The Jew And The Carrot

Eating Your Ideals at the Green Israel Summit

By Liore Milgrom-Elcott

  • Print
  • Share Share

An environmentalist to my core, I tend to notice the use of disposable plates that are piled into landfills, the bowl of Washington apples when New York produces its own, the summer fruit salad in January and the typical plate of pasta at events – the only vegetarian option available. Needless to say, I’ve learned to travel with granola bars.

Courtesy of David Krantz

But this past weekend I was one of an intimate crowd gathered at Eden Village Camp for the Green Zionist Alliance’s fourth annual Green Israel Summit. This was my third weekend program at Eden Village – the brand new Jewish summer camp and retreat center that has sustaining the Earth at its core. Each time I visit, I’m content to see an organization that carries its values into its actions.

Though our conversations were generally focused on responses to the mega-challenges such as food justice, global climate change, Zionism and a sustainable Israel, we saw the power and potential of individual actions within our weekend community. It was made clear by the parade of food from the kitchen. Each meal was good for the earth, the workers (farmers and chef) and us – the consumers. They were small, delicious actions that modeled the possibilities of a lived sustainable ideal.

The food we consumed was primarily vegan, organic and local whenever possible, reducing the “food miles” and the associated carbon emissions. Most of the produce came literally from the farms next door to Eden Village. Some participants/panelists (namely, Jonathan Dubinsky) who brought greens and hot peppers from Teva Learning Center’s farm on Long Island, came with their harvest to share with the community. And on Sunday, the GIS participants participated in 350.org’s 10/10/10 day of Global Climate Action by getting close to the ground to both plant and harvest the season’s crops.

Farmers weren’t the only ones involved with getting the food to our tables. In the dining hall, we got to know Michael, the tattooed Queens native chef for whom words like [cholent] (http://www.forward.com/articles/103368/) now casually roll off his tongue after working at Eden Village’s camp this summer. He said coming back to the to cook for the conference was like a “return home.”

Some of my favorites food items from the weekend:
Organic quinoa salad that was dotted with red peppers grown approximately 200 feet from the kitchen.

Organic, artisanal challah made by Bread Alone in the nearby Catskills mountain range with homemade techina, spiced with dill and other wonders from the farm.

No-waste vegan chocolate banana pudding with tofu. Hazon’s New York Jewish Environmental Bike Ride stopped through Eden Village and we donated our leftover bananas to the camp. Though Eden Village doesn’t purchase bananas – it’s better to use than to waste! - they froze the tropical treats, making for a delicious Shabbat dessert!

And no experience at a camp – be it with campers or activists – would be complete without a Saturday night campfire. But what are vegans to roast? Even the standard Kosher marshmallows have fish gelatin. Fortunately, the organizers of the GZA were able to find vegan marshmallows! I was seriously concerned that they would not puff and brown as marshmallows must – but they met the needs of the marshmallow purists and s’more devotees alike.

With the goals of engaging, challenging and action-provoking discourse, provided nourishment for the body, soul and intellect, accomplished the weekend was a valuable lived lesson on sustainable, nourishing eating.

Liore Milgrom-Elcott is Chief of Staff at Hazon and is devoted to the arts of backyard gardening and home-style cooking.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: GZA, Eden Village

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.