The BJFC is an annual springtime event that brings together community members from all over New England to learn about Jewish agriculture, labor issues, health, food access, kashrut and local food history.
Sunday April 3, 2016 at Congregation Shaarei Tefillah in Newton Centre.
Our focus this year is on the whole system, and how in the age of industry, feeding millions and often lacking in transparency, we are pieces of this great puzzle. What are the inputs, outputs and ramifications of our food choices? In an effort to nourish our bodies and whole selves, we’ll examine the people, places, and systems that supply us with our food.
- Answers to our Frequently Asked Questions!
- Our workshop line-up!
- Shuk and Silent Auction happenings!
- Our conference runs with support at various levels from many community organizations and businesses. See our 2016 sponsors here.
2015 Boston Jewish Food Conference
Sunday March 8, 2015 from 1:00-7:00pm
Hosted at Congregation Kehillath Israel
Our focus was Food Justice: What is it and what can I do? Our first round of workshops laid the foundation, on an individual, communal and policy level about what influences our food choices, and what their impact is on others. The second and third round of workshops emphasized “what can I do?” and we provided a variety of examples of what and how people are doing and working through various aspects of how they prioritize food justice. You can see the full listing of our 2015 workshops and presenters here.
Our day was spent looking at the many factors that impact what we eat and explored the interplay between these variables in order to understand the basic foundation of our diets. Our Jewish identities and values are similarly influenced by factors at multiple levels. We seek to recognize that the foods we eat are not always a product of free choice; constraints like economic and social inequalities prevent many people from having the freedom to make food choices. As Jewish food consumers, we hope to engage with these issues and learn where we can fit in to the work being done to create a more just and equitable food system.
Our Shuk (marketplace) featured dinner prepared by conference participants, do-it-yourself sessions, advocacy opportunities, tabling by community organizations as well as our silent auction.
Sincere appreciation to all our 2015 organizational sponsors!
2014 Boston Jewish Food Conference: Shmita Summit
Hosted at Temple Israel
Shmita literally means “to release” — every seven years the land was allowed to lay fallow, to rest. A Shmita cycle gives us an opportunity to come together and recalibrate to enable a more equitable, just, and healthy society, economy and environment. Reviving the study and application of Shmita is an incredible opportunity to engage with Judaism in a contemporary context with a set of values and practices that prompts paradigm shifting. The next Shmita year begins Rosh Hashanah 5775, September 2014. Our program included:
- A Shmita Seder in the context of upcoming Passover Seder
- Breakout groups allowing the opportunity to interpret and apply Shmita principles to our local synagogues, businesses, personal lifestyles and community consciousness.
- Shuk (marketplace) featuring cooking demonstrations and food sales
- Do-it-yourself sessions
- Advocacy opportunities and tabling by community agencies and organizations
2013 Boston Jewish Food Conference
Hosted at Tufts Hillel
Our Beit Midrash, co-led by Rabbi Toba Spitzer and Rabbi Natan Margalit asked:
What constitutes a responsible Jewish food ethic today?
What does Jewish tradition have to teach us about sustainability, justice, and mindful eating?
After lunch participants were invited to explore and engage in study and discussion of Jewish texts incorporating their own values and experiences. We included traditional, historical and contemporary sources, exploring issues of labor rights, environment and health. The only prerequisite for study was that you eat on a regular basis! You can see the 2013 BJFC Beit Midrash source sheets [PDF] (please credit us and let us know if you use them in your teaching).
Hosted at Hebrew College
How do Jewish traditions of dietary laws, agriculture and religion intersect with the modern pleasures and perils of sustainable food policy?
Our first annual event brought together 200 people interested in food, cuisine, agriculture, labor, business, health, access, history and religious practice for a full day of workshops, community Shuk (market) and Kosher, locally sourced dinner.
Click here to see pictures of this first ever event!