2015 Workshops

Our focus this year is Food Justice: What is it and what can I do? Our first round of workshops will be laying 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 will emphasize “what can I do?” and we’ll provide a variety of examples of what and how people are doing and working through various aspects of how they prioritize food justice.

1:15-2:30

The State of Food Justice in Boston: Who is Most Impacted?

In this session, we will discuss the ways injustice in the food system plays out for individuals and families living in Boston, including data on health outcomes, geographic access to healthy food and economic and racial factors impacting food and nutrition. The session will also include an opportunity for participants to explore an interactive scenario examining the factors and tradeoffs facing low-income families in Boston struggling to access affordable, healthy food.

  • Maura Ackerman currently serves as a Project Manager in the Chronic Disease Prevention and Control Division of the Boston Public Health Commission, the local health department for the City of Boston. She holds a dual-Master’s degree from Tufts University – an MPH in Community Health and MS from the Friedman School’s Agriculture, Food and Environment program. In her role at BPHC, she collaborates with community and clinical partners to promote healthy eating and active living among all of Boston’s residents, particularly the most vulnerable. Working on policy, systems, and environmental change to make the healthy choice the easy choice, Maura contributes to BPHC’s work to eliminate health inequities in Boston specifically around obesity, hypertension, and diabetes outcomes. She worked previously as the Coordinator of Healthy Food Access Initiatives at the Bowdoin Street Health Center in Dorchester, promoting sustainable shifts in the community’s foodscape. Through her past and present work around the Greater Boston Area, she has developed a broad understanding of the role that the government, healthcare, education, and non-profit sectors play in building healthy and equitable communities.
  • Aliza Wasserman advocates for policies that promote health equity with the Boston Public Health Commission, where she has worked as a Policy Analyst for the past 6 years. She received joint Masters degrees in food policy and public health from Tufts University in 2009 and worked on the 2008 Farm Bill with the Community Food Security Coalition. Aliza was the co-founder of the Moishe Kavod House Farm to Shul initiative in 2008 and has blogged at Civil Eats, The Jew and the Carrot and US Food Policy Blog. She lives in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston and spends her free time cooking, wonking out on politics, and building a progressive Jewish social justice community.

The Dynamics of Small Scale Kashrut

In the age of an industrialized food system, how do we understand supervision, transparency, kashrut, community and business profit? As consumers, where do we fit in? What does it take to affect change? Come prepared to learn and discuss.

  • Robert Friedman is the owner of Robariah Farms, a small-scale poultry farm in Western Massachusetts specializing in pasture-raised, organically fed, kosher chicken. Since 2012, Robariah Farms has served as a local source for sustainable, kosher chicken and duck eggs for local and regional groceries, restaurants, and its own CSA members. Robert and his wife Shemariah met at Adamah in 2004.
  • Avi Shemtov is the Chef and Owner at The Chubby Chickpea Food Truck, a certified KVH Kosher food truck and catering company. In addition to his work in his own restaurant, Avi has consulted on and helped launch various other restaurant brands and has written ‘The Single Guy Cookbook’, to be released July 2015. Besides food, Avi’s passions include his family, sports, HBO and board games. 
  • Rabbi Dani Passow is a rabbi and educator at Harvard Hillel. A graduate of Cooper Union’s engineering school and formerly a researcher in chemistry and bio-engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, Dani has studied in a number of yeshivot in Israel, including Yeshivat Har Etzion and Yeshivat Maale Gilboa and received his rabbinic ordination from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah in New York as a Wexner Graduate Fellow. Dani served as rabbinic consultant for the Sukkah City design competition in Union Square, NY in the fall of 2010 and from 2010-211 directed the Tav HaYosher— a non-profit program of Uri L’Tzedek, which certifies and promotes kosher eating establishments that treat employees fairly. He lectures and writes frequently about Judaism and social justice and was awarded the 2010 Whizin Prize for Jewish ethics. 

