Throughout Chanukah, we’re sharing our “8 sparks of light” providing inspiration and insight into the diversity of people working on a local level for a more transparent and just food system.
Laurie Herschman Heller is originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana and now lives in Somerville with her husband Blake and dog Sophie. She is senior designer at City Year, and enjoys partnering with other mission-based organizations and entrepreneurs for occasional contract graphic design projects.
When did you first get involved in the “Jewish food movement?”
My primary involvement with both Ganei Beantown and the Jewish food movement centers around the Boston Jewish Food Conference (BJFC). Little did I anticipate, the event opened my eyes to new ways of thinking about food, connecting what I buy and eat to my values, and to a robust community of thoughtful people open to sharing insights, ideas, and perspectives. I was energized by the workshops and discussions of the day and felt committed to staying in touch with both Ganei Beantown and the broader values-based food scene. That fall, when attending Ganei Beantown’s Harvest & Tonics event (now Sukkot Harvest Celebration), I met my now husband while we harvested food from the Temple Israel garden and cooked a communal Sukkot meal!
In the years that have followed, I’ve stayed engaged with Ganei Beantown and the BJFC, not only as a participant in programs, but also through my contract graphic design work. I enjoy working with the planning team to craft thematic looks for the BJFC, design promotional materials for Sukkot events, and supply Ganei Beantown with communication materials that reflect its mission.
Ganei Beantown’s programming reminds me of the implicit and explicit decisions I make around food and has broadened my horizons of what makes up the food system in our country.
This awareness feels critical to minimizing my environmental footprint and making choices about food that reflect my social, ethical, and community values.
What’s a good first step?
If you’re curious about getting involved, I strongly recommend the diverse programming offered at the BJFC—you’ll get access to a smorgasbord of ideas and it can be a great launching point for figuring out how you’re most interested in plugging into the Jewish food world.
No guarantees on the future life partner!
If you find Laurie’s story as inspiring as we do, please consider an end of year donation.