Thursday, March 19, 2020 | 23rd Adar 5780 Dear All, First: my heart goes out to everyone. This is unbearably painful. People are in hospital. People are losing their lives. People are losing their jobs. People are losing their savings. People are afraid. And as I wrote last week, Hazon is one of the organizations most directly impacted by this. We are especially exposed because we have had to close Isabella Freedman, our retreat center, for at least two months, and have thus lost all our revenue from the busiest time of the year. We’re reviewing options right now, from a tight place. (We’re writing separately to people to whom we will be returning retreat deposits. Some of you will feel unable to do so, and we will understand that, but to the extent that you are able to donate some or all of your deposits – we would appreciate that enormously.) I also want to let you know that we have begun gathering community resources for both inside and outside activities at hazon.org/stuckinside. We’re curating there all sorts of things to watch, to read, and to do. Check it out and bookmark it. But as well as coping with […]
Twenty five governors have joined the U.S. Climate Alliance. This coalition is taking on-the-ground actions to implement policies that advance the goals of the Paris Agreement, aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025. If your state is in the list below, your governor has already taken the important step of joining the Alliance. Make sure to thank them! But there’s also more work to be done. Climate Alliance states are working to identify best practices to reduce GHG emissions and increase resilient carbon sequestration. Call the Governor of your state and ask them to embrace the potential of regenerative farming practices like cover cropping, investing in perennials, and reduced tillage. Whether or not they are already a member of the USCA, they need to hear that you think food and farming can be a big part of the climate solution! Current USCA Member States: CA, CO, CT, DE, HI, IL, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, NV, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OR, PA, PR, RI, VT, VA, WA, WI. Find your Governor’s contact information here.
by Renee Ghert-Zand Every year, Ramah campers leave at the end of the summer having learned new things that they can incorporate into their lives at home. It could be more Hebrew, how to chant Torah, or how to do a layup on the basketball court. In the last decade, campers have also been coming away with a heightened awareness and deeper understanding about where their food comes from, and how their eating choices impact their bodies and the environment. “We are trying to lift the veil on where our food comes from,” said Rabbi Eliav Bock, director of Ramah in the Rockies, one of the Ramah camps at the forefront of making its food sourcing more transparent and helping children and young adults make more informed decisions in nurturing themselves and taking care of the earth. Ramah camps, as well as the USY on Wheels summer program, are increasingly incorporating experiential educational opportunities for learning about concepts like organic farming, ethically sourced meat, fair trade practices, farm to table eating, waste reduction, and composting — all couched within the outstanding Conservative Jewish educational framework for which these summer programs are known. A number of the Ramah camps have […]
Deadline January 13th Want to ensure a more sustainable food and farm future? Take action and help us encourage USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to prioritize what’s best for farmers and natural resources! NRCS is currently accepting public comments (input from farmers and concerned citizens like you!) on the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) interim final rule through January 13, 2020. CSP was established by Congress to reward farmers who implement advanced conservation systems that comprise truly sustainable agriculture. Unfortunately, the recent interim final rule undermines this purpose of CSP. Now it’s up to us “ag-vocates” to make sure that this vital conservation program is not weakened during the farm bill implementation process. Learn more and submit a comment here. and Support Justice for Farmworkers The Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2019, HR 5038, passed in the House of Representatives in December and now awaits a vote in the Senate. The bill overhauls the current H2A guestworker program and would make 40,000 new green cards available to full-time agricultural workers. “Achieving compromise on complex, polarizing labor-management and immigration issues was possible because of the wide recognition that farmworkers are essential to our nation’s food and agriculture systems,” said Bruce Goldstein, President […]
Wednesday, November 27, 2019 | 29th Cheshvan 5780 Dear Hazon, This year at our JOFEE Network Gathering we learned about Joanna Macy, and her concept of “active hope.” She’s an 80-something eco-philosopher, Christian I think by background; a world apart, on the face of it, from Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, who is English and Jewish and a generation younger. And yet what she teaches about active hope jibed for me with what Rabbi Sacks has taught about hope in Jewish tradition. Each of them, in different ways, argues that hope is a choice, not a feeling. Optimism is the presumption that things will be better. Hope is the determination, the leaning in, to help make things better. So: this has been a hard year in many ways. I have lived my adult life in three countries – the UK, Israel, and the US – and this year it has too frequently felt like a mad and bizarre competition amidst the three of them as to which could melt down the most: “Our Prime Minister is having to give up the four different ministries he holds (!) because he’s just been indicted for corruption (!!).” “You were lucky!! Of all things, the Financial Times (!) had an op-ed titled ‘Boris Johnson’s […]
A gritty but incredibly important process called ‘appropriations’ is currently being hammered out between the House and Senate agriculture committees. Encourage your representatives to fully fund programs that support sustainable agriculture! Read on to find out how you can spend five minutes making your voice heard. What’s going on with agricultural appropriations? At the beginning of summer, the House passed an agriculture spending bill with lots of wins in it for sustainable agriculture. The Senate passed their ag spending bill last week, which doesn’t support as many of our priorities. Now, the two bills are being combined into one through a process called Conference. This is a great time to weigh in to make sure that the wins from the House version end up in the final bill! Priorities: Along with our partners at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, we are asking for support for: Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program – $45 million Food Safety Outreach Program – $10 million Farming Opportunities Training and Outreach Program – $10 million Local Agriculture Market Program – $20.4 million FSA Direct and Guaranteed Loans – Level Funding Conservation Technical Assistance – $741.36 million Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network – $10 million […]
This is our last formal email before Rosh Hashanah. The year ends, the year begins. For Hazon, the year just ending is one of immense gratitude. One says that so lightly, as if it were obvious, but it is absolutely genuine.