Addressing Food Justice through Public Policy Work: Ongoing Initiatives and Opportunities for Civic Engagement

Food justice can be addressed through public policy work. In this session, a panel of three policy expertsand practitioners will discuss ongoing initiatives to address food justice at the city, state, and federal level. Each presenter will highlight relevant work from their respective organization and discuss examples of best practices around the country. Participants will have the opportunity to learn how public policy is used as a tool to address food justice issues, and how they can get involved to help foster a more just food system.

  • Elena Mihaly is a Legal Fellow and Attorney in Conservation Law Foundation’s (“CLF”) Healthy Communities and Environmental Justice Program. She works primarily on policy development for CLF’s Farm & Food Initiative, but is also involved with CLF’s transportation policy work and climate change litigation. Elena helped launch and is now the Coordinator of CLF’s Legal Services Food Hub – a pro bono legal services clearinghouse for farmers and food entrepreneurs. Elena holds both a J.D. and a Masters in Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School. 
  • Gabriella Mora, Senior Associate, Policy and Government Affairs, has been with The Food Trust since 2011. She currently manages ​local, state and federal policy objectives aimed at increasing the availability and affordability of healthy foods in underserved communities across the country. Policy priorities include the federal Healthy Food Financing Initiative, SNAP-Ed, the Pennsylvania State Food Purchase Program, and Farm to School. Gabriella also actively supports the grant writing and research endeavors of the organization and has expertise in nutrition education, emergency food systems, healthy food incentives and coalition building. She holds an MPH from Temple University’s Department of Public Health and was awarded the ​Department’s Young Alumni Award in 2013 for her commitment to the field​ of Public Health​.
  • Michelle Volpe has 20 years of experience at Boston Community Capital, a non-profit organization whose mission is to help create healthy communities where low-income people live and work, structuring financial transactions for charter schools, social service providers, grocery store operators and non-profit and for-profit real estate developers across New England and the Mid-Atlantic. In her role as Loan Fund President, she manages a nine person team, a loan portfolio of approximately 100 loans and net loan exposure of approximately $100 million. Michelle was a Morehead Scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she received her B.A. with honors in History, and she holds a Master’s degree from Yale’s School of Management. Michelle is a resident of Somerville, MA.

The How To of Squash – Kitchen

Join Chef Jim Solomon of Fireplace Restaurant in the kitchen to explore the world of squash and create a Local Squash, Date and Chickpea Stew over Israeli Couscous.

  • Chef Jim Solomon’s culinary career started at age 12 when he pleaded for a job at Pacos Taco’s in Harvard Square to afford more of his beloved after-school snacks. In September 2001 he opened The Fireplace in Brookline, focusing on the marriage of food and integrity- serving offerings that embrace the region with thoughtfulness towards the environment, the community and the causes that matter most. He has recently been exploring cholent, the old Eastern Euproean classic, and is interested in hearing your family stories!

2:45-4:00

In Every Generation: Kosher-minded Bubbies, Civil Rights Lawyers, and Jewish Food Justice Organizing Today

What issues inspire you to take action? Which issues inspired your grandparents? In this session, we will explore Jews’ role, historically and overtime, in social movements (including foodie ones!). Join us for a series of participatory and creative group activities that illuminate story-based community organizing basics and tools. Together we will examine the role of our personal and community narratives in shaping our individual and collective identities as social justice-inspired Jews, and talk about how to help create change on the food justice and other issues we care about.

  • Davida Ginsberg is a community organizer, educator, urban grower, and ukulele player. She is the Manager of the Self-Advocacy department at Rosie’s Place, a shelter for women experiencing poverty and homelessness. Additionally, she is an alum of the JOIN for Justice Jewish Organizing Fellowship and holds a certificate in nonprofit management and leadership from BU’s School of Management. Outside of work, she helps to build power within the Boston Jewish community in her role as the Development Chair of the Moishe Kavod House.
  • David Schwartz is the co-founder and Campaign Director of Real Food Challenge (RFC), a national student movement to create a more healthy, just and sustainable food system. Through student-led campaigns RFC has won over $75 million in university commitments to purchase from local, ecological, fair and humane farms and food businesses. David leads national youth summits, trainings and days of action, involving more than 100,000 young people on over 300 college campuses each year. David was was named one of Forbes Magazine’s “30 under 30” for 2013 and was previously honored by Variety Magazine and the VH1/Do Something Awards. He has also served on the Board of The Food Project, Inc. and JOIN for Justice. He holds a B.A. in the History of Food, Agriculture and Environmentalism from Brown University.

