Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, Falls Village, CT
The Hazon Jewish Food Conference was life changing for me. It was like nothing I’ve ever been a part of before and more beautiful and inspiring than anything I could have imagined. Collaboration, creativity, healthy food, Jewish culture, sustainability, food justice, and the deep connection to others who share my passions for creating a world that I want to live in.
Take a vacation at the home of farm-to-table Jewish food.
Expand your culinary repertoire while you experience the pleasure of harvesting your own organic fruits and veggies. Unpack the complexities of our global food system and connect to our ancient food tradition in a bucolic Berkshire setting.
- Enjoy outdoor wood-fire cooking, berry picking and veggie harvesting, late-night stargazing and bonfires, swimming, boating, hiking, and other summer-fun activities.
- Feast on kosher, organic, and ethically sourced farm-to-table cuisine.
- Develop a deeper relationship with your food and where it comes from.
- Learn with world-class experts, activists, artists, chefs, and community leaders.
- Strengthen your culinary skills with leading chefs.
- Examine issues of food justice and climate change.
- Celebrate Shabbat in a vibrant, pluralistic Jewish community, with three options for prayer services – renewal, traditional egalitarian, and orthodox.
- Young foodies – ages 5-12 – can learn alongside their parents and guardians in our specially designed Kids’ Food Conference. Click the “kids” tab to the right to learn more.
- Shortly after you arrive on Wednesday, take a tour through the Shuk, where participants and teachers will showcase their creations, books, and delectables.
- Jump right in on Thursday, when you can choose from a full day of sessions, ranging from cheese making, wild edibles, edible flowers, knife skills, pit cooking, condiments and sauces, bread making, cured meats, Indian cuisine and seasonal holiday meals, and much more.
- Thursday we’ll also have an outdoor food festival experience where chefs will be stationed and cooking up all kinds of delicious edibles – everything from smoked meats to fresh grilled veggies and pitas made on an open fire.
- Celebrate a pluralistic Shabbat which will include Renewal, Traditional Egalitarian, and Orthodox prayer services, a full day of learning sessions, and will conclude with havdalah and an all-out dance party under the stars with DJ M Dot.
- Our farm will be in full bloom so there will be an abundance of fresh produce for us to play with.
- Local Panel: Foodies & Farmers of the Berkshire Bioregion: Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center is located in the epicenter of a rapidly growing sustainable food scene. Meet some of the leaders, taste the fruits of their labor, and learn about how strong food values combined with great taste can create vibrant communities. Curated and convened by Mike Webster, Liz Vaknin, and Shelley Golan.
2017 Keynote Panel
What role does Jewish tradition play in creating a more just, delicious, nutritious, and culturally rooted food movement? Learn from and engage in a conversation with key visionaries who are guiding the growth of the food movement both within and beyond the borders of the Jewish community.
All of the sessions at the conference will fall under four tracks: Food Justice and Sustainability, Jewish Food Traditions, Cooking Demonstrations, and Health and Nutrition.
We will have four speakers on the panel and each one will speak through the lens of one of the four tracks. Panelists include: Mitchell Davis, VP of the James Beard Foundation: Jewish Food Traditions; Yael Lehmann, Executive Director of The Food Trust: Health and Nutrition; Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America: Food Justice and Sustainablity; and Liz Vaknin, Founder of Our Name is Farm: Cooking Demonstrations.
Rebecca Bloomfield, Director of Adamah As the Director of Adamah, Rebecca recruits, teaches, and mentors Adamah fellows. Since being an Adamah fellow herself in the Fall of 2005, Rebecca has taught at The Edible Schoolyard in Berkeley, California, managed the Organic Farmer Training Program at Michigan State University, and operated her own small farm business, Bloomfield Farm, in Ottawa, Canada. Her values of good food, strong community, and the connection to something-greater has brought her back to Adamah. She loves yoga, coffee shops, walking in the woods, and any time spent at her family cottage in Temagami, Ontario.
Laura Hafner, Owner and Farmer, Mountain View Farm The Hafner family began farming in Falls Village, CT in 2014. The founders of Mountain View Farm, Patrick and Laura did not begin their careers as farmers, but rather met in New York City in 2011, pursuing careers in the military after college. ROTC @ Fordham / Laura ROTC @ Vasser Family owned property in Falls Village, CT – had a dream to be farmers and then realized it was super hard and worked on community engagement → large focus on animals The farm’s mission is, and will always be, to grow high quality and organically grown vegetables and pasture raised meats. The Hafner family partnered with Hotchkiss in late 2015, who now purchase all of their pork products as whole hogs to increase sustainability and profitability.
Janna Siller – Adamah Farm Director Janna leads the Adamah crew in growing organic vegetables for CSA distribution, value-added production, Isabella Freedman food service, and donations, while maintaining the fields as resonant learning space for fellows and visitors. She teaches classes on practical farming and gardening skills as well as classes that explore the big picture systems, policies and issues that shape what we eat and how it is grown. Janna lives in Falls Village with her family – Arthur, Tzuf, and the cats.
