Food and Faith is a blog of the Presbyterian Hunger Program.
Written by Ashley Goff and Rebecca Barnes
During this liturgical season that the Church of the Pilgrims calls "Homecoming," the Sundays between September and the end of November, we are focusing on the theme of Food and Faith. Within the theme of Food and Faith, we are taking on this arc for a focus: humus, exile, and harvest. To fully experience this theme we are having communion each week in worship.
The inspirations for this theme of Food and Faith is Sacred Greens, Pilgrims' urban garden which produces food to supplement meals for Open Table (our Sunday lunch for hungry neighbors). The book "Food and Faith" by Norman Wirzba has also been influential.
The first few weeks we are naming the element that formed our existence: soil. From a theological perspective, we are lifting up the Biblical interpretation that we are formed out of the humus, or topsoil, and it is from that place where the earth creature took it's shape.
A few weeks ago I had the privilege of helping to facilitate a family garden workshop. The workshop took place in a community garden located in West Louisville. Due to spontaneous rain showers there was a low turn-out but five enthusiastic souls blessed us with their presence. My co-worker and I were responsible for leading the youth portion of the workshop. Only one child was in attendance so our “youth workshop” transformed into a conversation about the neighborhood, how it had changed over the years and the impact of integration.
One community member was a fifty year old grandmother who ...
Food Justice Learning Call
Hosted by the Presbyterian Hunger Program & the Food Justice Fellows
Why a Garden?
Community, Church and Market Gardens & Resources for Urban Agriculture
Monday, April 15
12:00 noon (eastern); 11am (central);
10am (mountain); 9am (pacific)
Call 424-203-8075 and Enter 180305#
Hear presentations from three experienced urban agriculture practitioners & join in a conversation about the multiple benefits (and challenges) of gardening in community. Learn, share struggles and what works, connect with people and resources, and be inspired to build just, resilient and sustainable food economies.
Presenters: Laura Henderson, Executive Director of Growing Places
Jeremy John, Quixote Center
Laura Collins, Healthy Food for All Program Coordinator, CAIN
The first real day of spring is a very distinct day and it is not marked on any calendar. It is the day in March when the world begins to move again; the sidewalks become filled with people walking with their families and friends and it suddenly seems that everyone is on a bicycle.
Four full-time national service participants, Arianna King, Jonathan Krigger, Laura Stricklen, and Rachel Brunner started work this week for the Presbyterian Hunger Program (PCUSA) as part of a nationwide program to fight hunger, the National Anti-Hunger and Empowerment Corps.
Their service began on February 13 after top federal and local officials joined with nonprofit groups in Boston to swear-in the 31 members of the new national team, an AmeriCorps VISTA project which will help nonprofit organizations in 18 states, at nearly 30 sites, fight hunger, increase the amount of healthy, locally-grown food, and help to empower more low-income individuals and families to achieve long-term financial security.
For the next eleven months, Brunner, King, Krigger and Stricklen will assist congregations and organizations in Louisville and around the country more effectively connect low-income individuals and communities to government nutrition programs, such as SNAP and WIC, and to healthy, locally sourced foods.
The program is being led by the New York City Coalition Against Hunger (NYCCAH) and is funded by the USDA and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) with additional support from non-governmental sources. This unique public-private partnership is aimed at reducing the hunger and food insecurity faced by 50 million Americans.
“In this nation of plenty, it is unacceptable that millions of children still go to bed not knowing if there will be food for their next meal,” said Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee that funds AmeriCorps and a senior member of the subcommittee that funds the USDA. “The Anti-Hunger and Opportunity Corps is a win-win - it will play an important role in the fight against hunger, while helping young people build leadership skills and pay off school debt.”
“Increasing access to nutrition assistance for our most vulnerable populations is a top priority of the Obama Administration,” said USDA Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Concannon. “We are committed to working with our partners at the federal, state and local level, as together we help millions of families in need.”
“For more than 46 years, VISTA has been in communities working to improve the lives of millions of the most vulnerable Americans,” said Paul Davis, Acting Director of AmeriCorps VISTA. “This cross-agency collaboration with USDA will prove instrumental in helping individuals and families get on the path to economic stability and build stronger communities.”
“We are excited to host Arianna, Jonathan, Laura and Rachel, who will be working with congregations and communities to strengthen their witness of Christ in the world,” says Presbyterian Hunger Program staffer, Andrew Kang Bartlett. “Over decades, the Presbyterian Church USA has carried out ministries of compassion, helping to alleviate hunger, as well as ministries of justice to help Presbyterians understand and address the root causes of hunger. The VISTA workers extend the work of the Presbyterian Hunger Program to help build the capacity of local churches and groups to create healthy, just food systems in the U.S.”
“The AmeriCorps VISTA program is a perfect tool to fight hunger and improve nutrition,” said NYCCAH’s Joel Berg. “We are grateful that this new public-private partnership will cost-effectively aid the ability of grassroots nonprofit groups in 18 states to increase their capacity to enable eligible families to access the federal nutrition assistance benefits that they need to avoid hunger and improve their diets. We are extraordinarily grateful to the Obama Administration and to local officials around the country for this tremendous federal and local support.”
The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America programs, and leads President Obama's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit NationalService.gov. AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) taps the skills, talents, and passion of more than 7,000 Americans annually to support community efforts to overcome poverty. AmeriCorps VISTA members are assigned full-time for one year at nonprofit community organizations with the goal of building the organizational, administrative, and financial capacity of programs that provide low-income Americans with the skills and resources needed to break the cycle of poverty.
