Jewish food movement conference set for U.C. Davis

The Hazon Food Conference is set to open a new chapter in its five-year history: Organizers have moved the event to the summer, made it one national conference rather than two regional events and are holding it at a university that emphasizes agriculture.

The conference will take place from 4 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 18 until 1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 21 at U.C. Davis. Registration is still open.

Hazon is a nonprofit that examines environmental and food sustainability through a Jewish lens. For the conference, organizers have lined up the movers and shakers in the Jewish food movement for workshops, cooking sessions, discussion panels and other programming, including Jewish rituals. The final day will feature an eco-fair and Israeli-style marketplace.

Until this year, the conferences had always been held in December, with one on the East Coast (starting in 2006) and one on the West (starting in 2008).

The featured presenters will be Aaron Gross, farmed animal welfare advocate; Oran Hesterman, author and founder of the Fair Food Network; and Joan Nathan, cookbook author and chef. In addition, there will be more than 80 other presenters.

“It’s the only place where farmers, rabbis and chefs come together to explore dynamic interplay between food and Jewish life,” said Deborah Newbrun, Hazon’s Bay Area director.

Attendees can choose different tracks of sessions, and they will also have the option of visiting the university’s brewery, farm, dairy and slaughterhouse. U.C. Davis is opening its pool, fitness center and a separate dining hall to attendees. Student dormitories will be used for overnight accommodations.

Adult registration is $350, plus mandatory additional costs for room and board. For information on the schedule and costs, or to register, visit or call (415) 397-7020.