Reflections on the Shoresh Food Conference

We asked some friends to share their thoughts and experiences of the Food Conference for the Blog and are grateful for their responses and for the confirmation that all of our efforts were fruitful and worthwhile.

Here’s what folks had to say:

A New Discourse

If I were to sum up the Shoresh conference in one word I would say the word discourse. If given another word, I would say interpretation. So much of what we take from the Torah is mired in complexity and hidden meanings. It is a puzzle. At times it can be extremely vague or can be referring to periods of time and events that occurred thousands of years ago. It is therefore up to us to interpret what we can of the Torah to make it applicable to us today, to the situations we find ourselves in and the challenges we face. Today, some of our concerns revolve around sustainable agriculture, humane treatment of animals, healthy lifestyles and communities, and other social and environmental values. The Torah holds a wealth of information and guidance surrounding these things for us to understand and interpret in ways that no previous generation could. For example, we can find valuable meaning in seemingly unimportant passages about empty space and pastureland surrounding ancient Levitical cities, and apply them to our pressing needs for green space and farmland surrounding our cities today. Many of the passages are wonderfully vague and can be interpreted in a thousand different ways. What is important is that we see the issues of our day and try to find meaning in these passages through discussion and dialogue to address them. With this organization and discourse, we will then be willing and motivated to act and start making changes in our lives and in the lives of people around us! This is exactly what Shoresh is doing. The conference was comprised of people from an array of different backgrounds, of different experiences and educations, which allowed for rich discourse over the subjects we all came to discuss. I am grateful for that.
By: Josh Black

Getting to the Root of Things

For me, this conference is a gathering of people within the community and beyond.  It creates a space and an opportunity for all of us to come together to learn, discuss and address topics of food, agriculture, and our own relationship as human beings to the land through the lens of the Torah as well as through the lens of consciousness.  It is a chance for diverse groups of people, such as educators, foodies, artists, health practitioners, caterers, to come together, meet each other and build a network of shared intentions, address important topics and generate foresight.

Shoresh reflects the essence of ‘getting to the root’ of the topic.  We all build from the ground up and letting it grow into something that everyone benefits from.  I have attended both conferences and it has been incredible to be a part of many presentations, but for me one really stood out.  I was energized by enthusiastic presentation made by Risa Alyson Cooper regarding all the projects Shoresh has been working on over the past few year.  It has been an honour to witness how all these seeds they have planted have sprouted into fascinating projects from the Kavanah Garden to Bela Farm.  Their work is inclusive for every age group and background.  It emphasized how things manifest because of people’s belief in the idea and with the right care, water, nutrients and love they can grow into amazing things.

Thank you, Risa and Sabrina, for all your dedication, passion and hard work that goes into ‘laying the land’ for all of us to grow prosperously in the Shoresh garden- a community for all of us.  I truly am inspired by both of you and your work and I look forward to what’s to come in the future.
By: Lauren Lyons

Hearts and Minds

The Shoresh Food Conference was a powerful convergence of hearts and minds.  The people who gathered on Sunday crossed denominational lines and spanned two, if not three generations.  The conference felt more like a call to concrete action than any I’d been to before.  This was no in-gathering of scattered wandering Jews: these are rooted people from the same community with shared interests and ideals, and they came together with a mission.  The Shoresh Food Conference was a day of change, a day for these rooted individuals to set the groundwork for integrating their shared values into the experienced reality of Toronto Judaism.
By: Yael Greenberg

The Importance of Community

Who knew that bees wiggled their bums in a dance for their fellow hive members to deliver the coordinates to the tastiest nectar around.  If it were kosher I’d be doing my own waggle dance to attract the Toronto Jewish community to the next Shoresh food conference, but I’m sure they won’t need it as word spreads of how great this year’s was.

To me a great event is one that beautifully stimulates the senses and the mind, and leaves me with a meaningful experience to remember.  The Shoresh conference did just that.  The content and speakers were relevant and current, discussion was thought provoking and challenging, and the food was beyond my expectations; delicious and nourishing to the core.  I’ll be recommending the caterer to anyone looking for future events.  But what stood out to me the most and touched my heart was the gathering of the community and the truest pluralistic Jewish experience I have yet to be a part of.

Views were challenged, minds expanded and new friendships were made as our vibrant and diverse Jewish community came together over what better a topic…the future of our food.

Thank you Shoresh for bringing us together and making it all happen.
By: Tamar Krauss

© 2018 Shoresh.