The Presbyterian Hunger Program has provided more than $100 million in financial support to effective groups in the U.S. and overseas since it was established in 1969. The five below are just a few of these initiatives, which are alleviating and striving to address the underlying causes of hunger.
Arise members speak out on income tax threshold
In response to a new report citing Alabama's high income tax on the poor, a Huntsville TV station turned to Arise members for comment. Dale Clem, pastor of Monte Sano United Methodist Church and an ACPP board member, and Dick Hiatt, executive director of the North Alabama Food Bank, an ACPP member group, voice their concerns about Alabama's upside-down tax system in this news clip. View news video here. Read ARISE news release here.
Alabama Arise is helping low-income families build a future with individual development accounts (IDAs). Under guidelines set forth by federal Assets for Independence Act of 1998, participants can get a “double match” for up to $2000 they save in an IDA. For $2000 put into the IDA they can get $6000 for a downpayment on a home, college education or starting a small business. What a great way to help others help themselves out of poverty. Alabama Arise motto says it all “A hand UP, not a hand out”.
Boston Faith and Justice Network
Fair Trade Boston was designed to connect church teams, businesses and student groups to broader community engagement of Fair Trade. They hold events for Christians to raise consciousness about how these issues relate to their faith such as film screenings, a national webinar on fair trade and faith, and a bike ride and a benefit concert for a local safe house for survivors of human trafficking. They provide information to Boston-area residents so they are able to understand the ways workers are abused and how fair trade can address this.
The picture to the right is from BFJN director's recent trip to India. Read Ryan's India blog posts on their website.
Corporate Accountability International
Corporate Accountability International is “Thinking Outside the Bottle.” They have convinced schools, businesses, mayors and governors to support and create Bottled Water Free Zones. We definitely need to come together and get various corporations to stop draining watersheds and aquifers for profits. We can work together and all be “Bottle Free”!
PHP has supported CAI's water campaign in past years and is now supporting their work to combat unhealthy food advertising. Read about their campaigns.
First Presbyterian Church St Joseph
First Presbyterian Church St. Joseph will celebrate its 27th anniversary in June of 2012. The church provides sack lunches every Sunday with the help of many volunteers. While folks are there to pick up their food, nurses give flu and hepatitis shots, AIDS screenings and other health services. There is a “Health Express” mobile clinic that parks in front of Open Door Food Kitchen twice a month to offer blood pressure checks, diabetes sugar level sticks, hygiene kits and referral services. They also have Para Medic and a nurse practitioner on board.
And check out their Food for Kids program as well.
Idaho Community Action Network
Due to so many Americans struggling in todays time ICAN got together and came to legislature to increase Food Stamp Asset test from $2,000 to $5,000. This bill is now a law! They are also trying to reverse Medicaid cuts after $35 million was cut from the state budget. Started in 1999, ICAN has over 2,000 members statewide and they educate and mobilize people to advocate on issues of social, racial, and economic justice and to eliminate poverty in Idaho. Learn about their great food justice programs and read their new report:
Families or Corporations?
SUPER COMMITTEE CHOICE: NEED VERSUS GREED
New Report Shows Staggering Hunger and Food Insecurity Nationwide While Federal Funds Feed “Big Ag” Profits.
All this great work is made possible by the generous gifts of Presbyterians to the One Great Hour of Sharing. Thank you!
Here is the scoop, including why you might apply (or send this to a young adult that you love!)
Anathoth Community Garden is a church ministry positioned in the hub of the South’s “local, organic movement” and in proximity to Duke Divinity School. This nature and location provide apprentices with the unique opportunity to learn the fundamentals of regenerative agriculture and its place within the framework of Christian reconciliation and community development--not only in the garden and surrounding community, but also from leading practitioners and scholars! The program is designed as a curriculum-based, immersion experience for 3-4 college-age or older Christians interested in developing the horticultural and theological proficiency to lead related initiatives in their own communities.
What to expect?
Our goal is to shower each apprentice with the encouragement and appropriate resources they need to grow and better minister to the communities of which they are a part. In return, our hope is that the apprentices would help us do the work to sustain this ministry by working in the garden, loving our neighbors and helping us imagine how we might better minister to Northern Orange County.
Download more details and the application forms
Please email further questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Chas Edens at (336) 408-0968.
"I had grown two things, a cup of grass seed in kindergarten and kohlrabi in third grade, before I moved to Florida to join Nathan Ballentine with his business of helping people grow their own food and share it," says Lindsay Popper, a graduate of Warren Wilson College along with Nathan who is building relationships and building gardens all over Tallahassee!
Nathan is one of the Presbyterian Hunger Program's 16 Food Justice Fellows. While most the Food Justice Fellows are digging in the dirt, I'm guessing Nathan's hands are stained brown.
Nathan has been food gardening since eight when his mother set him on a garden as a homeschooling project. He grew up in the PC(USA) and has been accused of being a "Presby-geek." Currently, Nathan runs Tallahassee Food Gardens, his own business and social enterprise established "to encourage and assist folks to raise food for self and neighbor." They earn income by means of raised bed installs, planting fruit trees, and just recently, an affluent neighborhood has hired Nathan to facilitate their community garden development. Having studied community organizing at Warren Wilson College, he spends 1-3 days a week supporting community gardens in neighborhoods, at food pantries, churches, and schools.
Read Lindsay's story about Nathan and what's growing in Tallahassee -- "Academics, work and service: Blurring the Lines"