Sadly I wasn’t at the New York Ride last weekend – because we didn’t do one this year. But I send love and gratitude to anyone who ever participated in the Ride, or led the Ride, or funded one of our riders.
Friday, August 23, 2019 | 22 Av 5779Dear All,It’s summertime. This email is full of gratitude and the inspiration to strive to do good in the world.Years ago I learned from Anna Hanau this line from one of her teachers – you know you’re on the right track when your solution to one problem solves a bunch of other ones.That’s true of our work in Michigan, epitomized by the Hazon Michigan Jewish Food Festival – and last weekend we held our fourth, the largest and most successful yet, with over 7,000 people. We’re helping to drive change. We’re helping Jewish organizations to become more sustainable, including the now 20 who are in our Hazon Seal of Sustainability program from the Detroit region. We’re strengthening local food systems. We’re playing a not insignificant role in helping to reconnect the suburbs and the city, and the Jewish community and the African American community, and we’re especially proud of the work we’ve done in supporting Oakland Avenue Urban Farm. And we’re doing all this with love and celebration and Jewish groundedness and openness. So: real gratitude. Huge thanks to our staff and funders, to all our partner organizations, to our volunteers and helpers, to all the purveyors and […]
by Sarah Rockford, JOFEE Fellow Cohort 4, Maine Jewish Food Network at Colby College Center for Small Town Jewish Life – Waterville, ME Parshat Eikev Fourteen years ago I read from parshat Eikev as a bat mitzvah. As I stood on the bimah and chanted my way through the aliyot, I reflected briefly that the eleventh-hour cramming I’d done over the past hours seemed to be paying off, but reading the final aliyah my concentration waivered, and I lost my place in the scroll. I continued to chant the Hebrew words I’d memorized while theatrically moving the lost yad along the rows of letters on the parchment. When I ran out of words in my head I stopped chanting and shot a desperate look at the rabbi—hoping he would reorient me so I could finish the portion. Our eyes met, he smiled, and congratulated me. I’d finished the aliyah from memory without realizing, and no one was the wiser for my mistake. Relieved and full of adrenaline I started to cry as the congregation began to sing Siman Tov U’Mazal Tov. I believe everyone thought I was having a profound spiritual moment, but these were tears of relief. I was just happy the […]
Nine years have passed since the USDA Farm to School Grant Program was successfully launched in 2010, and school food service providers still find it tough to access locally grown foods. Despite increased connectivity to farmers, logistical and cost hurdles still keep many schools from sourcing local. With all the abundance of summer harvests, many growers would love to grow for schools. Caitlin Frame, who co-owns the Milkhouse in Monmouth, ME, has had success. “I find that to be the most exciting thing that we’re doing right now – trying to get our yogurt into school systems.” But it hasn’t come without challenges. It is kind of hard to track down the right people at these schools,” Caitlin says. For farmers who face other structural barriers, selling to schools is even more complicated. It is time to prioritize beginning, veteran, and socially disadvantaged farmers in farm to school initiatives. Now is our chance! Congress is beginning to draft the next Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization (CNR), and they need to hear from you! This is our opportunity to make it easier for schools to source local food and provide funding for innovative projects like school gardens and seasonal vegetable taste-testing that […]
