The Hazon Food Conference was held at the Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove, CA, on December 25th - 28th. It brought together over 550 people to discuss contemporary jewish food issues. How do we grow our food, how do prepare our food, how do we buy our food, and how do we eat our food?
The momentum is growing, food issues are taking a place at the table of what we are as jews. Being that these issues aren't solely jewish it is encouraging that we as a people are doing our best to be a light in this movement.
One of my focuses in coming to the conference was to introduce ADVA Dairy to folks who haven't heard of us. This was successful. I received a tremendous amount of positive feedback on what we are doing and offers of help to continue growing. I also came to share the realization I have had as a dairy farmer. This insight is that dairy produces meat. As we breed our does every season to replenish the milk supply we are too gifted many new goats. Of these new goats many tend to be male and the need for male goats on a dairy farm is low. These male goats are raised on pasture till the fall/winter at which time they are transformed into meat. I feel it is my responsibility to raise this awareness so consumers are allowed to make educated decisions on how they feed themselves.
The sessions that spoke most to me revolved around meat. Who grows it, how do they grow it, how do they transform it into meat, and what is kosher? To have the opportunity to hear Rav Mandel of the OU (head mashgiach in national slaughterhouses) sitting at the table with Rabbi Morris Allen from Magen T'zedek speak honestly to the issues of workers' right and ethical meat was extremely powerful.
The picture on the left is of me embracing two of my mentors. Rabbi Jacob Fine (Left) and The Housatonicer Rebbe, Shamu Sadeh. Both are pioneers, teachers, farmers, and mentches. The second picture is of me taking notes of questions asked by participants during my panel, Beyond the Supermarket: Alternative Meat Production. Deep gratitude to Sabrina "queen bee" Malach for the photos.