KOL Foods Enables Individuals and Families to Eat True to Their Values While Keeping Kosher
September 24, 2018
By Devora Kimelman-Block
The Jewish holiday of Sukkot (which occurs from September 23rd to 30th this year) celebrates the fall harvest, much like Thanksgiving. During the holiday, Jews construct huts, or “sukkot,” (“sukkah” is the singular) that are exposed to the elements. They are made from natural materials, and the sky must be visible through the roof. We are told to sleep, eat, and relax outdoors in this sukkah of minimal protection and trust that God will take care of us. God adds protection to the flimsiness of the human-constructed sukkah, reminding us that we don’t work alone in bringing food to the table. Even city dwellers are supposed to build sukkot, and in doing so, they become less removed from the fragility of our world. In this way, Sukkot uses the physical to build a spiritual experience.
Journalism professor, writer, and advocate of conscious eating and food production Michael Pollan recommends that we should eat a diet similar to that of our grandparents. In their sukkot, our ancestors also enjoyed a sustainable diet as they reaped the bounty of their hard work. As we face threats of climate change and extreme weather, Sukkot offers us a wonderful opportunity to remind ourselves how central the environment is to our survival. But reflection alone is not enough. During the week of Sukkot, our ancestors fervently prayed for rain to ensure their future survival. We can take action during Sukkot to work towards a more sustainable future by voting with our purchases.
Meat with a Mission
I started KOL Foods, a grass-fed kosher meat company, in 2008. It is more than just a sustainable kosher meat company; it is an activist mission to create ethical and environmentally sound relationships between people, animals, and the planet. From the beginning, Jews have been stewards of the Earth. God showed Adam and Eve the Garden of Eden and instructed them to care for the creation and not to destroy or deplete the abundant natural resources. Through regenerative agriculture and proper animal husbandry techniques, we hope to redeem ourselves as respectful guardians of the planet. KOL Foods enables individuals and families to eat true to their values while keeping kosher.
KOL Foods produces the only 100% grass-fed, domestic, kosher beef in the United States. We also produce 100% grass-fed lamb and pastured poultry, including chicken, heritage chicken, turkey, and duck. All of our animals come from non-industrial, family-owned small farms.
Many families and individuals purchase KOL Foods meat for health reasons. KOL Foods’ 100% grass-fed meat is GMO-free, and we do not use animal by-products, antibiotics, added hormones, arsenic, fertilizers, or pesticides. Our beef is high in Omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acids, or CLAs, which help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes, and a number of immune disorders. It actually has a similar nutritional profile to that of heart-healthy fish. Many of these health benefits actually disappear when cattle have “just a little” grain at the end of their lives, for even as short as 2 months — this is why at KOL Foods we never feed grain to our cattle.
Others come to KOL Foods because they care about animal welfare and humane husbandry. We believe that healthy animals should eat what they’re supposed to eat and live on open pasture, not in feedlots. Our turkeys, chickens, and ducks are truly free-range. They are able to walk around outside as they please, flapping their wings as they forage for grasses, flowers, seeds, and bugs. They are offered organic non-GMO feed as a supplement.
Our beef and lamb are also pastured and never confined to feedlots, so they are able to get the exercise and nutrition they need to stay healthy. Cattle’s specialized biology allows them to be natural lawn mowers, easily breaking down all forms of hay, clover, and other various grasses — therefore, grass is all they eat.
Corn and grain are not natural food sources for cattle, so introducing grains upsets the balance of the animal’s gut bacteria, increasing the chances that the animal will be uncomfortable and become ill. Illness often leads to frequent antibiotic use, which can then lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. At KOL Foods, we break this harmful cycle. Our cows eat only grass, and they are never given antibiotics. Proper management of grass-fed cattle not only makes for a delicious meal; it also enables health benefits not seen in conventionally-raised animals and actually helps heal the environment.
Climate Change & Regenerative Agriculture
The amount of carbon in our atmosphere is too high. It’s warming the earth and destabilizing our climate. On the flip side, the amount of carbon in our soils is dangerously low, and soils have lost more than half their carbon in the last 200 years due to agricultural production methods. Farmers and researchers have discovered that we can use animal agriculture to absorb carbon from the atmosphere and bury it in the soil. Raising animals on grass is one of the best mechanisms to kick-start carbon reclamation. Regenerative agriculture follows farming and grazing practices that can help reverse climate change by rebuilding organic matter in soil and restoring soil biodiversity, both of which will pull carbon from the atmosphere and improve the water cycle.
We feel that producing the finest meat available is only achieved when it creates a net positive return on the environment. Our farming practices are sustainable and help reduce carbon in the air, protect and improve our soil and water, and add more nutrients back to our food sources. You can find this kind of meat if you ask the ranchers for it at your local farmers market, but not if you need it to be kosher. KOL Foods lets folks balance our modern and traditional values. Plus we deliver across the country using eco-friendly coolers made entirely from recycled plant fibers.
In Deuteronomy 30, God puts before us heaven and hell, life and death, and summons us to choose life. May we, in our age of an climate instability, remember to use our purchases to sustain life.