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April 28, 2014

God in Your Salad

The Trinity. God in 3 persons. Father, Son, Holy Ghost.

Heard it since you were in Sunday school right? Well, have you ever compared the Trinity to salad dressing? Or the church to palette flavors? Probably not. Have no fear- it'll all make sense by the end of this post!

Salad dressing, as we learned today in our Salad Dressing Throwdown (yes, we had a competitive salad dress-off -- and you should too!) is comprised of 3 main components. 3 components like the Trinity. See how I did that?

Salad dressing= salty -- fatty -- sour

A proper, palette pleasing salad dressing ...

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February 25, 2014

Kale Defeats Polar Vortex! Stony Point Center Farm Update

Gardening in winter and looking forward toward spring!
Update from our farm (by Will Summers and Kitty Ufford-Chase)
SPC greenhouse in the snow

Greetings from the winter wonderland that is the Stony Point Center!

What a winter it's been. In the past month, we've had snow, snow, and more snow. And it has just kept piling up.

During one recent 24-hour stretch, we probably got about 18 inches! My major concern in a blizzard like that is the greenhouse. It's not what's inside the greenhouse that I'm worried about in a snowstorm, but the greenhouse itself. More than a foot of heavy, wet snow has the potential to damage the entire structure.

After this particular snowstorm, Matt and I spent an entire morning clearing snow off the greenhouse roof and then removing all the snow that had piled up on the sides that continued to put pressure on the plastic and the frame. We had to dig in the snow by hand because snow shovels can very easily puncture the greenhouse plastic. It was quite a day-I was soaking wet after spending the entire morning essentially waist-deep in the snow.
kale in greenhouse

Despite the polar vortex, our greenhouse crops continue to grow. We've taken extra precautions by double-covering them when weather forecasts indicate temperatures will be in the single-digits (which has been quite frequent this winter). In just the past week, our greenhouse spinach has really started to grow quickly as the days get incrementally longer. We're still harvesting kale, collards, chard, and arugula from the greenhouse as well.

Recently we've put a lot of energy into preparing our greenhouse for spring seeding. In fact, by the end of February, we will have seeded lettuce, spinach, and onions that will be transplanted in the fields in March or April (assuming, of course, that all that snow eventually melts!).

Needless to say, here at Stony Point Center, all of us on the farm crew are eagerly awaiting the arrival of spring.

Peace and winter blessings,
Will (the Stony Point Center Farmer) and Kitty

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January 6, 2014

Local Apples: Food Justice in Gift Giving

I am a YAV in Boston, working with and learning about food justice and economic discipleship.  These topics have me examining how to live out our biblical calls to love our neighbor, care for the poor, the widows, the orphans, and do justice in terms of our food and economic decisions.  It gets pretty complex because our food system and economy are so complex in recent decades.

 

Why is it that people can buy apples in the supermarket from hundreds of miles away while apple farmers within fifty miles are struggling to pay their workers? 

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January 1, 2014

Information, Anger and Activism

I will run with that good news until the next thing pisses me off. 

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December 23, 2013

Adventures in "Unconforming"

Do justice.
Learn from the world community.
Nurture people.
Cherish the natural order.
Nonconform freely.
~Living More with Less by Doris Janzen Longacre~


Read that again. "Nonconform freely." It’s right there, waiting for us to let go of our inhibitions and be ourselves in this crazy world full of societal norms- gloriously creative life, waiting for us.

The other YAVs and I spent the first weekend of December on retreat in central Massachusetts. As part of our retreat we went Heifer International's farm in Rutland, MA. The farm has a global village of exact replica houses from the countries they serve, some livestock, and a group of volunteers who live on grounds to keep the farm functional.

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December 4, 2013

Seeing the Work

The shelter doesn’t feel like a basement. It is painted a calming yellow, and there always seem to be fresh flowers around.

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November 5, 2013

Thanksgiving Traditions

The aroma of macaroni and cheese, collard greens, chicken, ham, green beans, potato salad, yams, corn pudding and corn bread slithers up my nostrils. Four generations of my family form a circle and link hands. We bow our heads for prayer. My uncle asks God to bless the food and the hands that prepared it. We whisper our thanks and say “Amen” in unison. We part and create a path for the elders to make their plates then the children. Everyone has a place at the table. We eat and laugh for hours. Plates are licked clean. Stomachs are full. Pants are bursting at the seams. We find comfort at the table, where our family congregates and share the fruit of their labor. Never do we discuss where our dinner comes from. Never do we discuss the health related consequences of the food we eat. All that seems to matter is the taste and the fact that we have plenty.

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October 30, 2013

Food Justice Jobs! 2014 Anti-Hunger VISTA positions - Deadline Extension to Nov. 29

Ac The Presbyterian Hunger Program - PCUSA is looking to hire 12 full-time Anti-Hunger Opportunity Corps VISTA volunteers starting February, 2014.
Are you passionate about supporting community-driven solutions to injustices in the food system, locally and nationally?
If selected, you will work with a team of VISTAs in one of three cities - Louisville, Cincinnati or Indianapolis, to build capacity and work with them to build the power of the grassroots toward positive change. Preference given to people from and planning to stay in those areas. Candidates should send resumes and cover letters
by Friday, November 29.

++++++++++++++

Presbyterian Hunger Program (PHP) - Jobs Announcement

PHP plans to host 10-12 full-time Anti-Hunger Empowerment Corps VISTA volunteers for 12 months starting Feb. 2014. Four people will be based out of the PCUSA national offices in Louisville, Kentucky, and the others will be deployed as teams in Indianapolis and Cincinnati.

Visit the AmeriCorps*VISTA website for more information about the VISTA program. Visit pcusa.org/hunger for more info about the Hunger Program.

1) AmeriCorps*VISTA Community Food Justice Cultivator (6-10 positions)

Scope: Under the supervision of the National Associate for PHP, the AmeriCorps*VISTA will assist congregations, neighborhoods and organizations in one of three cities in outreach for SNAP, WIC and Senior Nutrition Programs, and in connecting people and communities struggling against poverty to locally-grown, healthy foods through these programs and other grassroots initiatives.

