Food and Faith is a blog of the Presbyterian Hunger Program.
Earlier this month, I was asked to give a talk on food justice to a near by congregation. I knew this was a broad topic, but I didn’t realize exactly how broad it was until I began compiling my presentation. I felt overwhelmed, the same feeling I usually experience when going into a “big box” grocery store, after spending most of my time at local markets. The choices were unlimited. After discernment and a better understanding of the crowd, I decided to focus on the social dimensions of our food system- looking at those key players that often times go unnoticed. Narrowing the topic still suggested an extensive amount of coverage. Realizing I had to start somewhere, I put together my prezi entitled, “It’s Just Food: Social Inequalities within the American Food System.”
I began with the story of Thanksgiving. While we can thank those closest to us, we often times never get a chance (or forget entirely) to thank those doing the work to get us our food. After focusing on the producers and suppliers: small farmers, workers in the fields, and more specifically dairy farmers, I switched gears and looked at the consumers, spotlighting the working class living in food deserts, and the homeless. I wanted to give food justice a face, while still showing the extensiveness of this subject.
Our food system has gone astray, so much so that it’s harming other areas of our life and we don’t even realize it (health and well-being). I have grown up in a culture that is famous for the elevator speech. Fit everything you have to say in 20 minutes or less! Starting ….NOW..GO! It’s hard to fit so much information into a 20 minute talk, let alone come up with a quick and easy solution (impossible!). I’m still unsure if people walked away with the message I wanted to bring, but at least I planted a seed.
Vickie Machado is a 2012 Food Justice Fellow. She is currently living full time at the Gainesville Catholic Worker and pursuing her Master’s in Religion and Nature at the University of Florida.