On a recent Friday afternoon, 32 seventh-graders from San Francisco’s Brandeis Hillel Day School piled into a yellow school bus for a rather unusual field trip. Instead of heading to the zoo or a science museum, they went to the supermarket. With Jewish values on food and sustainability as their guide, students cased the aisles of local Trader Joe’s and Safeway stores to discover what products were available that met their social and environmental standards.
The field trip, conducted with the California office of Hazon, complemented the food curriculum that Samantha Zadikoff’s seventh grade class has been exploring this year. Food, rituals around food, distinctions about what is ‘kosher”, and the implications of who grows our food, where it comes from, what it’s fed, and what’s sprayed on it have been their through-lines to connect daily life with Jewish values.
Food plays an important role in Judaism and in the First Narayever community. Food brings people together, connects us, and is an important part of holiday traditions and life cycles.
In 2006 the First Narayever Congregation launched the first Jewish Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program in Toronto in partnership with Everdale Organic Farm and Environmental Learning Centre. In 2008, we joined Hazon’s world-wide network of Jewish CSAs. This inspired us to look at what more we could do in our community.