Responsibilities:

- Develop great working relations with congregations, neighborhood leaders, community-based groups, feeding programs, refugee communities, schools and institutions, and food justice organizations in the wider metro area, as well as with farmers, farmers market associations, and related producer/distributor groups.

- Work collaboratively with community and faith groups to develop volunteer, outreach and marketing plans for USDA nutritional programs and local food initiatives, including programs which increase local and healthy options for those lacking access to affordable good food.

- Organize, carry out trainings, and develop leaders to continue training programs.

- Support groups in identifying funding sources for related initiatives; occasional fundraising for local partners possible.

- Increase SNAP and nutrition program benefits use at farmers markets and other markets, and support gardening, farm and nutrition education.

- Assist with other areas of PHP work, especially on social media, story-telling and writing on food justice and related areas, making connections between local and global.

Requirements:

1. Desire and ability to work with a diverse group of people. Must possess cultural competency skills to work with people of many different backgrounds.

2. Ability to motivate oneself and work independently as well as in a team environment.

3. University degree or equivalent life experience preferred.

4. Great phone, face-to-face and written communication skills.

5. Strong interest in community organizing, food justice, social justice, and refugee/immigrant concerns.

6. Must be proactive, innovative, reliable, and detail-oriented (report writing is part of being a VISTA).

7. Fluency in English and one of the following languages preferred: Spanish, French, Creole, Nepali, Burmese, Lingala, Kituba or Somali.

8. Understanding of how congregations and faith-based agencies work, or willingness to learn.

9. Flexibility about work hours and willingness to work evening and weekend hours.

10. Must be willing to commit to one year as a full-time worker with AmeriCorps*VISTA and PHP. VISTA requires that applicants have no outside professional or educational commitments.

+++++++++++++++++

2) AmeriCorps*VISTA National Food Justice Coordinator (2 positions)

Scope: Under the supervision of the National Associate for PHP, the AmeriCorps*VISTA will inspire, equip and connect congregations and organizations in several USDA target states around the United States in methods and best practices for outreach on SNAP, WIC and Senior Nutrition Programs, local food economy building, volunteer recruitment and management, fundraising, and in supporting people and communities struggling against poverty to strengthen their voices and increase access to locally-grown, healthy food.

Responsibilities:

- Develop great relationships with people, congregations, interfaith hunger ministries, PHP grantee and other organizations in the target states, as well as with local producer/distributor and food justice groups in those areas.

- Work collaboratively with community and faith groups to develop volunteer, outreach and marketing plans for USDA nutritional programs and local food initiatives, including programs which increase local and healthy options for those lacking access to affordable good food.

- Help facilitate the development and implementation of training programs.

- Support groups in finding funding sources for related initiatives; occasional fundraising for food justice partners possible.

- Assist groups and congregations in increasing SNAP and nutrition program benefits use at farmers markets and other markets, and support gardening, farm and nutrition education.

- Assist with other areas of PHP work, including global food and land issues, writing for PHP blogs and PHP Post, etc.

Requirements:

1. Desire and ability to work with diverse groups and individuals. Must possess cultural competency skills to communicate with and work with people of different backgrounds.

2. Ability to motivate oneself and work independently as well as in a team environment.

3. University degree or equivalent life experience preferred.

4. Excellent phone, face-to-face and written communication skills; strong computer, social media and presentation skills.

5. Strong interest in community organizing, food justice, social justice, and refugee/immigrant concerns.

6. Must be proactive, innovative, reliable, and detail-oriented (report writing is part of being a VISTA).

7. Fluency in Spanish a plus.

8. Understanding of how congregations and faith-based agencies work, or willingness to learn.

9. Willingness to work some evening and weekend hours; willingness to do some travel.

10. Must be willing to commit to one year as a full-time worker with AmeriCorps*VISTA and PHP. VISTA requires that applicants have no outside professional or educational commitments.

To apply for this position, please email a cover letter and resume to Andrew by November 29, 2013.

Go to their website to learn more about AmeriCorps*VISTA.

For more information, call Andrew Kang Bartlett at (502) 569-5388.

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October 17, 2013

Ode to the Waitress

She glides across sticky wooden floorboards, bearing a heavy tray

and a plastic pitcher of raspberry iced tea.

“You got six at 21, and the party in the back – stay focused, and smile”

her manager winks as he impales the paper ticket on a mental spike.

She digs for the ibuprofen stashed in the Ketchup-stained apron around her waist;

smiles will come easier if her feet can forget about the first shift.

Table 6 needs refills, 9 needs their check

Another high chair for 17;

the neatly rolled silverware, which used to form a small white mountain

has melted to ...

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October 10, 2013

Access and a Space for Empowerment

Federal food assistance programs, particularly WIC and SNAP, have the ability to carve out spaces in which individuals can be empowered... The increased buying power that SNAP offers low-income families and individuals is a tool they can use to take control of their diet. WIC, even with the restrictions, is yet another tool. These resources, along with other resources such as budgeting and nutrition education, provide a space in which individuals have authority over what they eat and how they use their personal resources. And this authority, this control over their being, gives spaces for empowerment.

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September 20, 2013

Church of the Pilgrims' Food & Faith Season starts with compost, soil and communion

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.

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July 3, 2013

I'm Patriotic as CAN be

Tomorrow is Independence day. The day we American’s celebrate the signing of a document that asserted that all men were created equal and with the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. On the Forth we normally assert those rights and pursue our happiness with flag waving, gracious displays of fireworks, and grilled food. I’m not knocking it, I enjoy a good cook out. But I do find it interesting that many think of this day as display of patriotism.

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June 5, 2013

Embracing Imperfect Eating

I am going to share with you, a poem:

Enriched flour

and cheese powder,

monosodium glutamate

and ammonium sulfate,

silicon dioxide

and yellow number 5

Okay, it is not really a poem. Just a selection of ingredients you’ll find listed on the back of the store brand cheese-its box in my recycling bin...

It’s the dirty laundry of this food justice advocate. But I air these treason in favor inclusion and the prevention of burnout.

