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Resources from the Food Justice for All Webinar Series
Thank you to all those attending this months Food Justice for All Webinar Series. There is one more webinar that will focus on SNAP/food stamp outreach and Summer Food Service Programs.
Below you can find resources, video, and answers to frequently asked questions from the Webinar series.
If your congregation or community group would like support in starting a food security or anti-hunger project, please feel free to call us at 502.569.5553, or write us at email@example.com
Presentations in the Food Justice for All Webinars:
Find Answers to Frequently Asked Questions here!
Partners and More Resources:
1) The updated Food Sovereignty for All Handbook: Overhauling the Food System with Faith-Based Initiatives is available free of charge! Download PDF of Food Sovereignty for All Handbook
Thanks to the Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon for their work writing and publishing this valuable guide. This is a slightly updated version.
2) See also the US Dept. of Agriculture's Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships website for their helpful tools to start community gardens, summer feeding programs, and Food Stamp outreach projects.
3) Make a commitment to end hunger, obesity, and food insecurity by becoming a "Lets Move" congregation today!
On Sunday morning, May 1st, I was working in the church garden with the kids during worship. Like many churches, we send the kids out to Sunday School after the Children’s Sermon, and then come running back in for communion on the weeks when it is served. My hands were muddy from scooping holes into the ground for the tomato plants and I did not pause to wash them on my way back into the sanctuary.
We’re trying to do a little Creation-Care as well as Feed-The-Hungry learning in the garden but quite frankly, that morning, the nearby swing set, not to mention the super cool hillside of mulch had more attraction power then the tomatoes & peppers part. Although harvesting, and eating the peas did pull the kids back from tossing the pine cone bombs for a few minutes. I’m thinking the key to Christian Education with this crew will be the ability to talk fast when the windows open up. Also, bribing with food seems promising as well.
Calls for food justice and food sovereignty are echoing around world. From landless farmers in Brazil to seed savers in India, from urban farms in Oakland to affordable produce drop-offs in Cleveland, from agroecological farms around Lake Victoria in Kenya to farmer-owned cooperatives in Wisconsin, the sprouting of sustainable and just food systems is as sure as spring rains.
Hundreds of PCUSA congregations are joining the movement—opening their kitchens, digging food gardens, hosting farmers markets, and advocating forfair food policies.
Sixteen Food Justice Fellows, comprised of pastors, urban agriculturalists, grassroots advocates and students, have begun their work together and in their own communities. The Fellows will develop their own personal agrarian/food justice faith statements to more deeply ground their work. The idea came from participants of the HEART trip and the Presbyterian Hunger Program (PHP) is hosting this national fellowship.
PHP is also hosting two Americorps*VISTAs who are supporting congregations in their efforts to bring food access to neglected parts of of our cities and states.
Interested people are invited to join the Fellows, VISTAs and other Presbyterians online on the Food and Faith Groupsite to share ideas about ways you and your congregation can address inequities in your local food economy and around the world. Congregations and faith-based groups are also invited to join the US Food Sovereignty Alliance. PHP is a founding member and has been active in its development. Learn more about the Alliance here.
Finally, for ideas and practical assistance, consider joining the Food Justice for All Webinars for free. Click on the webinar you wish to participate in to register.
Ever wanted your church to grow its own food, or become a pick-up spot for local produce shares?
Do you want to make sure families in need have access to good, healthy food?
Learn from others' experiences about how your congregation can get involved in the movement to bring communities together around fresh, healthy and local food!
Join one of the Presbyterian Hunger Program (PHP) "Food Justice for All" webinars!
PHP will be hosting a series of learning calls/webinars to explore ways that congregations around the country are growing community by alleviating hunger and connecting healthy local food to people and communities with little access. The webinars will detail proven faith-based initiatives like summer-feeding programs, community gardens, farmers markets, tactics for getting local produce in food pantries and kitchens, and other models for linking people with healthy and local food.
Sign up for the webinars by clicking on the registration link below:
On Thursday, a special group of folks from around the world joined in a spirited protest with farm workers from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), students and people of faith from various churches in the area. The protest took place in front of a Publix supermarket in Naples, Florida. The CIW has been asking Publix to work with them to end poverty wages and abuses in the fields.
