An overall shot of last year’s Hazon Jewish Food Festival at Eastern Market’s Shed 5

Hazon’s annual Jewish Food Festival in Detroit brings new pathways to learn about sustainability.

Featured photo courtesy of Hazon

If you think you know what to expect from Hazon’s Michigan Jewish Food Festival, think again. For the festival’s fourth year, Hazon, a Jewish organization dedicated to sustainability and education, decided to go big.

With approximately 47 vendors, 15 food trucks and caterers, and 64 Jewish organizations participating, director Marla Schloss expects this year’s festival to be spectacular. The event is from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18, at Eastern Market, Shed 5, in Detroit.

“This is bigger and better than previous years,” she said. “We’ve added so much, and we are so excited.”

The goal of the festival is to educate people on sustainability practices they can incorporate into their daily lives. The event itself is almost entirely waste-free, with no bottled water, cans or Styrofoam plates allowed. Even the signage and balloons will be made with recycled items and be completely biodegradable. What little waste the festival will produce will be sorted by a company called Zero Waste Productions into recyclables and compostable items, eliminating any waste.

Hazon Detroit board member and food festival committee member Carol Trowell with Marla Schloss, festival director Hazon Detroit

Attendees of the festival can expect to experience hands-on activities and lots of food, as well as live music. Activities outside Shed 5 will be covered by a canopy, keeping patrons safe no matter what the weather.

This year, Hazon is including a section called ArtSpace featuring artists who use sustainable practices. Here, attendees will also be able to make decorative pins out of DIA art slides rendered obsolete by the internet. This “upcycling” of the slides into wearable art prevents them from ending up in landfills.

Another activity allows visitors to watch a craftsman from Pingree Detroit make a pair of leather shoes. The company was created by war veterans who recycle leather scraps from automotive companies and use them to make shoes, wallets and backpacks and more — a prime example of a sustainable business.

Also new this year is the Family Pavilion, a rest area for families with small children complete with blankets, pillows and quiet activities such a games and books, all geared toward furthering children’s education and understanding of environmentalism.

Brittany Feldman of Hazon explains to participants last year how the Topsy-Turvy Bus runs on solar power and vegetable oil. Jerry Zolynsky

Of course, a food festival wouldn’t be complete without lots of food. Hazon supports local farmers who want to do things sustainably, and many will provide samples of their produce.

Detroit Hives, a company that creates urban bee farms, will exhibit one of its farms. Festival goers will be able to see what happens in a beehive and what goes into creating and harvesting honey.

Farber Farm, part of Tamarack Camps in associate with Hazon Detroit, will provide cuca-melons, a mini hybrid cucumber melon, for people to sample, and will offer information about Michigan crops.

Tolgate Farms from Michigan State University will bring along some fuzzy friends including a goat, lamb and chicken. Patrons will be able to spin their own wool and make bracelets from the yarn.

Hazon’s trademark Topsy-Turvy Bus, a vehicle that runs on vegetable oil and solar power, is an education tool as well as a crowd favorite, Schloss said.

“Education is so important to us,” Schloss said. “If we are able to move someone one degree toward change, that’s one step in the right direction. If we all think a little bit and everyone takes just one step, think of the difference it could make.”

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