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April 29, 2013

The Informed Eating Game

Thanks to my roommate’s luck with winning tickets, we attended a great film series event the other night showing the documentary, Eating Alabama.  The premise around the film was to capture all the trials and tribulations that the filmmaker and his wife had while trying to eating only food found in their home state of Alabama for one year.  This concept is nothing new to the food movement in fact people have been doing it for a while now, take Barbara Kingsolver and her record in, “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.”  However something in particular moved me that night.  Granted it ...

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April 14, 2013

Finding Fellowship at the Farmers Market

I love Wednesdays. Wednesdays mean seeing old friends, meeting new ones, and catching up on the goings-on in the neighborhood. We congregate, and we share. The tantalizing smells of freshly baked bread, hot coffee, and a potpourri of home-grown herbs awaken my senses. I hear old men reporting to one another about the past week while they display their jams and their leafy greens. A young couple from the county over prepares tea samples as their young children play under the table. Decorative chocolates are arranged with care by the woman with the curly red hair, and people young and ...

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April 10, 2013

Why a Garden? 1st Food Justice Learning Call on Tax Day!

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

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April 2, 2013

We are Fossil Fuels

“From dust you were made, and to dust you will return.”

Our bodies were created of earth; they are sustained by what we intake, which is grown by, or feeds off the earth; and ultimately we will return to the earth.

I wonder however, if the modern world version of the phrase should be, “From fossil fuels you are made, to them you cannot return”

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March 22, 2013

You Have Been Denied

Going through this tedious very stressful process has opened my naive eyes to the system of government assistance.   Aren’t government assistance programs meant to help reduce the daily stresses instead of creating more?  How can these individuals and families work through the system to get what they need without high stress and time away from work and family?  

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December 26, 2012

Diner's Guide APP is out!

ROC Diner's GuideFrom our friends at the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United!

EXCITING NEWS! Our 2nd annual ROC National Diners’ Guide to Ethical Eating 2013: A Consumer Guide on the Working Conditions of America’s Restaurants IS OUT & entirely new, the ROC Diners' Guide smartphone app, created by Clay Ewing, Assistant Professor at the University of Miami, putting restaurant rankings at consumers' fingertips.

The free app is available NOW for iPhone and Android mobile devices.
“ROC-U produced a National Diner’s Guide that rates restaurant based on how they treat their employees.” Mark Bittman exclaimed in his New York Times column earlier this year. "We have pocket guides for fish; finally, there’s one for humans.”

As the holiday season for dining out and office parties at restaurants begins, the Guide makes it easy for consumers and companies to evaluate more than 150 restaurants and national chains based on a number of key criteria:
- Do they provide paid sick days to ensure that those who handle and serve food are not passing on illnesses?
- Do they pay at least $9 per hour to non-tipped workers and at least $5 per hour to tipped workers? (The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour for non-tipped workers and just $2.13 for tipped workers.)
- Do they provide opportunities for advancement, so that at least 50 percent of their employees were promoted to those positions from within?

In the 2013 edition of the guide, ROC has included 73 restaurants that are committed to taking a “high road” approach to workers and consumers, up from 35 restaurants in the 2012 edition. Congrats to all the Gold and Silver star winners in the Guide (some of them might surprise you)!

So check out the 2013 ROC Nat'l Diners' Guide and DOWNLOAD THE APP - find out if your favorite restaurants have been naughty or nice...

Don't forget to leave a review if you like the app!

Sincerely,

ROC-United

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October 29, 2012

Food Justice Jobs Announcement for Anti-Hunger VISTA positions

The Presbyterian Hunger Program - PCUSA is looking to hire 12 full-time Anti-Hunger Empowerment Corps VISTA volunteers starting February, 2013.
Are you passionate about supporting community-driven solutions to injustices in the food system, locally and nationally?
If selected, you will work with a team of VISTAs in Louisville and in two other cities, likely Nashville and either Cincinnati or Indianapolis, to build capacity and work with them to build the power of the grassroots toward positive change. Preference given to people from and planning to stay in those areas. Candidates should send resumes and cover letters
by Monday, November 26.

Download this announcement as a PDF

Read more


October 12, 2012

Food Week of Action Kicked Off by Events in NYC and India!

Woman farmer with baby on back

WHY Hunger and the US Food Sovereignty Alliance kick off the Food Week of Action with a pre-event, a ceremony for the Food Sovereignty Prize winner and three honorees!

You can watch the event, which took place on October 10 in NYC, in its entirety on the Food Sovereignty Prize site.

As an alternative to the World Food Prize, the Food Sovereignty Prize champions solutions coming from those most impacted by the injustices of the global food system. Celebrate community-led efforts to win food sovereignty for all.

Highlights of the ceremony include presentations from:

Read about the amazing events happening in India in the following and see the new paper from Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance - "Nourishing the World: Scaling Up Agroecology," which takes on the myth that only industrial agriculture can feed the world by looking at the successes of smaller-scale sustainable farming approaches and their potential!


World Food Day 2012

ACTIVITIES & EVENTS
From Presbyterian Hunger Program’s Joining Hands Program, US Food Sovereignty Alliance,  and Other Events Related to World Food Day
Go to the US Food Sovereignty Alliance Food Week of Action page

or

Download a PDF of the Activities to read, print or share via email

Below are the actions we are asking people to do this fall, both during the Food Week of Action (oct. 14-21), on World Food Day (Oct. 16) or anytime throughout the fall.

ACT for JUSTICE in the FOOD CHAIN . . .

1. With Farmworkers!  Stand in solidarity with farm workers and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and send a supermarket postcard or manager’s letter

2. With Family Farmers!  Push for transparency in the Trans-Pacific Partnership to make sure family farmers and people who eat are not hurt by this secretly negotiated international trade agreement.

3. With Food Workers!  Become an ally of employees behind the kitchen door. Request a raise to the tipped minimum wage of $2.13 an hour for restaurant workers.

4. With Hungry People and God's Creation!  We're burning our crops as fuel rather than using land to grow food. Tell the Obama Administration to waive the mandate for corn ethanol.

* You can find a new World Food Day prayer from the Presbyterian Hunger Program used today during our closing devotions at our Advisory Committee meeting.


