Contents of Hazon's Food Festival in a Box.
Contents of Hazon's Food Festival in a Box. Courtesy of Marla Schloss.

Enjoy everything you love about Hazon Detroit’s Food Festival in the comfort of your own home.  

Every August for the past 4 years, Hazon Detroit, the Jewish lab for sustainability, has hosted their annual Food Festival at the Eastern Market in Detroit. Just like so many other events, Hazon was forced to cancel their festival this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

However, community members can still purchase all of their favorite items from the festival with Hazon’s new initiative, Food Festival in a Box. The boxes are currently available for purchase until Monday, August 17. 

When Hazon made the decision at the beginning of April to cancel the event, Marla Schloss, manager of the Food Festival, was adamant about developing a solution to provide an opportunity for the community to support some of the local small businesses that appear at the festival. 

“The purpose of this has always been to bring Metro Detroit Jews together and gain awareness experientially in the areas of food, food justice and sustainability,” Schloss told the JN. “I decided that we needed to continue the relationships that we have developed over the years and I made a point of calling over 200 organizations and vendors to find out how they are and left each call by trying to figure out a way to support them.” 

From there, Schloss thought about how Hazon Detroit could bring the Food Festival into people’s homes and developed the idea of the Food Festival in a Box. She then went back to all the vendors and had 24 express interest in becoming a partner in this initiative. The list of vendors and products is accessible on Hazon’s website. 

The businesses then sent a list of all the products that they would want to include in the box and the retail price of their products. When Schloss put all the prices together, the retail value of the box came out to be about $185. 

Through the help and financial support of their sponsors, including the William Davidson Foundation and the D. Dan and Betty Kahn Foundation, Schloss was able to price the boxes beginning at $59.95. All boxes include the same 27 products from the 24 businesses, including selections that are vegetarian, vegan and certified kosher (although not every item is certified kosher). 

There will also be a sheet listing the names of community partners that are normally present at the festival, which provide opportunities for community engagement and volunteer opportunities. 

When purchasing the boxes, customers have the opportunity to pay more than the $59.95 if they are financially able to. There are seven different levels that range from the lowest price of $59.95 to the highest at $225.95. Regardless of how much you pay, you still receive the same 27 products. All the money goes directly to the local vendors, but there is an opportunity for customers to leave a donation in support of Hazon Detroit’s efforts. 

Those who have bought boxes will have a single three-hour window to pick them up at the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit building: on August 23 between 12 -3 p.m.. Customers will stay in their car and have someone come over to place their box in their trunk. 

“There is a joy and pleasure about bringing the feel of the Food Festival into your home,” Schloss said. “We don’t want to lose that connection and support for all these important organizations and vendors. We’re all in this together and we don’t want people to forget who is out there and what Hazon Detroit does.” 

For more information or to purchase your Food Festival in a Box, head over to Hazon’s website. 

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