Avodah Adopts DefaultVeg

Avodah inspires their members to become leaders for social change whose work for justice is rooted in and nourished by Jewish values. In order to align our food choices with these values, Avodah is adopting DefaultVeg for all meetings and events we host to shift our purchasing practices away from factory farming — a root cause of social injustice for humans, animals, and the environment.

DefaultVeg FAQ

What is #DefaultVeg?

  • The key to Default Veg is to make veg food (vegetarian and vegan whenever possible) the norm and give people the choice to opt-in for meals with animal products, rather than opt-out. In short, meat and other animal products aren’t off-the-table (pun intended), they just need to be requested in the same way vegetarians/vegans/people with food allergies currently do. 
  • The baseline for DefaultVeg is vegetarian, but the less reliance on factory farms, the better – so whenever possible, vegan/fully plant-based meals are especially encouraged

Where does this apply to Avodah?

  • The Default Veg platform applies to Avodah’s organizational meetings and events in which Avodah is providing the food. 
    • Ex: CM program nights, galas and fundraising events, staff meetings, retreats, community/alumni events, etc. 
  • Avodah-provided/funded meals should be veg-by-default and CMs, participants, alumni, guests, stakeholders, staff, etc. can opt-in to meat/animal-based options if needed/desired. 

Where does this NOT apply?

  • This does not apply to the bayit since dietary and grocery decisions are Corps Member-decided as part of their communal living experience. With that said, it’s of course encouraged. 
  • This does not apply to donor/alumni-hosted Shabbat dinners or events. Vegetarian or vegan food isn’t required to be the default (your house, your rules), but it is encouraged and easy recipes/restaurant suggestions can be provided to any of our Advisory Council Members/Board/stakeholders/Alumni who might need some help in that area. *If Avodah is providing the funds for the gathering though, #DefaultVeg does apply. 

Where did this initiative come from?

  • This initiative was alumni-inspired and brought to us by Avodahnik Ilana Braverman (CHI Justice Fellowship 2019-2020). Ilana is a Program Director at Jewish Initiative For Animals (JIFA) and you may know her from this fab TedX Talk she gave, “Moving Beyond a Default Hamburger World,” which highlights the intersections of factory farming, environmental racism, human and animal welfare, and climate change. 
  • Several of us staffers across departments (and dietary practices) worked with Avodah alum Ilana Braverman on the proposal to incorporate it into Avodah’s norms.

Why DefaultVeg?

Since 99% of all animal products come from factory farms, this helps us to further put our money where our mouths are (pun intended), and shift our purchasing practices away from factory farming — a root cause of social injustice for humans, animals, and the environment (these values further outlined in the attached proposal). 

Where can I learn more?