Black farmers call for boycott of Monsanto: The National Association of Black Farmers has asked its 60,000 members to boycott Monsanto products. The action is in protest of Monsanto's $1.5 billion bid to acquire Delta & Pine Land Company. Dr. John Boyd, president of the Association, says the merger of these two giant agrochemical corporations will put small farming operations at risk:
"We believe that Monsanto has and will continue, through this merger, to violate federal and state antitrust laws by using its dominance in biotech seeds and herbicides to balloon prices and fees while curtailing competition and choice.... If Monsanto hurts black farmers, black farmers have no choice but to hurt Monsanto."
The food and farm bill is big this year. And we need the help of each person that eats. There are many ways to plug in. The first step is to sign up for updates and alerts from the Religious Working Group on the Farm Bill.
In January 10, Jamuna Ramdas Ade decided she couldn't take it any more. The cotton farmer from the Indian state of Maharashtra was so deep in debt that she swallowed a mouthful of monocrotophos, an insecticide so poisonous it is banned in Europe and the United States.
Sadly, this is not an isolated incident. Family farmers around the world, including the U.S., are killing themselves out of desperation.
See a related article about Seydou Coulibaly, a cotton farmer from Mali who was in Louisville to meet with local farmers and students, by Rasa Zimliki (Oxfam) and Andrew Kang Bartlett. Download the two-pager here.
" 'They who do not give to another what belongs to the other are not eating their own bread, but are eating both their bread and the other's.' (Meister Eckhart)
"The thousands of hungry persons in our cities and the millions of starving persons in our world question the quality of our bread; it is bitter because it contains too many children's tears; it is hard because its substance embraces the torture of so many empty stomachs. It does not deserve to be called our bread. If the bread is to be ours, then we must transform the world and deliver society from the mechanisms that permit the wealth to be maintained at the expense of bread taken from the mouths of others.
"Bread calls us to a collective conversion. This condition must be fulfilled if our prayer is not to be vain and pharisaical. The gospel forbids me to ask only for myself, disregarding the needs of others known by me. Only our bread is God's bread." — Leonardo Boff, from Praying With Jesus and Mary
As people of faith we are called to change broken systems. Today’s food system is broken and is in need of God’s healing, liberating touch. Join the struggle for “collective conversion”. Go to the Presbyterian Hunger Program’s site on Just Trade and Farm Bill Reform. Raise your awareness and become an activist for those who are hungry around God’s world.
Check out this interactive online quiz that demonstrates how arbitrary and obsolete the USDA’s current national school food standards are. Knowing this, you may choose the non-intuitive answer. But in any case, you will be shocked.
This simple tool may come in handy as a teaching tool for young people or merely an object of interest, particularly as efforts heat up in Congress to have the USDA update it school nutrition standards.
Brian Halweil, author of the excellent book Eat Here: Reclaiming Homegrown Pleasures in a Global Supermarket can make complex issues digestable. Here are a couple video clips of him talking about local foods and sustainable seafood:
In this first one, he explains why local food is uniting those concerned about food miles, health, the local economy and food safety.
In this video clip, Brian speaks about the international team of biologists and economists that warns us if we continue on our current path, much of the worlds fish populations could be wiped out before the middle of this century. He explains what we as consumers can do to turn the tide.
By authors Anthony F. Chiffolo and Rayner W. Hesse, Jr.
If food connects us to each other, to our families, and to our history, then Cooking With the Bible, helps to connect us to biblical stories and peoples. Selecting passages from The book of Genesis through the Gospels, authors Chiffolo and Hesse first offer an accessible, easily understood commentary on the context of each story and then, using mostly ingredients available in common grocery stores, create menus with recipes to invoke the meal highlighted in the selected passage. While cooks of all abilities would enjoy trying their hand at the recipes listed, it is a great book for small and large bible study and fellowship groups who want to engage bible stories with all their senses, not just their intellect.
At 386 pages (including references), the physically well-constructed book contains eighteen stories and menus as well as over 160 pages of background on the ingredients used. The list price of $75 (three times the cost of most cookbooks) may give individual cooks a pause, but Cooking With The Bible would certainly make a strong and frequently used addition to the church library shelf.
Update: The recipes are not limited to their chapter settings. Windsor Presbyterian Church in Windsor, CA used one of the recipes (Persian Lamb Stew with Sweet Fruits – pg 131) with great success for a Maundy Thursday meal this last spring.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is working with faith communities and congregations across the country to call on Congress to reform the Farm Bill.
The Religious Working Group on the Farm Bill (RWG), in which PC(USA) joins the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, National Council of Churches, United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries, Church World Service, the United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Oxfam America and Bread for the World, believes that 2007 represents a critical moment in U.S. agricultural policy.
The group meets weekly to develop a statement of legislative principles for farm bill reform and to share faith based perspectives on Farm Bill reform with key congressional decision-makers.
The RWG supports a farm bill that strengthens investment in communities in rural America; ensures all Americans an adequate and nutritious diet; provides better and more targeted support for U.S. farm families of modest means; and conserves the land for present and future generations.