by Hannah Fine – Hazon Detroit Parshat Shelach In parshat Shelach, Moses sent twelve spies to scout out the land of Canaan and report back to the Israelites. All of the spies returned with the same objective report. It was a land of milk and honey brimming with fruit and sustenance. There were grapes, and figs, and pomegranates which they even brought back to show Moses and the Israelites. The spies also reported that the inhabitants of the land were mighty and intimidating. While all twelve spies saw the same land and shared the same observations, they were split between two opposing conclusions. Ten of the spies were convinced that the formidability of the inhabitants meant certain demise for the Israelites. Doom was a foregone conclusion so it was not even worth trying. The other two spies, Caleb and Joshua, had a different interpretation. They were confident that, despite the strength of the peoples and societies in Canaan, the Israelites could overcome it. Caleb and Joshua contended that the greatness of the Promised Land was worth the challenge. At Hazon Detroit, we are working to overcome a formidable structure that exists in our land: the lopsided nature Michigan’s grain industry. […]
Rabbi Nate DeGroot gave the following sermon at St. John’s Evangelist Temple of Truth in Detroit, MI on Sunday, June 16, 2019, right next to Oakland Avenue Urban Farm, one of Hazon Detroit’s main partners. Jerry Hebron, Executive Director and Founder of Oakland Avenue Farm grew up at this church, as her mom has been the Reverend there for decades. Rabbi DeGroot’s sermon served as an invitation to Hazon Detroit’s Breaking Bread Together program happening Sunday, June 23, and was teaching about the role of bread and breaking bread together within the Jewish tradition. Good morning! And thank you all so much for having me here. My name is Rabbi Nate DeGroot and it is truly an honor to be here with you. Reverend Carter, I want to thank you for welcoming me so warmly into this beautiful community To join with you in praise this morning And to offer some words of Torah, some words of Jewish teaching from my tradition. Jerry, I’d also like to thank you for connecting me with your mom, and for being such a meaningful support and advocate for me this year. I stand here today with you as a representative of Hazon Detroit, […]
Hazon is now an allied member of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. As a coalition member, Hazon joins a diverse range of organizations in supporting food and farm policies that build a healthier and more sustainable world. NSAC members rely on the coalition’s expert staff on Capitol Hill to let us know when and how we can be most effective advocates so that we can each focus on what we do best. The Stone Barns Center can focus on farmer-driven cuisine; The Humane Society can focus on animal rescue; The Practical Farmers of Iowa can focus on farmer-led conservation research; and Hazon can focus on renewing Jewish life via the land – all while being in relationship with the representatives and policies that affect our work in every imaginable way. The recommendations you find in our Food and Farm Policy Updates and Action Alerts here on the blog will largely be informed by the recommendations of our partners at The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. We are grateful to live in a world where, despite the steep difficulties we face, diverse groups of motivated individuals join together in solidarity to build on one another’s strengths and to create the world we know […]
Happy Earth Day! We want to celebrate by honoring the institutions that were awarded the Hazon Seal of Sustainability in 2018. Read on to learn about some of the awesome projects they have implemented this past year. Every organization is at a different place in their sustainability journey, and we encourage you to check out the list to get inspired by these Hazon Seal Sites! Adat Shalom Synagogue Ramah in the Rockies (Denver, CO)- Composting and education, Organic and fair trade beverages, Farm-to-table foods Congregation Nevei Kodesh (Boulder, CO)- 50% energy reduction via LED lights, boiler upgrade, automatic switches & plugging of leaks, Bike-to-shul event & bike racks installation, Vegetable gardens Hillel at Colorado State University (Fort Collins, CO)- Bike workshops, donation and rack installation, Insulation changes, Cloth napkins for all Shabbat meals, saving 2k paper napkins yearly Edlavitch DCJCC (Washington, DC)- Gardening program, Signage, Sustainability presentations Edlavitch DCJCC Temple Solel (Hollywood, FL)- Plastic-free events, Energy saving programs, King Tide event, Vegetarian Potluck for Parshat Noah, Sustainability education and events UChicago Hillel (Chicago, IL)- Composting, Community Education, Food donation, Green Shabbats Jewish Community of Louisville (Louisville, KY)- Recycling and Composting, Healthy snacks, Styrofoam reduction JCC of Louisville […]