Hazon’s Jewish Food Festival is back live and in person at the Detroit Outdoor Adventure Center

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For the past two years, the food festival has been reduced to a drive-in or drive-in experience due to the COVID pandemic.

After a two-year hiatus, the Hazon Michigan Jewish Food Festival is back live and in person from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, August 21. attendees from all walks of life to attend a gathering that will be held for the first time at the DNR Outdoor Adventure Center, 1801 Atwater St., Detroit, which is located at the intersection of Dequindre Cut at the Detroit River. Admission to the Outdoor Adventure Center will be free during festival hours.

“Hazon has long focused on food as a starting point for a broader conversation about environmental sustainability,” said Hazon Detroit Director Amit Weitzer.

“The importance of stewardship and connection to the Earth is part of how we engage as Jews.”

For the past two years, Weitzer said the food festival has been reduced to a ride-or-drive experience due to the COVID pandemic. Food festival supporters received food baskets or went to vendors to sample or buy food from local artisans and food businesses.

Weitzer added that this year the festival will take place in indoor and outdoor spaces and will provide flexibility for the comfort levels of attendees who may still shy away from crowds in the age of COVID-19.

Amit Weitzer
Amit Weitzer

Weitzer said Hazon Detroit invites the Jewish community and the wider Detroit community to “reflect” on the uplifting feeling of coming together in person that the festival provides. Visitors can stop by partner organizations’ booths to learn about the work they do on sustainability and community development initiatives. Of course, she added, there will be plenty of food to enjoy at a food truck rodeo with food for purchase, including Treat Dreams, Chef Curry, Nu Deli, Shimmy Shack and Drunken Rooster.

There will also be live music from Joe Reilly and Henry Barnes and the Half Sauers String Band.

The festival is made possible through the generosity of the William Davidson Foundation, the D. Dan & Betty Kahn Foundation, the Ben N. Teitel Trust, Hebrew Free Loan, the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit and dozens of organizations Jewish and communal.

A unique place to learn

Weitzner said the Outdoor Adventure Center essentially serves as an interactive children’s museum first, introducing city kids to the wonders of northern Michigan’s natural bounty. The center includes a 40-foot-tall artificial interactive tree; all-terrain vehicle, bicycle, kayak, canoe and fishing boat simulators; a life-size beaver lodge and eagle’s nest; an indoor archery range; a 3,000 gallon freshwater aquarium; and a 36-foot-tall man-made waterfall.

Zach Berg
Zach Berg

The top floor of the center includes classrooms overlooking the Detroit River. It is here that the organizers of the event will organize interactive courses, workshops and tastings. Zach Berg, Co-Owner and Head Cheesemaker at Mongers Provisions, will host a session titled “Cheese: Milk’s Leap to Immortality” where attendees can explore dairy preservation and taste cheeses. Chef Phil Jones of Farmacy Food will lead a workshop titled “Sweet Potato Latkes: An Edible Journey Through Black and Jewish Cultures.” It will also offer cooking demonstrations and tastings.

A workshop, titled “When Manischewitz is Treyf,” will inspire attendees aged teens and older to consider whether their values ​​are reflected in the choices they make when buying food and drink, the agency said. host Avery Robinson.

Robinson, who grew up in the Detroit metro area and now lives in Brooklyn and works as an associate editor at the Posen Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization, describes the course as a lively lesson and discussion in the history of Jewish values ​​surrounding the food and kashrut through the lens of wine.

“It will be an engaging conversation that will revolve around what makes wine kosher or not kosher, and why, as a beverage, the rabbis created a certain set of special rules for making and drinking wine,” said Robinson, who grew up in an actively involved Jewish family.

“The course will be a combination of stories from history, texts and a discussion to explore what kosher wine means when deciding which bottle they will choose the next time they bring one to serve. and drink at the next seder or meal with a ritual Jew.”

Louis Finkelman
Rabbi Louis Finkelman

Rabbi Louis Finkelman of Or Chadash of Oak Park will lead a discussion and demonstration on how wheat is grown and processed. He will also talk about the many times in Jewish tradition where wheat and bread – leavened and unleavened – are mentioned in Jewish traditions. Part of his stories will come from his own experiences growing a modest amount of wheat in his garden in Southfield.

“People have a different view of sustainability when they’ve experienced growing their own food, even growing a small portion of their own food,” Finkelman said. “Last year, my daughter-in-law gave me red wheat seeds. She planted a little bed of wheat in her garden in Oak Park, and I did the same in my garden in Southfield. We harvested the wheat and came together to process what we planted, generating enough flour for a loaf of bread.

outdoor fun

Outside, on a lawn adjacent to the center, representatives from Tamarack Camps’ Outdoor Adventures will organize outdoor games and activities, allowing those who may not be lucky enough to go camping in the summer to snack at the campsite.

Environmental organization Plastic Oceans will host stewardship activities along the Dequindre Cut Greenway and kids can create art projects made from recyclable materials with the Flying Cardboard Theatre.

Scenes from the 2019 Jewish Food Fest, before the pandemic forced organizers to scale it back.
Scenes from the 2019 Jewish Food Fest, before the pandemic forced organizers to scale it back.

Rob Streit of the Detroit Food Academy will be on hand to teach caps – through the educational programs the academy offers students from middle school age. The DFA trains students in the culinary arts where they can eventually find employment and test their skills in one of the small batch businesses in partnership with the academy. Some of his best-known products are his Slow Jams, Mitten Bites Energy Bars and Popsicles, all available for purchase at the festival.

Scenes from the 2019 Jewish Food Fest, before the pandemic forced organizers to scale it back.
Scenes from the 2019 Jewish Food Fest, before the pandemic forced organizers to scale it back.

West Bloomfield author Anita Pazner will read and sell her new children’s book The upside down bus (2022 Kar-Ben Publishing) a book on sustainability. Fueled by leftover vegetable oil collected from restaurants, the real Topsy Turvy bus will be on site at the festival, and visitors will be able to board, although it will remain in place during the festival. Pazner will also teach the values ​​and importance of home composting with a hands-on demonstration.

The inspiration for the book came to Pazner while volunteering on the bus during the height of the pandemic. Former Hazon Detroit manager Wren Hack drove the bus to pick up used cooking oil from local restaurants and deliver food to area food banks.

Harnessing the Jewish Value of tikkun olam – fixing the world – Pazner said the book can show children of all faiths that there are things they and their parents can do to make the Earth a healthier and more sustainable place to live.

“When I guide visitors on the bus, I will teach them how it uses vegetable oil and solar energy and tell them about the benefits of composting,” Pazner said.

“I hope that by visiting the bus and reading the book, the children and their parents will understand that we can all perform tikkun olam one new idea at a time.”

Scenes from the 2019 Jewish Food Fest, before the pandemic forced organizers to scale it back.
Scenes from the 2019 Jewish Food Fest, before the pandemic forced organizers to scale it back.
Scenes from the 2019 Jewish Food Fest, before the pandemic forced organizers to scale it back.
Scenes from the 2019 Jewish Food Fest, before the pandemic forced organizers to scale it back.
Scenes from the 2019 Jewish Food Fest, before the pandemic forced organizers to scale it back.
Scenes from the 2019 Jewish Food Fest, before the pandemic forced organizers to scale it back.
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