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For the moshav with the same name, see Hazon, Israel.

Founded in 1999, Hazon is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that promotes creating sustainable communities in the Jewish world. Hazon CSA is the first Jewish Community-Supported Agriculture program in North America.[citation needed] Hazon’s offices are located in New York, California, and Colorado. In Hebrew, hazon means "vision."

Hazon's Board of Directors includes Ruth Messinger.


Founded in 1999, Hazon is committed to programs that are rooted in Jewish tradition but committed to the present and the Jewish future. Hazon’s first project was the Cross-USA Jewish Environmental Bike Ride. In the summer of 2000, a diverse Jewish group cycled over 3000 miles, from Seattle to Washington, D.C., to raise environmental awareness in the Jewish community, to raise money for Jewish environmental projects and to be positive role models for people they met along the way, especially young people.[1] Participants in the Cross-USA Ride taught in 47 different Jewish communities during the ride, and ended at the White House, where they won a national award from the United States Environmental Protection Agency[2]

Hazon's first New York ride took place in 2001. It began in Kingston and ended at the Jewish Theological Seminary. There were 40 riders and $32,000 was raised.[3]

Hazon held its first Israel ride in 2003. There were 44 riders who ranged from 15–60 years old. The ride was over 300 miles long and took place over a five-day period. This first ride raised $136,000.

Hazon's first Food Conference was held in December 2006. It ran from December 14–17 at the Isabella Freedman Retreat Center in Falls Village, Connecticut.

Hazon’s California office opened in December 2009 in the Bay Area.[4]

The first Hazon California ride was held in 2010.[5] It was a 2-day bike ride and Shabbat retreat in the Redwoods of Sonoma County, It included kosher food, yoga, workshops, hikes, scenic views through redwood and eucalyptus groves, and along the Pacific coast.

In 2011, Hazon received a grant from Rose Community Foundation, 18 Pomegranates, and the Oreg Foundation with the purpose of building the Jewish food & environmental movement in Denver and Boulder. Hazon has since hired local staff in the Denver area to expand its presence and contribution in the state.


The Hazon founder, Nigel Savage, who has a master's degree in history from Georgetown University, is a founder of Limmud New York, and sits on the advisory boards of Ramah Outdoor Adventure and the Jewish Greening Fellowship.[6] Nigel was named a member of the Forward 50, the annual list of the 50 most influential Jewish people in the United States.[7]

An enthusiastic cyclist, Savage created Hazon to explore the relationship between Judaism and the natural world.[8]

Richard Dale, who sits on the Board of Directors of Hazon, is a principal at Sigma Partners, a venture capital firm specializing in early-stage IT investments, based in Boston and Menlo Park. Richard joined Sigma Partners in 2000 with 16 years of prior experience in software and high technology. Before Sigma, Richard co-founded Phase Forward Incorporated, a provider of service and software infrastructure for managing pharmaceutical clinical trials, where he was Vice President of Services and then Vice President of Strategic Development. Richard also held professional service, senior product management and IS management roles at Sybase, Epoch Systems (a subsidiary of EMC) and MicroTouch Systems. He shares responsibility for Sigma’s investment in CaseNET, Instill, Retica, Silverlink and Visual Mining. He has also been an advisor to many startup companies, including Vignette, OnDisplay, FirstSense, OnExchange and QXL.com. Richard received a B.A. in mathematics from the University of Durham in England.[9]

Ruth W. Messinger, who also sits on the Board of Directors of Hazon, is the president and executive director of American Jewish World Service, an international development organization providing support to grassroots social change projects throughout the world. Prior to assuming this role in 1998, Ms. Messinger was in public service in New York City for 20 years, including having served as Manhattan borough president. She is an active member of her synagogue and serves on the boards of several not-for-profit organizations. In honor of her tireless work to end the genocide in Darfur, Sudan, Ruth Messinger received the Jewish Council for Public Affairs’ prestigious Albert D. Chernin Award in February 2006. And, in tribute to her life’s work, she was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2005, as well as the Union for Reform Judaism Maurice N. Eisendrath Bearer of Light Award. For the past five years, she has been named one of the 50 most influential Jews of the year by the Forward, putting her in the top spot on the list in 2005. Ruth Messinger has participated in every Hazon New York Ride and will ride again in 2012’s ride.[10]

Bike rides[edit]

Since 2001, 3,091 people have participated in a Hazon bike ride. Hazon has active rides in New York, California, and Israel. The Cross-USA Ride, first held in 2001, launched again on June 10, 2012. Each ride raises money to further Hazon’s education work and the work of Hazon’s partners. So far, $6.4 million has been raised by riders on Hazon bike rides.