Food sovereignty, the real World Food prize

..."The Green Revolution fully ignored the role of democratic policy — which avoids ecological and social costs while ensuring that food production and food producers remain vital to their society and culture.

From the perspective of family farmers and peasants who revere “food sovereignty,” sustainable, democratic foods that respect ecology, culture and diversity of economic opportunity offer a lot more than just improving the “quality, quantity or availability of food” for current and future generations. ..."

READ the full article from press-citizen.com

 

EAA Food for Life banner
Press Release

Christian alliance calls for investment in agroecology to end hunger and build resilient communities

The Presbyterian Church USA partners with the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (EAA), which just released a paper calling for increased investment in sustainable agricultural practices that support small-scale farmers and local communities, and also benefit the environment.

“Nourishing the World: Scaling up Agroecology” presents numerous examples of the successful use of agroecological methods in increasing yields for farmers using locally-available natural resources while lowering or eliminating farmers’ reliance on costly and polluting chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Global figures on hunger released today by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Programme emphasize the urgency of investing in effective policies and practices to feed the world. Nearly 870 million people, or 1 in 8, were suffering chronic undernourishment in 2010-2012. According to the report, global progress in reducing hunger has levelled off since 2007-2008, with the number of hungry people rising in Africa and developed regions. More than 1 in 4 people in Africa are chronically hungry.

“Tackling hunger is not in the first instance about producing more food,” says Christine Campeau, EAA’s Food Campaign Coordinator. “It is about investing responsibly in sustainable agricultural practices and changing wasteful consumer habits that will benefit people, communities and the environment now and in the long-term.”

The paper sets out an alternative path to the one currently being promoted by some governmental and private sector initiatives, which is to expand the industrial “green revolution” style of agriculture. While this type of agriculture has certainly increased food production in recent decades, it has also “destabilized the natural resource base and drives much of the loss of biodiversity” as well as contributing - directly and indirectly - to the 30% of total global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) currently generated by the agricultural sector.

“In developed countries, where industrial-scale monocropping is the prevailing agricultural model, it is easy to forget that the majority of the world’s food is produced by smallholder farmers,” states Peter Prove, EAA Executive Director. “The answer to hunger and food insecurity is not turning more of these small farms into huge plantations, which damage both local communities and the environment, but investing in the knowledge-sharing, networking and sustainable practices that have proven to increase yields, protect the natural environment, empower communities, and enhance resilience in the face of a changing climate.”

“It’s all about Christian stewardship of God’s creation, and responding to the needs of people and communities rather than corporations”, stressed Nigussu Legesse, Programme Executive for Africa of World Council of Churches and member of the EAA’s Food Strategy Group.
The paper has been released in advanced of the meeting of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in Rome, 15-20 October. Civil society representatives who participate in the CFS as part of a Civil Society Mechanism are calling on CFS members to act immediately to help small-scale food producers to adapt to climate change and prevent further dangerous climate change-related impacts on food security. In this context, the EAA is calling for:

* Much greater investment in research on agroecological food production methods, building on traditional knowledge and existing best practice, for the purpose of enhancing smallholder-based, low-emission, high-productivity agriculture in the context of climate change.

* Increased support for the establishment and expansion of farmer-to-farmer networks at local levels throughout the developing world, for the sharing of information and best practices in agroecological food production.

* Enabling policy environments at national and international levels, recognizing the central role of smallholder farmers in global food security and supporting smallholder-based agroecological food production, and agroecological extension programs at national and local levels.

* Increased support for the establishment and expansion of smallholder farmers’ collectives, to improve market opportunities and the collective capacities of smallholder farmers and their communities.

* More effective regulation and management of the negative impacts of corporate influence of agricultural policy and practice.

* More focused and effective attention to reducing food waste throughout the food supply chain.

“Agroecology will be necessary, if we are to find a viable path through the intertwined challenges of future food security, and climate change mitigation and adaptation,” the paper states in its conclusion. “In the context of climate change, business as usual in the field of food production is not an option. Agroecology offers the prospect of sustainable food production to meet the needs of a still growing global population, while at the same time reducing the GHG emissions from the agricultural sector, building resilience to already unavoidable climate change, protecting biodiversity, and sustaining communities and rural livelihoods.”

Nourishing the World: Scaling Up Agorecology is available at: http://tinyurl.com/EAAagroecology2012

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September 11, 2012

Huerto-Garden de-of la-the Familia-Family

We have been honored to be able to support Huerto de la Familia through donations to the One Great Hour of Sharing. Huerto is a dynamic initiative which works in Oregon to expand opportunities and training in organic agriculture and business creation to families with the least access, but whom have great potential to benefit. Many of these families are Latino, thus the Spanish name. I learned a lot from these wonderful short videos Huerto created this year, and you may too.

The first film in a three-part series, Harvest of Pride: Cultivating Community features the stories of families, social workers and community practitioners. While news media continue to focus mostly on the “hunger problem”, the film points to the largely ignored epidemic of food insecurity among Latinos and immigrants.

Read more


July 27, 2012

Empowerment Huerto de la Familia-style

woman farming
Huerto de la Familia (The Family Garden) is a partner organization that PHP supports. They do wonderful work to expand opportunities and training in organic agriculture and business creation to families with the least access, but whom have great potential to benefit. Huerto de la Familia is bringing life-changing opportunities to families in their community. Learn more about their mission, their work and how to support Huerto’s programs.

And watch their fabulous film series, "Harvest of Pride," on their website!

 


A couple random items

1) Creative and waste-free ways to extend the life of your produce, in and out of the refrigerator

FRESH the Movie, in addition to being a great film (which you can borrow from PHP for showing) is a great resource for other things like extending the freshness of your produce!

Where you have strawberries, tomatoes or sweet corn, here are ways to store all those fruits and vegetables, especially if you’re trying to avoid using plastic bags, from the Berkeley Farmers Market. 

2) Hunger in Your County

And you can find out about hunger in your own county with this map from Feeding America which covers the entire country. I looked at the stats for the county where Louisville is located and was intrigued. The data is from 2010.

