Starting a Hazon Food Festival

It was an awesome event! Honestly… it’s my favorite conference of the year!!!
—Food Festival participant
 

 

With seven years experience in planning multi-session, pluralistic, cutting-edge programs for people across a wide range of Jewish backgrounds and ages, Hazon is uniquely positioned to help you plan an amazing Hazon Food Festival. We will support you through the process of planning, marketing, organizing, and running your event, and we’ll also help you create engaging, high-quality adult and family sessions around Jewish tradition, food, and sustainability.

You can use our comprehensive Food Festival Manual to plan your own festival from start to finish!

Download a copy of the Food Festival Manual

 

To start planning a Food Festival, consider the following questions:

Budget and Fundraising: Key Questions

  • Is your goal to generate revenue, to break even, or to make the best use of a dedicated grant or donation?
  • What are your potential sources of income?
    • Ticket sales, vendor fees, sponsorships, ad sales, raffle, or silent auction.
    • Based on past experience or similar events, how much can you hope to generate in each category?
  • What are your projected expenses?
    • Staff time, marketing materials, program supplies, and food
    • Based on past experience or similar events, what expenses can you eliminate or minimize through product donations, smart partnerships, and advance planning?

Planning Committee: Key Questions

  • Where might you look to recruit volunteers?
  • What are the main criteria for serving on the Food Festival planning committee?
    • Having 5 hours per week to work on it, living within a certain distance, or having a past connection to your organization
  • Are there any specific skills that you need from volunteers?
    • Ability to use email and Google Drive, marketing experience, or knowledge about food systems issues
  • How many people do you want on your planning committee?
  • How often do you want to meet and in what format?

Partnerships: Key Questions

  • How can your Food Festival benefit from the participation of partners?
  • For sponsors: What kind of businesses stand to profit from reaching Food Festival participants?
    • Eg. CSA farms want to reach sustainably-minded eaters, event planners want to reach b’nai mitzvah parents, solar panel companies want to reach homeowners, kosher bakeries want to reach observant Jews, etc
  • What benefits and publicity can you offer sponsors?
    • Eg. Posts on your social media feeds, linked logo on website, ad in program book, table in the marketplace, or free tickets for employees
  • What levels of sponsorship seem appropriate for the benefits you can offer and number of participants you can attract?
    • Eg. Three levels between $180 – $1000, two main partners at $5,000, etc

Programming: Key Questions

  • What structure and length workshops will best meet your goals?
  • Where might you look for knowledgeable, engaging presenters?
  • Do you want to have an overarching theme?
  • How will you integrate Jewish content with food and sustainability content?
  • What level of prior knowledge do you expect your participants to have?
  • What ages are you targeting your programming for?

Food: Key Questions

  • What level of kashrut, if any, does it make sense to observe at the Food Festival?
  • What standards do you want to follow regarding the sustainability, health, and ethics of the food?
  • Do you want to provide food as part of the event, or have optional food available for purchase?
  • What permitting, insurance, or health code requirements pertain to you?

Marketing, Advertising, and Social Media: Key Questions

  • How do your intended participants learn about local events?
  • How do you tailor the Food Festival message to fit with different outreach channels?
  • How can your sponsors, vendors, venue, and planning committee help spread the word?
  • What seasonal considerations affect your marketing plan?
  • How does your ticket sales plan affect your marketing plan?:

Logistics: Key Questions

  • What preparation and communication should happen close to the Food Festival?
  • What plans and systems will help the day flow most smoothly?
  • Which of these can be done in advance, and how can they be done most efficiently?
  • What evaluation do you want to conduct for the Food Festival?

I learned that people are very interested in making positive change in their lives, their communities and their professions. It was inspiring.
—Food Festival participant
 

 

Hazon provides the following support for your local Food Festival:

  • Hazon Food Festival Manual – a comprehensive instruction manual with a timeline, all your to-do lists, and complete instructions on how to create a festival. Email foodfestivals@hazon.org for free access to this resource.
  • Ongoing phone and email consultation and support throughout the year. Our Food Festival staff are available to answer your questions, brainstorm, and make connections, helping to ensure you stay on track and keep the details organized, including staff visiting your site
  • Opportunity for Hazon staff to be presenters at your festival
  • Templates: from marketing materials to your festival booklet, we have all the templates that you will need
  • Content support and key contacts: Festival staff will be able to guide you through the process of developing your program, from reaching out to presenters, to creating well structured panels and workshops

In one of the sessions I had a moment: ‘how proud I was to be Jewish and a part of the group making the world a better place.’ This was a phenomenal experience.
—Food Festival participant
 

 

A Hazon Food Festival energizes your members by:

  • Strengthening your members’ and local community members’ connection to the host and/or sponsoring institutions by giving them a new way to participate in community life
  • Being a platform for innovative education programs for adults and families from DIY workshops and  in-depth panel discussions to the shuk and challah bake-offs
  • Spurring a new dialogue about what kosher, or “fit,” food is, and thus renewing members’ sense of excitement about what it means to keep kosher

A Hazon Food Festival brings new individuals and families into your host and/or sponsoring institution by:

  • Opening a welcoming door to unaffiliated Jews
  • Offering a non-traditional way to get involved through planning the festival and/or participating
  • Creating opportunities for community-building as people of all faiths might be presenters during the festival

A Hazon Food Festival strengthens your host and/or sponsoring institution by:

  • Placing your institution at the cutting edge of contemporary food issues that are important to your members, prospective members, and the local community
  • Offering new marketing and fundraising opportunities as you reach out to individuals who care deeply about health, environment, and food issues
  • Building a new cadre of lay leaders as the planning team develops and runs the program
  • Offering a new way to engage your Hebrew school students and families in synagogue programming
  • Raising your institutional profile through media coverage. Jewish and secular press have covered the current Food Festivals

The people and the energy, the fun, the passion, that’s what I love about this.
—Food Festival participant
 

 

Since 2006, the Hazon Food Conference has been the central gathering place for the new Jewish Food Movement. The rich and varied sessions are both engaging for people who are already knowledgeable about the intersection of contemporary food issues and Jewish life as well as accessible to those with no prior knowledge of the subject. The program includes multiple learning formats from lectures, panels, and presentations to do-it-yourself workshops and chevruta (small group) learning using Jewish texts.

I liked the diversity of the topics being presented. It was very nice to customize my day by picking the presentations that were of high interest to me.
—Food Festival participant
 

 

For more programming ideas, view a full list of past Food Conference sessions here.

 

Interested in starting a Hazon Food Festival in your community? Contact us at foodfestivals@hazon.org.