Making it happen: How Boston Jewish communities are bringing food justice to the center

Thinking about how to engage your congregation and make change? Wondering what to look out for, how to prepare for the challenges and triumphs, oy’s and oy veh’s? Pondering how to get folks to really dig in and make this a priority? In this workshop we’ll hear from three different experiences of making food and environmental justice central in our local Jewish communities. 

  • Art Newman, a graduate of McGill University, has volunteered to mentor recent immigrants and little brothers from the Jewish Big Brother/ Big Sister program and inmates for most of his adult life. In recent years he has been organizing gleaning projects and been empowered to see how these projects can engage folks in food equality and community building. He loves involving his wife and daughters in these projects as it has been a wonderful hands on approach to share his priorities with his family. He is the founder of the vegetable garden at Temple Israel in Sharon where the produce is donated to local food banks. 
  • Helen Bennett is currently the program associate and network weaver at The Jewish Organizing Institute and Network (JOIN) for Justice where she is responsible for recruitment, program support, and growing and supporting JOIN’s network of Jewish organizers. An alumna of the Jewish Organizing Fellowship (2011-12), Helen is passionate about what brings people together. Helen was a long-time Resident Organizer at the Moishe Kavod Jewish Social Justice House where she now holds the post of Spirituality Chair on the Community Board and gets to explore what it means to build the spiritually/Jewishly grounded and social justice based Jewish community that she wants to be a part of. It was at Moishe Kavod House that she worked with the Farm to Shul Team to build their Institutional Purchasing Campaign which developed a Community Food Ketubah for the community. Helen is an alumna of the Adamah Fellowship, studied at Yeshivat Hadar, has led alternative break trips as an educator with Jewish Farm School, and worked with Bend the Arc on their tax reform campaign as a participant on the If I Were a Rich Man Tour.
  • David Wilensky is an attorney with offices in both western MA and Newton. He focuses on philanthropic clients and grant making, along with the representation of nonprofit organizations and charitable foundations, as well as small business clients and commercial and residential real estate transactions. He has served as a municipal Planning Board member and Housing Partnership Committee member, working in part on sustainability issues. He is the chair of YarOK, the environmental committee at Congregation Shaarei Tefillah in Newton and spearheaded a successful effort to make their Shabbat kiddush totally compostable.

Winter Vegetables 101 – Kitchen

Do you find yourself stumped when it comes to cooking with winter vegetables? Join Powisset Cooks culinary educator, Rachel Tali Kaplan in the kitchen to learn fun, easy and delicious ways to prepare winter vegetables. You will excite your palate and expand your cooking repertoire! Potential vegetables to be used in this workshop include Parsnips, Rutabaga, Celery Root and Kohlrabi.

  • Rachel Tali Kaplan is the Farm-Based Education and Outreach Coordinator at Powisset Farm. A decade of farming, informal farm-based education, and countless hours cooking farm fresh delicacies led Rachel to spearhead Powisset Cooks! A year-round farm based culinary program, Powisset Cooks is designed for people who love food and farming. Rachel teaches hands-on, interactive culinary workshops that excite your palate and expand your cooking repertoire. This native Mainer grew her first vegetable as an Adamah fellow and is a graduate of Grinnell College and the Beit Midrash program for Talmud study at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Studies. Rachel has taught at summer camps in Maine and Canada, Hebrew school programs in Iowa and New Jersey and on-farm educational programs in Connecticut and Georgia. Off the farm, Rachel developed curriculum for the Jewish Farm School. Rachel strives to grow and cook amazing food that nourishes communities and creates healthier food systems.

Opportunities and Challenges in Educational Farms and Gardens

How do education and farming support each other, and what are the possibilities of integrating agriculture into education? Our panelists will discuss some of the considerations, challenges and benefits to educational agriculture work.  We will draw on the wisdom of the participants to dig into some hard questions about the tradeoffs associated with educational farming, and touch on agritainment, production farming, nonprofits, and more. We will bring resources to look at and share some favorite garden games. 

