The Jew And The Carrot

Three Months After the Farm Bill, Where's the Kosher Food?

By Hody Nemes

Courtesy of Masbia

Buried deep in the Farm Bill are provisions to increase the amount of kosher and halal food the government sends to soup kitchens and food banks. But three months after the bill’s passage, kosher and halal-friendly food agencies are still waiting see whether the USDA’s new program will be effective.

The kosher and halal provisions of the farm bill target the USDA’s Emergency Food Assistance Program, which buys food in bulk and distributes it — free of charge — to food banks and soup kitchens across America. Under the new law, the agency is required to purchase certified kosher and halal products — as long as they cost the same as uncertified food. It must also start tracking the kosher and halal products it buys to ensure the food ends up in places where it is most needed.

“For any family that stands in a soup kitchen line that relies on kosher or halal food, this is a big deal,” said Triada Stampas, senior director of government relations at the Food Bank For New York City, an emergency food provider that serves the more than 1.3 million New Yorkers who don’t have enough to eat. “This carries the potential for greater variety and quantity” of kosher and halal food available at soup kitchens and food banks, she said.

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Hazon Goes to the White House: Food Justice and the Farm Bill

By Liz Kohn

Kristian Whipple
Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Obama, addresses the group.

Last week 12 excited Hazon representatives and 160 other Jewish participants gathered in Washington D.C. as part of the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable (JSJRT), a collection of 21 nonprofits supporting social justice as an essential component of Jewish life. The two-day affair began on Thursday, July 28th with congressional meetings and culminated the following day with the White House Community Leaders Briefing Series, a unique summer-long opportunity for grassroots leaders to engage White House officials and voice issues close to our hearts.

Jon Carson, deputy assistant to the President and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, succinctly articulated the purpose of the series: “I’m not here to talk,” he said. “I’m here to listen about what you’re seeing across the country.” For many in Hazon’s cohort and millions of American Jews, this issue is food justice.

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'Fair Food': How To Do More Than Vote With Your Fork

By Judith Belasco

Courtesy of Fair Food Network

Check back on Wednesday for an editorial on “Fair Food” and a podcast with author Oran Hesterman.

My first Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) pick up of fresh, local, organic veggies, is a few days away. In mid-winter, I plunked down $550, signed up for my volunteer slots, and felt good that I was voting with my fork for a healthier, more sustainable food system.

During the 2011 growing season, I’m joined by a network of 56 Hazon CSAs and thousands more CSAs across the country. While I am excited for the season to begin, I’m aware of the many people don’t have access to a CSA or even to a grocery store. According to one USDA study on food deserts, “more than 57 percent of people living in low income neighborhoods have limited physical access to supermarkets or grocery stores.”

Our food system is broken. Joining a CSA is a great first step, and there is more we can do in order to fix it.

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Mixing Bowl: So Long Food Pyramid, Israeli Recipes, and a Kosher Eataly?

By Devra Ferst

iStock

Serious Eat’s Cook the Book column this week shares some recipes from one of our favorite cookbook’s, Janna Gur’s “The Book of New Israeli Food.” Check out the recipes for flakey cheese bourekas and authentic hummus.

Remember that food pyramid from elementary school? Well, it’s no more. The USDA has announced that it will replace the pyramid with MyPlate, which shows the portions of protein, fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy each meal should contain. Now, let the debate start! Check out what the Atlantic, Eatocracy, Food Politics and the Washington Post have to say. Let us know what you think of the redesign in the comments.

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Mixing Bowl: Kosher Bacon Salt?, Defining Ethical Kashrut and Food Safety on Your Phone

By Devra Ferst

iStock

The Jewish Week shares the story behind a kosher vegetarian bacon salt.

Magen Tzedek, which offers an ethical seal of approval to kosher food producers, responds to a claim by orthodox organization Agudath Israel, that the seal is attempting to change the definition of kashrut. Read both pieces on JTA.

We’re thrilled that you’re a JCarrot reader. But in case you’re ever looking for some no-Jewish foodie news or recipes, check out the great blogs that won Saveur’s 2011 Best of Food Blog Awards.

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Mixing Bowl: Israel's Best Falafel, USDA's Food Desert Locator, A High-End Egg Cream

By Devra Ferst

The humble egg cream is making an appearance after dinner and before dessert at Eleven Madison Park in New York City, says T Magazine. The fancy restaurant finishes their rendition of the classic with ” a splash of olive oil…[from] a silver oil can from Tiffany.”

Foreign Policy recently released it’s first-ever food issue. It includes stories on “the food wars of the 21st century, debunks the conventional wisdom about hunger and poverty, shows us 10 ways we really are what we eat, and asks leading experts to predict the future of food.”

Some say, the best falafel in Israel is in Haifa’s Wadi Nisnas neighborhood. Food Bridge gives us a tour of the best spots. One diner at Michel’s falafel commented, “I would never eat falafel anywhere else…It’s like a religion.”

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Post-Passover: USDA Hosts First Food and Justice Seder

By Judith Belasco

Courtesy JFSJ
Rabbi Jack Moline listens as Rabbi Dara Frimmer relates the symbolism of matzo to modern-day hunger and poverty in America.

Most of us know that Pesach is observed for eight nights. But when the United States Department of Agriculture chooses to celebrate and support the Jewish Food Movement, Pesach can, indeed, be extended one day longer. Fifty-five leaders from the Jewish Food Movement and representatives of United States Department of Agriculture gathered in Washington last Wednesday at USDA Headquarters on the National Mall for the USDA’s first-ever Food & Justice Passover Seder.

With a special Hagaddah published for the Seder by co-hosts Jewish Funds for Justice and the Progressive Jewish Alliance, the ritual meal focused on reflections on hunger and access to healthy food, the rights of food workers, sustainable food, eating intentionally, and taking actions to address injustice in our food production and distribution system.

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