Pictured is Dr. Aruna Gnanadason from India, who is one of 30 people gathered for a Justice Reading consultation with the World Council of Reformed Churches here in Fort Myers. We spent the first day together with the farm workers in Immokalee to ground our consultation in current justice issues of worker exploitation, mistreatment of immigrants and modern-day slavery. (See the press release from the WCRC on the protest)
During our "immersion" day with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, we heard the history of the CIW and the farm workers' struggle and amazing organizing to claim their rights and dignity. We walked through the town seeing the ridiculously-expensive RVs that many of the farm workers rent on a weekly basis. And we saw the solidarity and service center Mision Peniel.
Mision Peniel is one of three ministries of Beth-El, which assists farm workers in Immokalee in their efforts to achieve greater self-sufficiency. It provides opportunities to worship, educational programs and many services needed given the lack of services and opportunites offered by the government. The Mision provides food, men’s clothing & shoes and hygiene items as well as a hot meal on Friday. Pastor Miguel Estrada, an ordained Presbyterian pastor from Guatamala, has been the director of the Mision since 2007.
The US Food Sovereignty Alliance launched on World Food Day 2010. Since October, representatives from member organizations have been dialoguing with grassroots organizations, faith groups and coalitions -- primarily in the United States but linked to the global movement for food sovereignty -- to create an alliance for positive change. The Presbyterian Hunger Program has been an active member since the groups came together as the US Food Crisis Working Group, which formed in reaction to the 2008 global food crisis. PHP has been collaborating as the ad-hoc coalition formalizes and invites groups to join together to remake sustainable food economies everywhere so they serve people, both consumers and producers. Theologians from around the world were invited to reflect on the need to turn the tables on an often unjust food system and one of them, Sofia Oreland, despite the fact that she was due with her second child, responded. Here is her reflection...
Food for My Child
By Sofia Oreland
Sweden Theologian and Policy Advisor, Education and Mobilization, Church of Sweden
I gave birth to a child, Baby Brother (Lillebror, the name his sister gave him). Everything seemed fine. But when Baby Brother was only eight hours old doctors discovered he had several life-threatening heart problems. We were given emergency transport to the Swedish hospital that performs pediatric heart surgery. Once in his unit, Baby Brother shared an observation room with three others, with staff persons continuously supervising their young patients. Baby Brother’s surgery was postponed twice, the first time due on an onset of sepsis, the second time because the ICU was full. We spent two weeks, anxiously waiting and watching him.
Baby Brother was too tired to nurse, partly due to the heart problems, partly due to the strong life-sustaining medication. But every day I gave him the breast, hoping that this was the day he would have the strength to eat. After a couple of courageous attempts he always fell asleep. He was too tired. This was painful to watch. But then one day it happened: he was able to eat one whole meal! It was a fantastic feeling of liberation, relief. I was all smiles and when I looked up I discovered two African women, at the bedside of an older boy, watching me with Baby Brother in my arms. They saw my joy, our eyes met, and there, below their veils, their faces broke into big smiles as well. It was evident that they understood, that they were able to share my emotion and deep joy.
Does the thought of building bonds and direct links between farmers and eaters stir you up?
Are you already a food justice-maker?
Does the idea of building oases of fresh, healthy food in "food deserts" get you excited?
Have you heard of food sovereignty?
Is your longing for justice - for your neighbor and all people - rooted in your faith?
Yes to one or more of these means you may have the agrarian and spiritual muscle and bones that Food Justice Fellows are made of!
* We are extending the deadline one time until March 11. Download the Food Justice Fellows Application
This is a new initiative of the Presbyterian Hunger Program to strengthen the work of Presbyterians and communities working to build just, equitable and sustainable local food economies in the U.S. and around the world. We have seen that by strengthening localized food systems, which are controlled by the producers and consumers themselves and based on Christian principles of justice and stewarship, communities are able to become more self-reliant and economically prosperous.