Read more


June 4, 2012

Small Grants Program for PCUSA Churches Doing Community Food Initiatives

The Presbyterian Hunger Program is encouraged by the emergence of the many faith-based initiatives sprouting up around the country to bring resilience to our food system, and health to people and God’s Creation. These efforts often engage youth and multiple generations, result in greater food security, give people decision-making power over their food, increase healthy eating, create jobs and local economic growth, support local family farmers, use land ecologically, raise awareness about local and global hunger and poverty, and encourage a view of food as sacred and as a right for all people. When done well, such initiatives are wonderful ways to build relationships, community and power. We are eager to support this work as one small way we can help build God’s vision of a New Heaven and New Earth.

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April 4, 2012

VISTAs Help Bring Justice to the Food System

 

laura-stricklen photoJonathan photo
                Laura Stricklen                                      Jonathan Krigger               

 

rachel photoAri photo

                    Rachel Brunner                                        Arianna King

National Anti-Hunger and Empowerment

Corps Year Two Takes Off


AmeriCorps VISTA Team to Work in around the U.S. including Louisville

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.

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February 27, 2012

Nathan aka 'Man in Overalls' featured in new interfaith documentary

Take a look at this clip featuring PHP's Food Justice Fellow, Nathan Ballentine (aka Man in Overalls), and his efforts to help folks grow food throughout Tallahassee.

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February 8, 2012

Taking the Time to Make Food Sacred

raisins in hand, ear, fingers, etc
TRY this: place a forkful of food in your mouth. It doesn’t matter what the food is, but make it something you love — let’s say it’s that first nibble from three hot, fragrant, perfectly cooked ravioli.

Now comes the hard part. Put the fork down. This could be a lot more challenging than you imagine, because that first bite was very good and another immediately beckons. You’re hungry.

So begins an article called "Mindful Eating as Food for Thought," which challenges us to not eat like the Cookie Monster.

And in case you haven't yet done the Just Eating? curriculum, one of the sessions is all about food as a sacred gift from God. You can download it for free here. Look for Unit 1 on Food Sharing as Sacramental...

And if you've never tried a food meditation, here are the simple instructions for a Raisin Meditation!

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January 13, 2012

Farm Bill Debate Renews!

Steph Larsen leading a workshop

Photo credit: Shawn Poynter

Steph Larsen is on staff at the Center for Rural Affairs. Here she is leading a workshop at the National Rural Assembly in St. Paul, MN

     "Under current law, if one big corporation farmed the entire country, the U.S. Department of Agriculture would pay 60 percent of its insurance premiums on every acre."

Sounds crazy, right? Yet this is reality and illustrates the way our food and farm policies give a hand up to the largest farms, while small-scale family farmers are largely neglected.  The article below (excerpted) from our partner, Center for Rural Affairs, points to the kinds of changes needed in the 2012 Farm Bill (yes, it should be called the Food and Farm Bill). Read what is important to our neighbors in rural areas of the country.

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December 27, 2011

Power on our Plates

When my daughter was in kindergarten, she would inspect her friends' strawberries at lunchtime. “No no, you don’t want to eat that,” she would solemnly inform them. “It’s not organic. It might have yucky chemicals on it.”

Yucky chemicals indeed. Studies continue to pile up showing how pesticides on food can be harmful, especially to children's health. As we head into the home stretch of the holiday feast season, I've been thinking hard about the powerful ripple effects of our food choices. Turns out, what we eat matters. A lot. (from Pesticides Action Network's "Power on our plates")

boy with kale in the snowIt does matter because "you are what you eat" is not an allegory; it is literally true. The substances that pass between your lips become your very own skin, muscle, cartilage, ligaments, nails, bones, blood, lymph and cerebral spinal fluid. Not to mention your organs, nerve cells and the two dozen digestive enzymes that break down food.

Take, for example, my daughter's now-favorite veggie, spinach: USDA found residues of 48 pesticides on their official samples. Of these, 25 are suspected to interfere with human hormones, eight are linked to cancer, eight are neurotoxins and 23 are toxic to honeybees. Yucky. Knowing all this makes the organic spinach from our local farm taste especially good.

Unlike pre-WWII food, today's food typically delivers one or more poisons to our cells because industrial farming, and its chemical dealers -- Monsanto, Bayer, Syngenta, BASF, Dow, Dupont and others -- are at war with weeds and pests. But many pests keep winning as they develop resistence. Ever more toxins are needed. Children are most effected because they eat more fruits and vegetables and are more sensitive. But it is often when we are adults that the long-term effects hit us.
What to do?
1) First, educate yourself by finding out what's on your food (you can search by food item or pesticide)
2) Second. Consider joining Pesticides Action Network; becoming a PCUSA Earth Care Congregation and joining Presbyterians for Earth Care.
3) Third. Thank the next farmer you meet who is engaging in sustainable and organic practices and buy their last bunch of kale!

 

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November 21, 2011

Addressing the root causes of hunger

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.


Alabama Arise

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 clipView news video hereRead 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!

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November 17, 2011

Summer Internship Opportunity!

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 anathothgarden@gmail.com or call Chas Edens at (336) 408-0968.

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June 29, 2011

Blurring the Line

"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"

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June 9, 2011

Kick those cans!

Bold statement of the day: storing up too much extra food can be theologically dangerous.

 

I’m talking about those cans and boxes in your pantry. Yes, you. Your little Annie’s Mac & Cheeses, lentil soups, refried beans, ricearonis, whatever it is you store up. Theologically dangerous. Yes, I said it. Watch out.

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May 13, 2011

God's Earth: Too Big to Fail?

