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Food and Faith

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Food and Faith is a blog of the Presbyterian Hunger Program.

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August 31, 2010

Webinar on Earth Care Congregations and Energy Star

PC(USA) Congregations that are interested in working on earth care are invited to participate in a webinar from PC(USA) Environmental Ministries and ENERGY STAR for Congregations called “Earth Care Congregations and How ENERGY STAR Can Help” on Wednesday, October 6...

August 30, 2010

Ha-Joon Chang uncovers what’s worked in agricultural policy

Ha-Joon's analysis in "Kicking Away the Ladder" helped me to understand that the United States has been trying to push on developing countries a path of development based on myth, not on the actual history of how the U.S. and European countries developed. The very trade rules we are pushing into international policy via Free Trade Agreements and the WTO would likely have thwarted our development as a country. Now Ha-Joon has done a similar analysis on our agricultural system. This summary shows how countries have successfully taken alternative approaches to the conventional ideologies pushed by U.S. institutions: ‘In the earlier stages of development, today’s rich countries had to grapple with the very problems that dog the agricultural sector of today’s developing countries – land tenure, land degradation, fragmentation of holdings, agricultural research, extension services, rural credit, irrigation, transport, fertilizers, seeds, price and income stabilities, trade shocks, agro-processing, marketing, and so on. Many successful policy interventions have gone well beyond (or even against) the scope recommended by the New Conventional Wisdom (NCW), which has ruled agricultural (as well as other) policies in the last quarter of a century: · Japan and other East Asian countries had a very successful comprehensive land reform that included strict land ownership ceilings. · Virtually all of today’s rich countries used state-backed specialized rural banks and credit subsidies, state-subsidized agricultural insurance, public provision or subsidization of warehousing facilities, and input (e.g. fertilizers) quality control · Denmark and some other European countries benefited from effective export marketing boards · The USA and Japan successfully used price stabilization measures ‘History frees our “policy imagination” by showing that the range of policies and institutions that have produced positive outcomes for agricultural development has been much wider than any particular ideological position – be it the pre-1980s statist one or the pro-market NCW – would admit.’

August 25, 2010

Holy land or a commodity?

Since the food crisis of 2008, food justice activists have warned that governments in concert with multinational corporations have accelerated a worldwide "land grab" to buy up vast swaths of arable land in poor countries. According to The Economist magazine, between 37 to 49 million acres of farmland were put up for sale in deals involving foreign nationals between 2006 and mid-2009. A friend pointed out how the land grabbing going on now is nothing new to what Native American, Hispanic and Black farmers and communities have faced for centuries. The current scale of the land grabs is tremendous. Take a look at what is happening in this good interview of Anuradha Mittal -- executive director of the Oakland Institute and keynote speaker at past PC(USA) conferences -- by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!

August 20, 2010

Community Food Conference 14

So you've heard about the Week of Action on Food, right? It's October 10-17, and the Hunger Program helped put together a resource guide for congregations to use at worship, Sunday School, bible study, etc... Taking a trip to New Orleans for the Community Food Security Coalition Annual Conference would be a great way to close the week of action. The format for the conference is a little different this year. "This is not a conference to just stay in the hotel and never go outside." That's why they're offering a ton of trips at the beginning of the conference to get out into New Orleans and see what there is to see in the world of food, culture and justice. Some of the more interesting looking trips include: * Food Deserts, Food Swamps & Food Access in Urban Communities * NOLA Urban Agriculture * Cooperation is the Name of the Game: the Mississippi Farmers Co-op If that's not enticing enough, they've invited First Lady Michelle Obama (who's been involved in the Let's Move campaign to raise a healthier generation of kids) Regular registration for the conference ends October 1st. You can register for an additional fee up until October 19th. Visit to learn more and register. Let us know if you're planning on going... we'll see you there. And check out their awesome shrimp fleur de leis. Kudos to whoever designed that!

August 20, 2010

Pay your library fine with food

waiting patiently for a meteorite shower to commence, I spy the single light on top of the mountain in front of me

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