Kosher Sustainable Food Options
If you want to dig deeper, look through our Food Guide Toolkit.
Recent scandals in the kosher meat world have led many to reconsider what kosher meat really means. While we might have at one time assumed that kosher meat was healthier and more sustainable, in fact, most kosher meat is raised on the same conventional confined animal operations where most non-kosher animals are raised. However, a small number of crusaders have launched companies to make higher-welfare kosher meat available.
Egg-laying hens endure some of the worst abuses in factory farming — packed five or more to a tiny wire cage, they cannot move around freely or spread their wings. We are mandated by Jewish tradition to have compassion for all creatures, especially those who rely exclusively on humans for proper mental and physical care. Committing to the sourcing of better welfare eggs is a small, yet significant step towards fulfilling this mandate and treading more humanely on our earth.
If you are comfortable drinking non-kosher wine, try to find a bottle (or box) of wine that is grown and produced close to home. If you prefer kosher, check out a wine on The Jew & The Carrot’s kosher organic wine list. The Jew and the Carrot has a great article on what wines to pair with your Shabbat meal!
If you think it is impossible to indulge in chocolate treats without steering clear of the Hershey’s and Nestle products, you are luckily incorrect! There are many chocolate snacks that are organic, fair trade, cane-sugar sweetened, vegan, and kosher certified!
Until recently, the world of kosher cheese was pretty bleak. On the one hand, you had shrink-wrapped, industrial produced (but kosher certified) brands like Miller’s. On the other, you had artisanal, raw-milk and hand-crafted (but not kosher certified) cheeses. These days the tide is turning, now there are options to have your kosher cheese and eat ethically too.
Set a kavvanah (special intention) to “go local.” Whether you decide to make all your dishes from scratch or purchase some things ready-made, make a pledge to feature ingredients and dishes that are locally grown. Remember that the definition of “local” is loosely defined – so decide in advance where you want to draw the boundary. Even if you don’t manage to eat all local, all the time in your day-to-day life (and really, who does?), Shabbat is the perfect time to strive for that ideal. See just how local you can go!
Getting your produce from a local farmers market, food co-op, or CSA (check out Hazon’s CSA Program), are all great ways to bring local produce directly to your Shabbat table. This gives you the opportunity to celebrate Shabbat with a healthy festive feeling, and a means for bonding with the community surrounding you over the plentiful benefits of sustainable local food!