Food Justice Fellows will work individually as organizers in their region, but be strengthened as a national communal body by exchanging their experiences of what is working and visions for how to move forward. By virtue of being a community of practice, Fellows and PHP staff will be able to update each other on the U.S. and global food sovereignty movement and stay connected with common ground initiatives inside and outside the church. Food Justice Fellows will provide each other with mutual support, accountability and camaraderie.
Consider becoming a Food Justice Fellow and/or passing this information to a young (or young at heart) adult who would be great for this. Applications from lay and ordained leaders from the African American, Latino and Asian communities are particularly encouraged.
Learn more here.
P.S. And you definitely don't need to be a 'fellow'! (there just aren't great options - cohort, comrade, compeer, bloke. Food Justice Blokes. Naw. Cohorts is actually pretty good...)
Many of us have heard too many times in the Adam & Eve story that “Adam means dirt.” Humans are made of humus, blah de blah. How cool and ancient and mythical and overimaginative of those ancient Hebrews – right?
No, there’s a little more to it than that.
First of all – “dirt.” Mistranslated “dust of the ground” by King James and the RSV family of Bibles, the word means “fertile soil.” Adamah in the Hebrew (you see how closely it’s related to Adam). This is a particular word, not just any old dirt. It is soil – arable land. Think not about the dust of a desert, but about potting soil… an obviously fertile soil, the stuff from which all land plants and animals ultimately take their nourishment. But our potting soil is usually pretty blackish brown, and this is not the adamah’s color. The words adam and adamah are not only related to one another, but are related to the word adom, “ruddy,” reddish. This is particular soil – for the Israelites this is the color of the hills of home.
It tells them not only THAT God made them, but WHERE God made them. Egyptian soil and Babylonian soil have nothing on that particular soil from which a chosen group of people were made.
We can all say that God made us here – on this earth. Some of us have (over the millennia) wandered to northern regions where our skin didn’t need the melanin so much, and so we got a little paler, and so it’s funny, nearly ridiculous, to say white people were made from soil. Contrary to the pictures in many a Children’s Bible, however, people in biblical times didn’t have that problem. They understood that they belonged to that land, as surely as their skintone matched the fertile soil.
In a world of cheap travel, adventure, frequent voluntary relocation, and of the nonvoluntary diaspora and exile of many people-groups… we lose our sense of belonging to a land.
Where do you belong? Where were you made? What color is your dirt? What is the land you cannot abandon?
Rev. Peter Sawtell does reflections like the one below every week, and you can sign up for his free e-newsletter on the Eco-Justice Ministries' website. You can find a subscribe form at the bottom of last week's Notes, where he tucks the 6-1/2 billion history of Earth into a year.
Enjoy "Rich and fulfilling," which for me describes getting back to a more agrarian way of life and mindset. I'm printing it out for my teenage sons to read, and then I'll be tossing my television (and their video games) out the window...
Rich and Fulfilling
Copyright 2011 - Eco-Justice Ministries
Over the New Year's holiday, I looked at some old family pictures. One set shows my grandfather driving a Model T Ford along the rutted, unpaved tracks of what then qualified as a major highway in central Nebraska.
My wife's grandmother reflected to Allyson about the changes she had seen in her lifetime -- from hearing the astonishing news of the Wright Brother's first flight (December, 1903) to seeing live TV images of people walking on the surface of the moon (July, 1969).
When we lived in Iowa farm country, Allyson and I saw home movies where our parishoners were plowing fields with teams of horses, and raising sheep, goats, cattle, pigs and chickens in the diverse ecology of a family farm.
I've had a couple of conversations in the last month with folk describing their experiences growing up with party line telephones, and having eight families able to listen in on each other's conversations.
My, how times change!
Today's farm fields -- frequently owned by corporations instead of families -- are plowed by enormous tractors, and livestock are raised in the confined settings of industrial agriculture. Increasing numbers of households are giving up their wired telephones, and exclusively using mobile "phones" that are far, far more powerful than the computers that took Apollo 11 astronauts to the moon. Where my adventurous grandfather spent days fighting across muddy Midwestern roads to get from Omaha to Denver, 50 million people now fly through the Denver airport every year, expecting quick and reliable travel to destinations around the world.