Tevyn EastKeynote presenter

2011 National PEC Faith & Environment Conference "God's Earth: Too Big to Fail? An Eco-Justice Conversation Among Faith, Science and Culture" August 31 - September 3, 2011, at Highlands Presbyterian Camp and Retreat Center in the mountains of Colorado. Keynote speakers include Dr. William Brown, author of The Seven Pillars of Creation: The Bible, Science and the Ecology of Wonder; Dr. Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, senior scientist and director of sustainable foods at the Pesticide Action Network; Carol Raffenspurger, Executive Director of the Science and Environmental Health Network; Dr. Hayes, Professor with expertise in amphibian biology at the University of California Berkley; Dr. Holmes Rolston III, environmental ethics scholar; Dr. John E. Ikerd, professor emeritus of agricultural economics at the University of Missouri Columbia. Special thanks to our conference sponsors, including Environmental Ministries, the Presbytery of Olympia, the Presbytery of the Inland Northwest, Second Presbyterian of Little Rock, and Second Presbyterian Church Indianapolis. Registration is now open at $125.00 and can be completed online here. List of workshops here. Get all the latest info on the conference on the "Too Big to Fail" blog here

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April 29, 2011

Food Justice: Rooted in the Bible & Rocking Our World

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. 1. May 5th 2:00-3:00pm (EDT) - Food Justice for All Webinar: Growing community through local food 2. May 12th 2:00-3:00pm (EDT) - Food Justice for All Webinar: What congregations are doing to build just and sustainable food economies 3. May 19th 2:00-3:00pm (EDT) - Food Justice for All Webinar: SNAP outreach and Summer Feeding Programs 4. May 26th 2:00-3:00pm (EDT) - Food Justice for All Webinar: What congregations are doing to build just and sustainable food economies

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March 29, 2011

Food sovereignty for us dummies

If you have heard the term - FOOD SOVEREIGNTY - and not known what they heck it is, take heart because you are not alone. But our friends at Grassroots International and the National Family Farm Coalition have come to the rescue. Now you can hear U.S. and international family farmers talk about what food sovereignty is to them - simply! And you if you can read it in your mother tongue, if that happens to be English, Spanish or Portugese. (French is coming soon)

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February 2, 2011

We live in a beautiful world: let's CELEBRATE!

A colleague Roger Doiron and Kitchen Gardeners International produced this video about the beautiful food we can choose. Roger found it ironic that "one day after the government issues its strongest recommendation to date to eat less and better foods, the snack food industry lobby launches "National Snack Food Month" to get Americans to eat more and worse." So they launched 28ate.org . . . for fun, and to bring attention to the billions of dollars spent on advertising unhealthy, processed foods.

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February 1, 2011

Food and sustainability: finding solutions!

A whole issue devoted to FOOD and SUSTAINABILITY! Introducing you to Kids Can Make a Difference and their Finding Solutions Newsletter. You can sign up for the newsletter on their home page. 1) About this issue...by Jane and Larry Levine and Christina Schiavoni 2) WhyHunger at 35: making connections, building the movement, sticking to its roots...by Alison Cohen 3) Bringing lasting change to school food: how we do it, and how you can, too...by Meredith Modzelewski 4) Just eat food ...by Joan Dye Gussow 5) Eat the sky: the food and climate connection...by Anna Lappé 6) Camel farming in Tanzania...by Donna Stokes

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January 21, 2011

Food Justice Fellows ~ Applications now due (final cut-off is March 11)

Food Justice Fellows Do you get angry that we grow more than enough food for everyone but so many go to bed hungry? 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! 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.

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January 13, 2011

Grounded Scriptures: Humus humans

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?

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January 8, 2011

We are all children of the bayou

The video gives a glimpse into the lives of shrimp fishers post-BP disaster. The fisherfolk of the bayou provide shrimp, oysters and crabs for the entire country. We are what we eat, and so to some extent we are all offspring of the bayou. The chart below gives a picture of the troubled industry. The Son of the Bayou, Torn over the shrimping life is the story of Aaron Greco and the shaky existence of wild shrimp "farmers" in southern Louisiana. The photo is of Aaron with his girlfriend, Melanie Fink, 17, after a long day of shrimping. They lean against his prized yellow Mustang last fall outside their favorite ice cream shop in Chalmette, La. ---------- Unfortunately, like almost every resource-rich place and country in the world from Cameroon to Guatemala, systematic extraction of resources has been Louisiana’s sorry history. The riches are exploited using local labor and profits depart for distant corporate headquarters. When people and resources are exhausted, impoverished communities and destroyed ecosystems are what remain. Capital says sayonara to search out new resources and new profits.

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December 6, 2010

Happy birthday to EAA!

How can an acronym be born and have a birthday?! When it was born 10 years ago and stands for Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance! Okay, that was dumb. But we do celebrate these 10 years of collaborative action and the Presbyterian Church USA's past seven years of involvement! The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (EAA), one of the most diverse international Christian organizations existing today, celebrates its tenth anniversary on 9 December. Over 70 churches and Christian organizations are currently members of the Alliance, from Catholic, Evangelical, Orthodox and Protestant traditions. These members, representing a combined constituency of tens of millions of people around the world, are committed to working together in public witness and action for justice on defined issues of common concern. The need for an alliance to strengthen campaigning efforts for peace, justice and human dignity was identified in meetings between the World Council of Churches and heads of Christian development agencies in the late 1990s. The EAA was created to focus advocacy by churches and related organizations on a few selected topics, and provide a space where diverse churches, organizations and Christian groups could collaborate. The founding assembly of the EAA was held in Geneva, 7-9 December 2000. Trade and HIV and AIDS were the first two issues selected for joint action. Members of the EAA currently collaborate in ongoing campaigns on Food ('Food for Life') and HIV and AIDS ('Live the Promise'). "I have seen the EAA grow from an idea to a solid and effective, internationally recognized agent for change," stated Rev. Dr Richard Fee, General Secretary of the Presbyterian Church in Canada and Chairperson of the EAA's Board of Directors. "We've marked many successes over these past ten years but there is no doubt that the need for churches and Christians to continue to speak and act together is as urgent as ever." "The Global Week of Action has become a dynamic way for congregations in the United States to educate and act around critical trade and food justice issues that affect our partners overseas as well as people in our own communities," says Andrew Kang Bartlett of the Presbyterian Hunger Program, who serves on EAA's Food for Life Campaign strategy group. While you may not make the anniversary celebration at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva on 9 December (you knew that was coming with the 'Centre' spelling, right?), but you can get engaged by downloading the Week of Action on Food Guide to use as an educational tool with your congregation! Download the beautiful PDF Food Week guide right here The list of current EAA members is available here And you can view a timeline of highlights over the past ten years here (PDF)