On June 10, 2012, joined by more than three dozen other bicyclists at segments along the way, participants in the Hazon Cross-USA ride bike 10 weeks across America with the mission of promoting awareness of sustainable food systems. They start in Seattle, WA and end in Washington D.C.,[11] where the riders will present a petition to the US Department of Agriculture in Washington in support of sustainable food systems in America.

The Hazon New York Ride is a four-day event that includes a Shabbat retreat, and a two-day ride. Some programs included are yoga, hiking, study, swimming, sessions on the work of Hazon and its partners, prayer services, and communal Shabbat meals. The proceeds from the Hazon New York Ride and Retreat support Hazon and other programs that share its mission.[12]

The California Ride and Retreat program is one of a number of rides sponsored by Hazon each year that aims to promote a more sustainable lifestyle for the Jewish community.[13]

The Arava Institute Hazon Israel Ride offers participants an opportunity to engage with nature as they learn about the historical and geographical significance of the regions in southern Israel [14]

Hazon worked with the Upper West Side Streets Renaissance (UWSSR) Campaign to advocate for a more “livable street” network for the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The UWSSR campaign was established by residents and business leaders as a new forum to generate a plan for greener and healthier streets on the Upper West Side and to engage a new group of residents committed to change.[15] The top five goals of the campaign were to increase pedestrian safety and amenities, improve management of the curb, integrate bicycling facilities, improve access to transit, and improve management of maintenance and operations. [16]

Food programs and educational resources[edit]

Hazon's food programs are meant to help Jews think more broadly and deeply about personal food choices.

Hazon’s food-related work consists of its annual food conference, community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs, which support members through the process of planning, marketing, organizing and running their own CSA project, and an Israel food tour, and more. Each program is meant to engage the Jewish community in thinking, learning and acting around food issues, while ultimately working towards creating healthier, richer, and more sustainable Jewish communities.

The Hazon Food Conference is an annual meeting of farmers, culinary experts, global citizens, business, community and Jewish leaders to focus on contemporary food issues and exchange ideas on improving health and sustainability in communities throughout the world.[17] The event is produced by Hazon. Over 2000 people have attended a Hazon Food Conference. The 2012 Food Conference will be held at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center.

First held in 2006 at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center with 158 people in attendance, the Hazon Food Conference now takes place in late December in Northern California.

Featured presenters at the 2006 conference included Chinese Herbalist and food consultant, Ilana Fleischer; David Kraemer, professor of Talmud and Rabbinics at Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTS); Linda Lantos, graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts; documentary film maker Faye Lederman (Women of the Wall and A Good Uplift); Rabbi Natan Margalit, environmentalist and teacher at the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College; Jay Weinstein, professional chef and author of The Ethical Gourmet; and Gary Rendsburg, professor of Jewish Studies at Rutgers University.[18]

In 2008 there were 560 attendees. The event consisted of speeches, panel discussions, hands-on workshops, cooking demonstrations, educational and leisure activities. The 2008 conference presenters and attendees included Dan Barber of Blue Hill Farm/Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, Andrew Kimbrell from the Center for Food Safety, Rabbi Morris Allen of Magen Tzedek, and Rachel Biale of Progressive Jewish Alliance.[19]

Programs at the Hazon Food Conference have included Grow Your Own & Do It Yourself Food, Jewish Tradition & Food: History & Culture, Food Policy and Creating a New Food System, Kosher Meat, Health and Nutrition, and Israel: Food & Agriculture.

Demographic information from 2008 Hazon Food Conference:

Participants - Age Breakdown # of People
< 10 59
10-19 34
20-29 148
30-39 131
40-49 79
50-59 74
60-69 31
70+ 4
Total 560

Hazon’s CSA program supports local, sustainable agriculture in the American Jewish community and beyond. Founded in 2004, Hazon's CSA program now includes 60 sites in the US, Canada and Israel, and over 2,300 households. The Hazon CSA program has put nearly $5 million behind sustainable agriculture, and supported Jewish institutions such as synagogues and Jewish community centers create innovative educational programming around the intersections of Jewish tradition and contemporary food and environmental issues.

