Food & Faith Practices

Western Lake Superior Compact “Learn, Live and Lead” Series A Call to Action: Moving Beyond Charity
Faith communities can play a pivotal role in building local food and farm webs that help end hunger and bring justice to the food system. Congregations often have resources—land, kitchens, buildings and volunteers—that can be harnessed for sustainable community development. Gardens, buying clubs and other projects that promote health and food security are ways faith communities are advancing food justice. These initiatives empower families and neighborhoods to grow and process their own food, collaborate with local farmers and regain control over their diet and health. Churches may even provide an incubation sites for microbusinesses. Many communities are turning to these kinds of creative solutions to foster economic resiliance and social justice.

Learn…
Study hunger, food access issues, and newer concepts like food sovereignty, a call from farming communities around the world for greater justice and control over what people grow and eat. Where does our food come from? Who touches it along the way and how are they treated? How does my faith connect to food issues? What issues and changes are most important? When am I going to do something about it? The Bible is full of food justice stories, including that first “food violation” by Adam and Eve! Your place of worship is a great place to learn the connections between the food system and our faith. Some places to start are: • Presbyterian Hunger Program’s Food & Faith website for resources www.pcusa.org/food. • Just Eating? Practicing Our Faith at the Table is a great ecumenical Christian curriculum with adult, middle school versions available at gamc.pcusa.org/ministries/hunger/practice-just-eating • GreenFaith's Repairing Eden Guide: Sustainable Food Practices for Faith-Based Institutions. greenfaith.org/resource-center/stewardship/food-and-faith • More good ideas and resources: US Food Sovereignty Alliance: www.usfoodsovereigntyalliance.org Coalition of Immokalee Workers: www.ciw-online.org and for students, see realfoodchallenge.org/resources

Live…
Congregations can build community relationships and be vitalized by taking what we learn about food justice and faith and putting it into a practice. Below are some examples of faithful action taken by various worshiping communities;
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Host a farmers market on the church’s parking lot Start a community or church garden, involving youth and elders

Consider organizing a "Local Foods Potluck!" Make dishes prepared with locally grown foods. Elderly participants could tell about the food system when they were young and do hands-on instruction on how to “put up” food. Local farmers and/or farm workers can be invited to talk about their lives and answer questions. Play music and have fun! The central theme could be "Celebration of God’s Bountiful and Fruitful Creation."

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Host a Congregation Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share drop-off point Offer subsidized CSA shares to low-income families Buy locally for home and congregational use to support the regional food system Use/lend the church’s kitchen for “preservation parties,” to prepare marketable food products, and to provide storage for locally grown foods Provide nutrition education for members and the wider community

Lead…
Leading from a place of learned and lived practices, with humility, passion and vision is inspiring. Faithful action can be liberating and essential for needed change.
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Support efforts to bring farmers markets and produce to low-income communities Sponsor a farmer to enroll in the “Farm Beginnings” SFA program Support local, state and national policies that allow the development of local food economies, including sprawl control and farmland preservation Spread urban gardening – developing church, school and community gardens Train young people to garden and develop valueadded products for sale Facilitate direct marketing of local foods (e.g. farm to cafeteria, Fresh Stops) with special emphasis on lower-income communities Support local processing and de-centralized distribution systems Raise the moral and environmental concerns about genetic engineering in agriculture Advocate for fair wages, safe conditions and dignity for farm workers Promote water and soil health with decreased chemical use and sustainable livestock production

Limited acces to land is an issue for low-income and young future farmer. This injustice is harmful to both the future producers and to the ability to get increased fresh, healthy local food. One hope is that churches and other organizations will work to preserve “Freedom Fields.” The idea is to gather parcels of land, through land donations or fundraising. Then lease or rent these lands to young and lowincome farmers. Note - County Tax forfeit lands might be an additional option for land access.

"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?" ~ Isaiah 58:6

Learn… Live… Lead…!

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