  • Erin Taylor lives in Somerville, MA in a house that almost always has something fermenting. She is an alumna of the Adamah Fellowship (2010), FoodCorps (MA 2012), and Tufts University (2010 and 2014) where she recently finished a Masters in Elementary STEM Education. She has worked with youth in public, private, and charter prek-12 schools; farms; an environmental education center; after school programs; and as a basketball coach. She is currently a School Gardens Coordinator for CitySprouts in Cambridge. This winter she’s also working as the School-Based Programs Manager for Mill City Grows in Lowell, MA. In her newfound free time (now that she is no longer a student) she is learning to rock climb, getting involved in community activism, and dreaming up the bar/third space/community kitchen/goat farm she hopes to open in about ten years. 
  • Marla Rhodes has worked at the intersection of nonprofits, agriculture, food, and environmental sustainability for over thirty years.  She has held positions as a food stamp advocate at Project Bread’s Hunger Hotline and as the Cambridge WIC Program Director, and has been involved in helping several nonprofit organizations and community groups get their start (first employee at Red Tomato, helped found Waltham Fields Community Farm, longtime Board Director at the Somerville Community Growing Center, former Garden Coordinator at Bikeway Community Garden). Marla is currently the Volunteer and Development Manager at Waltham Fields Community Farm. She holds a BS in Nutrition from UMass/Amherst and an MS in the Agriculture, Food and Environment program at the Tufts School of Nutrition Science and Policy.

Rabbi! Your Chickens are Loose at the Synagogue Again!

The adventures and misadventures of one Rabbi and his family raising very free range chickens at the schul parsonage. Learn about the rich history and tradition of Jewish flocksters. Hear how raising chickens and other animals strengthens empathy, responsibility, gratitude, wonder, and love. And how it can teach children about life’s greatest mysteries: birth, reproduction, and death. I will also share some of the practicals of DIY and why it is so much better than buying conventionally raised eggs. At the end of the workshop we will taste eggs from the rabbi’s chickens!

  • Rabbi Aaron Philmus has been teaching Jewish Outdoor, Food, and Environmental Education for over fifteen years. He studied human ecology at UMASS Amherst and abroad in Australia and Israel. He received ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary and previously worked at synagogues in San Francisco and Bucks County Pennsylvania. Aaron currently works at Torat Yisrael in Little Rhody and lives at the parsonage with his wife, two kids, and eight chickens. When not working, Aaron can be found playing with his children or his chickens, exploring nature, gardening, playing guitar, and eating his wife Valerie’s delicious food!

4:15-5:30

Three Synagogues Address Their Environmental Impact

Representatives of three Boston-area synagogues affiliated with the Jewish Climate Action Network will tell the stories of how their communities reduced their negative impact on the environment, each in a very different way. Speakers will provide information on the resources they made use of, how things were changed in their synagogue, and the impact of these changes. There will be time for questions and answers.

  • Andy Oram is a supporter of the Jewish Climate Action Network and a member of Temple Shir Tikvah in Winchester,  where he was one of the pioneers bringing it into the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization. An editor and writer when forced to be at technical content provider O’Reilly Media, Andy also blogs regularly on health information technology and other computing topics.
  • Dr. Jeffrey I. Steinfeld is Emeritus Professor of Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Since 1995, he has been affiliated with M.I.T.’s Energy Initiative (MITEI), the M.I.T. Council on the Environment, and the Alliance for Global Sustainability. Since their establishment in 2000, Dr. Steinfeld has been an instructor at the Youth Encounter on Sustainability (Y.E.S.) courses organized by the ETH-Zürich and the AGS. He has served on the Board of the Boston Synagogue and the Executive Committee of Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light.
  • Robert Cooper chairs the Green Committee at Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley which endeavors to make the temple more sustainable, encourage congregants to practice sustainability in their lives, and raise awareness about climate change. Robert has a background in computer technology and sustainability which are both put to good use at his startup company which develops energy efficiency systems for buildings.

