from the kitchen or production line.

Kashrut and Dietary Issues

Many, but not all, of the hotels and restaurants where we will eat meals are under kosher supervision of the Israeli Rabbanut. Accommodations can be made for participants who need kosher supervision for all meals. In addition, during the tour, participants will travel to a variety of different farms, food businesses, and markets, many of which do not have a hecksher. Some of these places will offer food samples and it will be at the participants’ discretion to partake. Please contact us if you have specific questions regarding dietary needs.


Throughout the tour, we’ll be staying in boutique hotels, kibbutz guest-houses, and bed and breakfast style accommodations. Many, but not all overnight stays have wireless internet (for an additional fee).

For general inquiries and registration issues please contact Liz Traison at liz.traison@hazon.org or 212.644.2332 x326.

The Israel Sustainable Food Tour costs $1,790. This price includes program fees, all meals, and double-occupancy lodging while on the tour. Register before March 31st for the special early registration price of $1,590.

Individuals are responsible for their own travel expenses (for more information about making your travel arrangements see the tour checklist). Participants can choose to upgrade to single-occupancy lodging for the entire tour for an additional $700. A $360 non-refundable deposit is due at the time of registration.

Financial Aid

Our hope is that financial barriers will not prevent anyone from attending our programs and we are committed to making the Israel Sustainable Food Tour available to as many participants as possible. As such, we have a limited amount of financial aid available for participants who need it. Please note that in so doing, we try to balance our ability to meet individual requests with our ability to spread our resources among as many participants as possible. If you would like to apply for financial aid for the Israel Sustainable Food Tour, please fill out this form.

Refund Policy

In the event that you are no longer able to attend the Israel Sustainable Food Tour after registering, a full refund, less a $75 processing fee, is available until July 30, 2014. A 50% refund, less a $75 processing fee, is available until September 30, 2014. After September 30, tour fees are non-refundable.

We understand that traveling to Israel can be a complicated endeavor. Please use the checklist and tools below to ensure that you are fully prepared.

  • Book your flight to Israel
  • Double check your passport expiration date (must be valid for 6 months after your return flight)
  • Complete the logistics form (available in the summer)
  • Decide on the rest of your trip itinerary
  • If needed, book extra hotel nights on your own
  • Rent a cell phone or internet connection for the trip (see below)
  • Purchase travelers insurance (see below)
  • Double check the packing list to make sure you have everything you need and that you are not bringing too much
  • Check-out some books from your local library to get you in the mood:
    Jerusalem – Ottolenghi and Tamimi,
    Breaking Bread in Galilee – Rosner,
    The Way Into Judaism and the Environment – Benstein

International Flights

Each participant is responsible for your own flight to Israel; we do not arrange group flights. Please schedule your flights in order to be present for the entire tour.
Plan to arrive in Israel by 8:30am on Wednesday, October 29th.
Plan to depart Israel after 10:00pm on Monday, November 3rd.

Packing and Luggage

Throughout the tour, we’ll be staying in a different hotel or guest-house each night, so we strongly encourage that you pack lightly. We recommend that each participant only brings one piece of luggage – you will need to carry your own luggage from the bus to your room every evening, and then back to the bus every morning, and load it in and out of the bus yourself. Some overnights are at motel-style guest houses which can be spread out.

We also strongly suggest that participants bring a small day bag or backpack to carry necessities for the day. This bag is a good place to keep emergency needs, your reusable water bottle, and other items you might want on the road. Please note that you will need to carry this bag with you throughout the entire day. We cannot be responsible for items left on the bus.

A more detailed packing list and detailed arrival information will be sent to tour participants in the early fall.


Participants must carry personal health insurance to join the Israel Sustainable Food Tour. From past experience we know that US health insurance often does not cover medical expenses that are incurred overseas. Any medical costs incurred during the tour will have to be paid by the participant. Because of this we recommend that every participant carry additional travelers insurance. For your convenience we have connected with World Insurance Association, Inc. You can enroll online at http://hazon.911abroad.com. If you have any concerns, please contact Dwight Condrey, at 800-578-2111 ext. 3677 to discuss the best possible options for your needs. Note: this is the same insurance provider that Hazon partners with for the Israel Ride. Language on their website may refer to the Israel Ride and not the Food Tour, but you are in the right place.

Cell Phones

Participants are encouraged to rent Israeli cell phones for your time in Israel. Hazon recommends that you rent your phone through Amigo. You can choose to rent a standard cell phone, a sim card to swap out with your unlocked phone, or a USB internet key which gives you unlimited access across the country. We strongly suggest that you have the phone shipped to your home in the US prior to your departure, instead of picking up the phone when you arrive in Israel. Visit the Amigo website to learn more about pricing and to order your phone.


The weather may vary throughout the Tour. The evenings are cool but the days can be very hot – possibly reaching 100 degrees. Layers are the key. Attire is very casual, but should also be layered for warmth when needed. We’ll send a packing list with more specific information later in the summer.


For general inquiries, please contact Liz Traison at liz.traison@hazon.org or 212.644.2332 x326.