Since 2014, the organization Hazon has been the leading voice of environmental sustainability in Judaism. Though not specifically a food-related organization, it has also become the de facto leader of the rising Jewish Food Movement, combining spirituality and healthy, green eating. And with a new merger completed, Hazon has big plans as it begins the year.
The organization was founded by Nigel Savage in 2000. Savage, a British-born Jew and former finance fund manager in London, gave up his Wall Street-style life to bicycle across the US and encourage others to do the same. The first Hazon event was the Cross-USA Jewish Environmental Bike Ride, ending at the White House. They still sponsor annual mass bike rides in New York, Northern California, and a 300-mile trek in Israel.
According to its website, Hazon’s mission is to “create healthier and more sustainable communities in the Jewish world and beyond” in three ways: transformative experiences, thought-leadership, and capacity building.
A large part of that is food policy and practice. Hazon sponsors more than 60 Community-Supported Agriculture groups (CSAs) across the US, Canada, and Israel. Participants pay to receive weekly deliveries of fresh produce directly from farms, benefiting both consumers and small farmers. It is the largest faith-based CSA program in America.
Their annual Food Conference offers a whole weekend of events for chefs, foodies, and writers, and smaller Food Festivals have spread throughout the country to California, Denver, and Philadelphia. And Hazon’s award-winning food blog The Jew and The Carrot is now a thriving partnership with the Jewish Daily Forward.
The group had been holding events at the Isabella Friedman Jewish Retreat Center in Falls Village, CT since 2004. On January 1, the two organizations officially merged. The Center is home to Adamah, a learning farm with programs and fellowships offered by Hazon. And the next Hazon Food Conference will take place there at the end of the year.