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November 29, 2010

The Earth is coming alive

"The Earth is coming alive," or as Dr. Ellen Davis phrases it: The earth is a living creature, with its own integrity in the sight of its Creator. Dr. Davis has been providing the Hunger Program, the Agrarian Road Trippers, and many in the United States who have read her work (such as The Manna Economy), a biblical basis for understanding the power dynamics and theological interpretation of the industrial food and farming system. This highly technified, energy-intensive system has all but replaced family-scale and organic farming, which of course had been the dominant food system not a century ago. In this new essay called, A Living Creature: A Biblical Perspective on Land Care and Use*, Dr. Davis says that when it comes to food, ...I have been surprised to find that even those who do not habitually read the Bible care what it says. Perhaps there is a kind of practical theism that informs the thinking of those who deal daily with the essential means of life. Especially they care when they realize (often with surprise) how much the Bible has to say about maintaining adequate food and water supplies, about protecting the fertile soil and at the same time the economic viability of farming communities – all matters of vulnerability, urgency and indeed danger in our current era of industrialized agriculture. In A Living Creature, which you should download right now and savor, Davis reflects on the relationship between how we eat and the horrific oil disaster the planet just experienced. The modern food system, which hungers for and consumes 10% of our petroleum, is practically connected to this tragedy, but also theologically -- The wound in the ocean floor and our dominant food production practices are also connected ideologically, in that both reflect a profound misunderstanding of the created order and the human place in it. That misunderstanding is in the first instance not scientific but theological. Without setting off the spoiler alert, here is one more image from the essay that sets the context for her insightful perspective: Having watched it bleed for months, we are better able to see that the earth is not a machine, nor is it a convenient repository of useful goods. Journalist Naomi Klein comments: 'After 400 years of being declared dead, and in the middle of so much death, the Earth is coming alive.' The wound in the ocean floor and our dominant food production practices are also connected ideologically, in that both reflect a profound misunderstanding of the created order and the human place in it. That misunderstanding is in the first instance not scientific but theological. "The Earth is coming alive," or as Dr. Ellen Davis phrases it: The earth is a living creature, with its own integrity in the sight of its Creator. Dr. Davis has been providing the Hunger Program, the Agrarian Road Trippers, and many in the United States who have read her work (such as The Manna Economy), a biblical basis for understanding the power dynamics and theological interpretation of the industrial food and farming system. This highly technified, energy-intensive system has all but replaced family-scale and organic farming, which of course had been the dominant food system not a century ago. In this new essay called, A Living Creature: A Biblical Perspective on Land Care and Use*, Dr. Davis says that when it comes to food, ...I have been surprised to find that even those who do not habitually read the Bible care what it says. Perhaps there is a kind of practical theism that informs the thinking of those who deal daily with the essential means of life. Especially they care when they realize (often with surprise) how much the Bible has to say about maintaining adequate food and water supplies, about protecting the fertile soil and at the same time the economic viability of farming communities – all matters of vulnerability, urgency and indeed danger in our current era of industrialized agriculture.

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November 19, 2010

Seeds – How to criminalize them

UPDATE: BREAKING: Senate votes cloture on S 510 – must now be voted on in 60 days. Linn Cohen-Cole, in her post Seeds - How to criminalize them, asks us to wake up to the implications of this bill. Lots of email has been flying around the cyber heavens about this Food Safety Bill. The Bill language starts below and the rest can be linked to in Linn's article. Read with your critical mind engaged and give your thoughts in the comments section below. Wisdom says stop a bill that is broad as everything yet more vague even than it is broad. Wisdom says stop a bill that comes with massive penalties but allows no judicial review. Wisdom says stop a bill with everything unspecified and actually waits til next year for an unspecified “Administrator” to decide what’s what. Where we come from, that’s called a blank check. Who writes laws like that? ”Here, do what you want about whatever you want and here’s some deadly punishments to make it stick.” Wisdom says know who wrote that bill and be forewarned. Wisdom says wake up. Here’s the bill. Let’s use our imaginations and extrapolate from the little bit it reveals and from the reality we know. SEC. 206. FOOD PRODUCTION FACILITIES. (a) Authorities- In carrying out the duties of the Administrator and the purposes of this Act, the Administrator shall have the authority, with respectto food production facilities

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October 25, 2010

Food Sovereignty movement brings call for solidarity and systemic change to Community Food Security Coalition Conference

The Food Sovereignty track of activities during the 3-day Community Food Security Coalition gathering in New Orleans looked like the program of a gathering of Via Campesina, the worldwide peasant and family farm movement that first popularized this comprehensive and transformative concept decades ago. Here is a listing of workshops led by or featuring US Food Sovereignty Alliance participants: Credit and Capital for a Just and Sustainable Food System, featuring Ben Burkett, Bob St. Peter and Lisa Griffith of the National Family Farm Coalition and Niaz Dorry of the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance. Food Movements Unite! Led by Eric Holt-Gimenez of Food First and featuring Joann Lo of the Food Chain Workers Alliance, Rosalinda Guillen of Community to Community Development.

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October 20, 2010

US Food Sovereignty Alliance launched with solidarity action in New Orleans

On Saturday, October 16th the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New Orleans was joined by dozens of grassroots activists from the US Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA) in a street protest in front of the well-known Tony Moran’s Restaurant located at 240 Bourbon St. in the French Quarter. Farmers, fisherfolk, farm workers, urban agriculturalists, restaurant workers, indigenous people, and food justice advocates gathered in New Orleans to launch the US Food Sovereignty Alliance on October 16, World Food Day, in solidarity with restaurant workers at Tony Moran’s. The Alliance seeks to “turn the tables” on the broken food system by restoring power to communities to govern their own food systems, limit and regulate corporate control, and stop damaging US foreign policy that undermines the ability of other countries to provide for themselves. The restaurant industry is one of the largest and fastest-growing sectors of the New Orleans economy, growing even during the current economic crisis. However, the vast majority of workers in this industry suffer sub-poverty wages and poor working conditions. The USFSA-ROC-NOLA action is intended to highlight the current struggle of fifteen former Tony Moran’s and Jean Lafitte’s servers, food runners, bussers and managers who started a workplace justice campaign and filed a lawsuit in Federal Court in 2009, for wage theft, misappropriation of tips, racial discrimination, being forced to work off the clock and many other egregious acts. The affected group has tried to resolve the matter amicably, but the company has refused to respond to their request. This action is part of a year-long series of weekly actions held by the workers in hopes that the owner would rectify the wrong-doing. The US Food Sovereignty Alliance is committed to supporting food system worker rights and supports ROC-NOLA’s efforts. When the dignity of one food worker is harmed, much less fifteen, we stand in solidarity!

