By: Tess Lehrich
I've been conscious about the impact of my food choices for the past 7 years or so, when I first decided to become a vegetarian. At the time, it seemed like the easiest way possible for me to make a statement about issues that mattered to me. And I stayed a vegetarian for a good 2 and a half years, until the fateful day when myself and another food-conscious veggie friend went out for secret burgers. Since then, I've gone through too many phases to count, experimenting with vegetarianism, veganism, pescatarianism, and yes, I admit, at times even straight up carnivorianism! I grew up in a meat eating family. My dad one time bought an entire cow at a fundraiser, the meat of which, when it showed up on our front doorstep packed in boxes a few months later, provided some pretty delicious meals for the next year.
So, I'll admit it, sometimes I simply crave beef. But it isn't only because of meat cravings that my eating habits have flip-flopped dozens of times over the past couple of years. No, my eating habits are often a direct reflection of the latest study, article, or personal experience which continue to shape and reshape my belief systems, as well as a balancing act between what I find ideal and what I find practical. I make compromises on certain things based on what my budget allows, but there are also things I just won't budge on. For example, I pay twice as much for free-range eggs and then buy conventional lettuce at Shuk HaCarmel. I toss around buzzwords like "local", "organic", "sustainable", and "just". Yet ultimately, my eating habits reflect my personal interpretation of issues I view important, issues such as my own health, the environment, and animal rights.
Moving from America, the land of Farmers' Markets and food coops, to Israel, where "local" pretty much means the same thing as "national" (in regards to food miles), I've often felt a little misunderstood at Friday night dinners when trying to explain to my fiancée's mom what I will or will not be eating this week. Working in the Farmer's Market in the Tel Aviv
Port for the past 2 years, I've encountered many disgruntled individuals who view "organic" as a synonym for "If I buy this, I am a frier (sucker)!" I've definitely been cast as that weird girl who thinks too much, but I've also found so many individuals and grassroots communities in Israel where people DO care about these issues. I've met farmers who are doing everything they can to produce delicious food which is healthy for our bodies and our planet. I've been reassured that despite the fact that Israel is the number one pesticide user in the OECD, that there is a strong food movement bubbling below the surface, so close to breaking into the mainstream.
And it is this up-and-coming movement that we would like to share with you! Our regionalized tours will introduce you to some of the leaders of the Israeli sustainable food movement. Together, we will tackle some of the more challenging questions surrounding food, because you deserve to make educated decisions about this most basic element of life: the food you put on your plate and the stuff you allow to enter into your body!