Passover: The Activist’s Guide

Passover, when we spotlight oppression and celebrate freedom, could be called the most activist Jewish holiday. In this workshop, we will discuss ways to incorporate today’s most prominent justice issues into both the ritual and the menu of your Passover seder. Drawing on resources from T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, Fair Trade Judaica, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, and Hazon’s own curricula, topic areas will include farmworker’s rights, food justice, modern day slavery, women’s rights, and gay rights.

  • Leah Lazer is the Program Associate in Hazon’s Philadelphia office, where she works to create healthier and more sustainable Jewish communities and plans the Hazon Philadelphia Jewish Food Festival. She earned her B.A. in Food System Studies from Tufts University, where she studied sustainable, equitable approaches to food, nutrition, and agriculture. Originally from western Connecticut by way of Malmö, Sweden, Leah has worked as an environmental educator, Jewish educator, policy researcher, and organic farmer in Boston, MA and Berkeley, CA, where she participated in the Urban Adamah Fellowship in Spring 2013.

The Best of Local Beans and Grains – Kitchen

Get into the kitchen and back to basics with a local chef educator and grain distributor as they prepare two delicious protein packed vegetarian salads! We will work with flavorful herbs and spices to please your palette and fill your belly.

  • Loni Zelfon works as the Community Outreach and Culinary Education Coordinator at Future Chefs. An enthusiast of food, cooking and the conversation surrounding it all, Loni has spent many hours learning and teaching culinary skills. She graduated Boston University with a degree in Nutritional Sciences and went on to receive a certificate in Culinary Arts. Along the way, Loni has cooked in the kitchen of Sel de la Terre, led classes with Cooking Matters and Community Servings as well as trained young chefs at Beaver Country Day Camp.

Advocating for Ethical Food Policy

As engaged citizens and community members we can help create the change we want to see. This session will explore a variety of tactics that individuals and groups can use to be a part of the policies that impact food justice in our communities. Through brainstorming, role play, and an update on the status of several important pieces of policy, participants will leave this session with strategies and information to be used to advocate for more ethical and just food policy.

  • Elizabeth Langevin recently graduated with an MS-Nutrition in Food Policy and a Master of Public Health from Tufts University. She is currently working at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, developing strategies for public health workers and community groups to promote healthy eating and active living. Her interest in food and agriculture stems from participation in Urban Adamah in the spring of 2012 and her years on staff as the lead gardener and garden educator at URJ Camp Kalsman. She loves to ride her bicycle, tend her garden, can and preserve food, and play piano.

Jewish Life on The Land

Jews have a long-standing relationship with the land. While we have seen a resurgent interest in farming and food initiatives in specifically Jewish spaces, this phenomenon is part of a long continuum of Jewish agricultural work and land-based community building in the United States. In this session we will explore the little-known history of Jewish agricultural work in the US and hear from contemporary Jews about their own experiences living off—and with—the land.

  • Etta King weaves her passions for storytelling, teaching, and community building together in her role as Education Program Manager at the Jewish Women’s Archive (JWA) in Brookline, MA. JWA is a web-based organization that documents Jewish women’s stories, elevates their voices, and inspires them to be agents of change. A recent graduate of the Jewish Organizing Fellowship at JOIN for Justice, she also supports and nurtures JWA’s National Educators Network. Etta Earned a B.A. In Education Studies from Brandeis University and studied community development in the Washington Semester Program at American University. In her free time, Etta enjoys cooking, singing protest music, and teaching improvisational theater and Israeli dance in the greater Boston area.
  • Stacey & Craig Oshkello helped birth The Living Tree Alliance in 2010. LTA is forming a multi-generational, residential, Jewish farming community in Vermont’s Mad River Valley. Stacey and Craig enjoy spending time with their children, growing food, and walking in the woods. Stacey has been building relations with the wider Jewish environmental community, spearheading LTA outreach, as well as offering nutrition counseling to help coach people toward optimal health. Craig Oshkello, MLA is a professionally trained landscape architect. He lives, farms and serves as a director at the Cold Pond Community Land Trust, an intentional community he helped start.