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Thinking About: Food for Hazon’s Food Conference

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For those of you wondering what will be on the menu at the 3rd annual Hazon Food Conference in Asilomar in December, as the person leading the volunteer food committee, I can tell you this: there will be food at the food conference. And it will be good. Beyond that, it’s hard to say, since we’re still working out the details of the menu.

However, I did want to raise “the meat issue,” because it’s what been occupying my thoughts a lot lately. When the conference’s volunteer Executive Committee met earlier this month for a planning retreat at the conference site, most everyone agreed that we should serve meat at the conference in order to show that it’s possible to get kosher, sustainably-raised meat. Except it seems that it isn’t – at least not in California. Shipping it from the East Coast is prohibitively expensive and not a very sustainable practice. But right now, it does not really exist here on the Left Coast.

With six months lead time (the Food Conference is Dec 25-28, 2008), we are hoping to find a way to make it all work out. How this will happen, I’m not sure.  But I’m relieved to have two competent people who volunteered to take this on with me because this non-kosher keeping, non-meat eater has been thinking about meat way too much for her liking lately.Relatedly, my copy of San Francisco Magazine came yesterday, and it’s the annual food issue. Inside is a big feature about how there aren’t enough slaughterhouses in the Bay Area to make our meat truly local – and asking how local can meat be if it must be shipped miles away to the slaughterhouse? At another point in my life, I’m sure I would have skipped over that article. Not now.

There is also an article about how conventional farmers are beginning to see the benefits of going organic. Of course many of them are motivated by dollar signs, but never mind. The fact that Marin County is the first all organic county in the country is causing it to be known for something other than it’s hot tubs (sorry, that reference is so 1970s…) Both articles are worth reading. And as for the food conference menu, stay tuned.

More updates about what will actually be served at the conference will appear here soon.

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5 Responses to “Thinking About: Food for Hazon’s Food Conference”

  1. Anthony Silverbrow Says:

    I suppose – in a very roundabout sort of way – it’s a relief to see that you have as many problems getting decent quality kosher meat in Cal. as we do in the UK.

  2. Ilana Says:

    Why not make the point that if you can’t source it locally, don’t eat it at all?

  3. Celia Menczel Says:

    Hi, In my mind, it is unethical to kill any of God’s creatures, especially for our own greed; it is entirely unnecessary for most people to eat dead flesh.
    And, no matter how humanely? one kills an animal, that animal suffers beforehand…which is absolutely not part of my concept of Judaism.
    I would have hoped that a spiritual organization, like yours, would have omitted it from a food conference.
    I may sound radical but in reality, I’m a retired nurse, with a love of animals, who tries to walk a middle path.
    Shalom,
    Celia

  4. Simcha Daniel Burstyn Says:

    How far afield is ok? Would kosher, organic, grass-fed bison from Colorado be ok? Or venison from Idaho?

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