The Hazon Rocky Mountain Jewish Food Summit at the University Memorial Center at CU hosts farmers, rabbis, activists, entrepreneurs and others for a day of learning, celebration, eating, community-building, and hands-on doing.[20]

Hazon piloted a new program, called Setting the Table, geared towards expectant parents and young families and help them with challenges through a Jewish lens. Setting the Table is supported by UJA-Federation of New York. Participants learn to cook fresh, seasonal meals, while connecting with other Jewish families in the community.[21]

Hazon has developed a diverse library of educational resources that can be used in the classroom, at home, or as experiential programs. Our collection of curricula, source books, and other resources are an accessible doorway to explore the connections between Jewish tradition and contemporary food issues. Anyone can benefit from these resources. They can be used by individuals, formal and informal educators, Rabbis, and lay leaders in synagogues, JCCs, day schools, camps, or just around the dinner table with family and friends.

One resource is Food for Thought: Hazon’s Sourcebook on Jews, Food & Contemporary Life. It creates the opportunity to extend Hazon’s innovative work on contemporary food issues and Jewish traditions around food to a broader audience. Food for Thought is a 130-page source book that draws on a range of texts from within and beyond Jewish traditions to explore a range of topics relating to Jews and food.[22]

Farm Bill 2012 interaction[edit]

In the spring of 2012, Hazon and six other national Jewish groups delivered a petition with nearly 18,000 signatures to House Leadership and the Obama Administration demanding a focus on food justice in the next Farm Bill. The signatures represent a Jewish communal voice advocating for a better food system and have been collected since October 2011 by the Jewish Farm Bill Working Group, which consists of American Jewish World Service (AJWS), the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL), Hazon, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), the Green Zionist Alliance, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) and the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ).[23]

The Hazon Cross-USA Ride 2012 ends in Washington, D.C., this August, where the participants will present a similar petition to the U.S. Department of Agriculture that also fights for food justice in the next farm bill.

White House interaction[edit]

Hazon has become the central organization for the intersection of Judaism and food, and drew 650 people to its food conference last year. It was also asked recently to present the Jewish take on food at a conference on religions and food at the White House organized by First Lady Michelle Obama.[24]

In 2011, fifty-five leaders from the Jewish Food Movement, including representatives from Hazon and representatives of United States Department of Agriculture gathered in Washington last Wednesday at USDA Headquarters on the National Mall for the USDA’s first-ever Food & Justice Passover Seder.[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.dailycamera.com/ci_19800321?source=rss
  2. ^ "A Positive Spin". Retrieved 10 January 2011. [permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "Cyclists With a Vision". Archived from the original on 15 April 2013. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
  4. ^ "Opening of California Office". Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
  5. ^ "First California Ride". Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
  6. ^ Goldrich, Lois. "Eating Green at the JCC". Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  7. ^ "Lessons in Leadership". Forward. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  8. ^ Raskin, Hannah. "UW Event Explores Religion and Food Politics". Archived from the original on 2 February 2013. Retrieved 14 June 2012. 
  9. ^ "Richard Dale". Archived from the original on 11 July 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  10. ^ [(http://ajws.org/get_involved/events/2012_hazon_new_york_bike_ride.html) "Ruth Messinger"] Check |url= value (help). Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  11. ^ "Cross-USA Ride". Archived from the original on 29 June 2012. Retrieved 19 July 2012. 
  12. ^ "NY Ride". Retrieved 19 July 2012. 
  13. ^ "California Ride Promotes Sustainable Transportation". JSpace Staff. Archived from the original on 26 January 2013. Retrieved 14 June 2012. 
  14. ^ "From Jerusalem To Eilat, The 2010 Hazon Israel Ride Presentation". Havefunbiking.com. Archived from the original on 25 January 2013. Retrieved 14 June 2012. 
  15. ^ "UWSSR". Retrieved 19 July 2012. 
  16. ^ "UWSSR blueprint" (PDF). Retrieved 19 July 2012. 
  17. ^ http://www.jweekly.com/article/full/36216/sowing-the-seeds-of-faith-new-jewish-food-movement-takes-root-in-the-bay-ar/
  18. ^ http://www.jweekly.com/article/full/36454/hazon-conference-draws-hundreds-hungry-for-jewish-food-movement/
  19. ^ http://jta.org/news/article/2008/12/29/1001876/jewish-food-movement-comes-of-age
  20. ^ "Rocky Mountain Jewish Food Summit". Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  21. ^ "Jew and the Carrot blog post". Retrieved 31 July 2012. 
  22. ^ "Jewcology; Food for Thought". Retrieved 6 August 2012. 
  23. ^ "Farm Bill 2012". Retrieved 18 June 2012. 
  24. ^ "ROI gives Jewish environmentalists tools to make mark". Retrieved 14 June 2012. 
  25. ^ "USDA Seder". Retrieved 8 August 2012. 

External links[edit]