This post originally appeared on The Jew and the Carrot.
August 18, 2011 marked the first day of Hazon’s annual Food Conference. The four day gathering at UC-Davis, a global leader in sustainability projects, united people from Colorado to Japan under open blue skies and amongst beautiful trees, flowers, creeks, and even a dairy farm and winery. Food, fun, and activities aside, the 311 person gathering had an intense agenda including seven program tracks like Food Systems and Policy and Jewish Agriculture.
The Food Justice and Tikkun Olam track provided an opportunity for community activists, teachers, students and foodies alike to learn from one another about our complex food system and a broader movement to address hunger, poverty, workers rights, and food access both locally and abroad. Pursue, a project of American Jewish World Service and AVODAH, hosted a session called “Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA): A Vehicle for Collective Action and World-Changing!” The workshop provided a platform for learning, idea sharing, and, ideally, continued conversation and collaboration. All three presenters were recipients of the Pursue Food Justice Scholarship, a pilot initiative to strengthen the food justice programming at this year’s conference.
Sasha Feldstein then introduced herself as a core group member (or primary organizer) of the Brooklyn Bridge CSA, which was started through a partnership between Pursue and Hazon with an explicit focus on food justice. Before organizing a CSA around food justice, the group needed to define just what this term meant; for them it necessitated pricing plans and levels for lower income members and involved reaching out and partnering with other organizations in the community doing related work. This also allowed them to connect their resources to individual needs. This year, they had an abundance of donor shares which help to subsidize shares for low income members. Since they had more than they needed, they were able to donate their extra shares to low income members of the South Bronx CSA —17 subsidized shares to be exact. The passion and commitment in the room were tangible as Sasha enthusiastically passed the presentation over to Steven Deheeger of the South Bronx CSA.
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