What is LoKo?
May 12, 2011
LoKo is a non-profit organization that educates Jews about the origins and history of kashrut and the evolving kosher meat industry in the United States. We believe that kashrut is an important Jewish spiritual practice of humane and sustainable meat consumption that is especially relevant today in the era of industrial food production.
LoKo has two missions. First, we run workshops for synagogue, school, and other groups about the spirituality of kashrut and the issues facing the modern kosher meat industry. Second, we serve as a liason between farmers, kosher meat producers, and consumers.
OUR WORKSHOPS address the following questions:
What is the connection between keeping kosher and your most essential Jewish values?
Are you concerned about the health and sustainability of the meat you eat?
Do you wonder whether kosher meat is the most ethical choice?
What fundamental moral principles do we express every day by keeping kosher?
How is kashrut a spiritual practice that imbues our lives with holiness?
How does the conscious practice of kashrut change and deepen our relationships with G-d, animals, and the earth?
How do the restrictions that kashrut puts on sharing food with others in fact deepen our commitment to world citizenship?
Is kosher meat as humanely and sustainably produced as the local farm-raised meat now widely available?
How does keeping kosher in the modern world bring unique challenges and blessings?
Our learning has three components, which are tailored to the needs of each particular workshop group:
Text study. Participants look at a series of texts from the Tanakh, the rabbis, and other Jewish thinkers. Through in-depth study of selected fundamental texts, participants together draw conclusions about Jewish laws and values.
Open discussion. Eating is a highly personal act, and we create a safe space for people to discuss their goals and concerns. Sharing moral and spiritual struggles challenges participants to extend and deepen their practice of kashrut.
Participation in a demonstration shechita and kashering process. Participants are able to make a personal connection to the shochet and appreciate the role of shochtim in Jewish food production. Experiencing shechita and helping with the kashering process bring alive the powerful way that kashrut laws change our understanding of the world.
This course is ideally structured as a series of classes with the option of culminating in a hands-on shechita workshop, but it can also be taught as one workshop incorporating shechita and text study, or as text study and discussion alone.
AS A LIASON between farmers raising animals, businesses slaughtering and processing kosher meat, and consumers looking to understand where kosher meat comes from, we increase transparency, encourage consumers to follow and shape the course of the new Jewish Food Movement, and deepen understanding of how the kosher meat industry works. Visit our “Kosher Meat Industry” section to learn about kosher meat producers across the U.S., the differences between them, and the theological and logistical issues that affect how the industry treats animals and the environment and produces meat. There have been many exciting recent developments in the industry as new producers aim to reinvigorate traditional kashrut and integrate kashrut into the local food movement.