Alison’s research focuses on the behaviors of contaminants in the environment, including arsenic, lead, mercury, flame retardants, and novel pesticides; this research involves a combination of field, laboratory, and computational techniques. Her teaching interests include motivating environmental activism, developing broad scientific literacy, and use of nontraditional pedagogies.
Ellie Youngblood – Farm Manager, Fairfield Farm at the Hotchkiss School graduated from Carleton College in 2014 with a degree in biology, focused largely on the complex biochemical landscape of Minnesota. Between her first job on a horse farm as a young middle schooler and managing the farm at the Hotchkiss School, Ellie has held a variety of positions in the agriculture and food worlds.
Adin Zuckerman has been exploring food systems and justice in the food system through study and practice for the last ten years. Adin was an Adamah fellow and an Adamah apprentice for two seasons. Adin Zuckerman is co-farmer at Linke Fligl in Millerton, NY. Linke Fligl is both a Heritage Breed chicken farm selling meat and eggs, as well as a space for collaboratively held, queer Jewish programming. Linke Fligl is in its second season.
Rates and Registration
Check back for registration info.
Kids Food Conference
While adults and teens are participating in the Hazon Food Conference, the home of the Jewish food movement, kids ages 5-12 will be having their own memorable experience at the Kids’ Food Conference! The Kids’ Food Conference will give KFC a whole new meaning!
Children will engage with field experts in dynamic and age appropriate ways on the same topics as the adult programming, including:
- Health and Nutrition
- Jewish Learning, History, and Culture
- Food Justice and Values
- Cooking Demonstrations and DIY Projects
Hazon, means “vision,” and works to create a healthier and more sustainable Jewish community, and a healthier and more sustainable world for all. In order for this work to succeed, we need young people to become involved in the movement towards a healthier food system. Youth have the power to take our society in a new direction and rethink the world into which they have been born.
It is up to us to make healthy food choices for ourselves, but in many ways our society puts us at a disadvantage. Youth do not have the buying power of adults, yet food advertisements are filled with exciting images of junk food. How do we ingrain the knowledge of healthy snacking into our minds so it is an easy choice to go for carrots and peanut butter instead of potato chips? How do we change the larger system so school food is healthy and tastes good? How can we grow food in our homes and communities? The KFC will address these issues and more in a dynamic, engaging, age-appropriate way.
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.
We strive to make our retreats affordable to everyone. We believe retreats are important experiences to be shared. Inclusiveness is one of our core values. We strive to ensure that our retreats are as financially accessible as possible. We have a variety of scholarship options available.
Please check back for more information.
Guest Pre-Arrival Information
Arrival & Departure
Check-in is from 2 to 5 pm on Wednesday, August 9. If you are arriving on a different day, you may check in with the retreat manager on duty anytime after 4 pm on your arrival day. You must be checked out of your room by 10 am on Sunday, August 13 or by 10 am on your last day. The Conference will come to an end with brunch on Sunday.
For those coming from the New York City area, we are conveniently located just half an hour from Wassaic Train Station, the last stop on the Harlem Line of the Metro North. We offer a shuttle service at the following times for this retreat:
- 2:03 pm on Wednesday from Wassaic Train Station to IF
- 4:03 pm on Wednesday from Wassaic Train Station to IF
- 11:30 am on Sunday from IF to Wassaic Train Station
If you have not already reserved shuttle service during registration, please call (860) 824-5991 ext. 0 to reserve your spot.
For more information on getting here, click here.
Help to reduce the environmental impact of car trips to and from Isabella Freedman by checking out our carpool initiative! Upon registering for the Conference, you will receive access to a virtual rideshare board so you can connect with fellow participants. Offering a ride in your car will help reduce carbon emissions, cut down gas costs and make new friends! If you are looking for a ride, adding yourself to the wait list (on the right hand side of the page) is the best way to be notified when movements occur.
One of our mashgichim (kosher supervisors) must pre-approve all food items that enter the designated dining spaces. If you plan to supplement our delicious, healthy, farm-to-feast meals, your items must be completely sealed in original packaging. Unapproved food and drinks may be enjoyed anywhere on campus besides our dining spaces.
You may want to bring:
- Over-the-counter and/or prescription medications
- Chargers for electronic devices
- Rain gear (a jacket and/or umbrella)
- Ritual wear
- Comfortable, loose-fitting clothes for yoga
- Closed toe shoes
- Hiking boots to enjoy our many trails
- Gear for summer weather (sunglasses, swimsuit, hat, sunscreen, water bottle)
- Toiletries like deodorant and toothpaste for sale in the bookstore
- Extra kippot and tallitot, in addition to siddurim
- Yoga mats, blankets, and blocks
- Heat and A/C in all guest rooms
- Linens and towels in all guest rooms
- Alarm clocks in all guest rooms
If there are details of your stay or arrival that you still need to share with us here at the retreat center, please email us at email@example.com
Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.
The Hazon Food Conference is about collaborating with other food professionals, getting creative in the kitchen and thinking in new, creative ways about traditional foods and the system of which they’re a part.