By Sara Miller
Local rabbis, students, farmers and teachers will meet under one roof for the second annual Shoresh Food Conference.
The conference, which will be held at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre in Toronto, will explore the relationship between Jewish traditions and current food issues.
Topics at the conference will range from sustainable Jewish farming to kosher versus organic, and even a lesson on the ancient art of fermenting kosher style pickles.
The term “kosher,” which means “fit” or “proper,” is a term that describes food and practices that adhere to Kashrut, a set of traditional Jewish dietary laws.
Executive director of the Shoresh Jewish Environmental Programs and organizer of the event, Risa Alyson Cooper, said the conference would be a way for the Jewish community to gain a wider understanding of the foods they eat.
“For a very long time we’ve been talking about what we should eat, and what is actually fit to eat,” Cooper said. “We are basically carrying on that conversation and we feel that this is a important time when the food system is challenged with environmental issues, hunger and health. The time now is arguably more relevant.”
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency requires that kosher food be certified by a rabbi or a rabbinical organization to be considered authentic. Foods that are labelled “kosher style” are not permitted.
Rabbi Aaron Levy said there are various foods that can be considered kosher and non kosher under Jewish dietary laws.
“For example, among land mammals, they have to have split hooves and chew their cud. That’s why cows are considered kosher and pigs are not,” he said.
“There is also the issue cooking kosher foods in pots that have been previously used for cooking non-kosher foods. Most Jewish kitchens would have for separate cooking containers and utensils for this.”
The Shoresh Food Conference will take place on Sunday Jan. 27 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.