New Ventures for the New Year

August 18, 2010

It’s been a busy summer for LoKo and friends. LoKo is going in a new direction for the fall. Here’s what’s been happening:

First, the report on summer production. LoKo participants, along with Farmer Dave and Shochet Naf, put in some hard work on our shechita dates of June 27 and August 8. Dave needed to give the birds some extra coddling this year to coax them outside to forage, but with a nice henhouse and some of his best grass they led a happy and healthy life. Naf has been busy with his own venture to bring ethically raised and slaughtered kosher chicken to the Northeast, but he continues to travel to us and get his hands (very) dirty so that we here in Boston can eat chicken that we feel good about. We had some kids as young as 9 working with us this year and boy, did they do a good job. I was honored to work next to a little girl who determinedly plucked an entire chicken by herself; she was so proud and she definitely earned that chicken dinner!

Now, on to the changes afoot at LoKo. There are a lot of people in our community who aren’t comfortable with the cruelty and environmental degradation involved in industrial meat production, and who have realized that such production betrays the spirit of kashrut. The demand for LoKo meat has been overwhelming over the past few months, and as a small, local co-op, we’ve been unable to meet it. There have been a lot of disappointed folks who we’ve had to turn away, and our farmer is exhausted. If a meaningful segment of Boston’s Jewish community wants to make the switch to sustainably raised meat, then there will have to be a lot more farmers raising animals for us. This increased scale is not something that we at LoKo can coordinate. Luckily, our shochet is an experienced farmer himself, and he is committed to making sustainably raised, pastured kosher chicken available to all who need it. He recently started working with Amish farmers to make this meat available in Boston, and you can find out all about it at growandbehold.com.

What does this mean for LoKo? We are shifting our focus to education about the importance of kashrut as an age-old system of humane and sustainable meat production, and its relevance for Jews today as we make decisions about how we eat. Starting this fall, we will run workshops for synagogue, school, and other groups. These workshops will include observing shechita, participating in the kashering process, discussion with our shochet, and a rabbi-led learning session about the ways in which Jewish law and tradition intersect with our growing understanding of the impact our food choices have on our world. If you have ever worried that keeping the ancient spiritual tradition of kashrut conflicts with ethical food choices, then this workshop is for you and your community. Come and learn how Jewish law has emphasized local, humanely raised, sustainable food for thousands of years, and meet the dynamic leaders who are working hard to ensure that kashrut stays true to its roots. If you are interested in getting a group together to participate, contact me at info@lokomeat.com.

Thank you for supporting our efforts, and please get in touch to keep the learning and growing going!
Marion

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