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September 23, 2010

Would you believe it? Corporate lobbying is blocking food reforms

"...powerful lobby groups were able to delay decisions, sometimes for many years, and "water down" proposed improvements. Their job was made easier because the FAO works by consensus, so persuading as few as two or three national governments to oppose an idea was enough to block it. Then this direct quote -- "I have now been 20 years in a multilateral organisation which tries to develop guidance and codes for good agricultural practice, but the real, true issues are not being addressed by the political process because of the influence of lobbyists, of the true powerful entities." Joyce d'Silva, a director with Compassion in World Farming, confirmed this position adding that it was "horrifying" that -- "the narrow interests of certain commercial sectors can have more influence than organisations which represent the values and aspirations of millions of citizens."

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September 9, 2010

Celebrate the launch of the US Food Sovereignty Alliance!

Celebrate the Launch of the US Food Sovereignty Alliance! Emerging out of the US Working Group on the Food Crisis, the US Food Sovereignty Alliance will be the first of its kind in the United States. To celebrate its launch, we encourage people fighting for food justice and sovereignty to take actions during the week of October 10-17. In solidarity with people all over the world, we call on food justice groups to hold community events that educate, celebrate, and create affordable access to safe, healthy, culturally appropriate food while turning our food systems into engines for local economic development. We call for actions to build food sovereignty in the US. October 10: Global Work Party to Tackle Climate Change October 12: Day of Indigenous Resistance to Conquest October 15: World Rural Women's Day October 16: World Food Day October 17: International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

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September 2, 2010

Gearing up for the next Farm Bill

Here are some great ways to stay abreast of this critical legislative work -- Farm Policy, a daily newsletter about food and farm policy. Sign up for the email service and you’ll receive everything you need to know about what’s going on in D.C. It’s a ton of information, but worth skimming each morning. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s blog. The Presbyterian Hunger Program has been supporting this excellent coalition for over a decade. The Farm Bill and Beyond, an outstanding and very comprehensive report about how the 2008 Farm Bill came to be. It’s a little long, but definitely worth reading if you want some insight on how the next fight will play out. The blogs and twitter feeds of healthy farm advocates like @FoodDeclaration, Environmental Working Group, Food Democracy Now and Grist. And the soon-to-be launched US Food Sovereignty Alliance will have great analysis and ways to engage. Contact Andrew to learn how you can get involved in the Alliance. Thanks to Slow Food USA +++++++++++++ So, what are everyday people and farmers saying what they want from our food and farm policy?

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September 2, 2010

Just when is World Fair Trade Day?

In spite of overcast skies blowing wind, rain and chill on May 8, hundreds of Bostonians came out in support of the wide array of Fair Trade education, engagement and products that Boston has to offer. Thousands more were exposed to the day's events through our media efforts (television and newspaper), press releases, online calendars and social networking and simply encountering one of our sixteen participating World Fair Trade Day business and/or event locations. "Our work is hitched to a passionate recognition that injustices exist that threaten our world's people, their labor and resources. Moreover, we can do something about it, and our efforts thus far have shown we are tapped into a very vital and special movement of people working towards a fairer future." Participating locations were Ten Thousand Villages (Brookline and Cambridge), Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream (Newbury St), Crossroads Trade, Equal Exchange Café, Flat Black Coffee Company (Dorchester), JP Licks Ice Cream (Cambridge, Brookline and Jamaica Plain), Haley House Bakery Café (Roxbury), Harvest Co-op Markets (Jamaica Plain and Cambridge), Hope Central Church (also hosted SERRV), Mariposa Bakery, City Feed and Supply (Centre St) and Autonomie Project. These businesses and institutions offered Fair Trade-related promotions and discounts, music and educational presentations, Fair Trade food and drink samplings, scavenger hunts, in-store raffles and more. "Through our relationships at City Hall and our advocacy efforts, Boston's City Council passed a resolution on May 5 affirming their commitment and support of Fair Trade. This was one of the final goals necessary to achieve "Fair Trade Town" status, a designation we should reach in the next few weeks, which would make Boston the largest city with that designation."

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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!

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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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August 13, 2010

Your guide to the Week of Action on Food

start preparing for activities for the Churches Week of Action on Food from 10-17 October. During the Week you will be connected to thousands of people, churches and communities around the world in a movement calling for change in the way food is grown, sold, distributed and shared. It is a time to lift up the voices of small-scale food producers, particularly women, to have choices on what crops to grow and how they can grow these crops.

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April 28, 2010

I'm an idiot

Each year! This would translate into 100s of new jobs. Based on other cities, Dan estimates about a 1,000 jobs would be created. If your town or city is anything like Louisville, you could use more good jobs, right? Deep thinkers might wonder if new jobs in your town would cause the loss of jobs somewhere else. Fortunately it doesn’t work like that. While a few jobs might be lost in various locations in the US or overseas, the reason why a small shift to local purchasing -10 cents on the dollar – creates so much new wealth and jobs is the power of local money circulation.

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April 16, 2010

An Agrarian Vision: When Work and Place Jive

From an agrarian point of view, the Exodus was a movement from the flat, easily tillable land of Egypt to "the narrow and precariously balanced ecological niche that is the hill country of ancient Judah and Samaria." The people of Israel had to re-make their economic life to conform to a landscape that allowed "only the slightest margin for negligence, ignorance, or error."

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April 15, 2010

Who started the local food revolution? Cuba or Jamie Oliver?

"The organic and urgan agriculture revolution that is under way there is nothing short of amazing, but what a lot of people don't know is the amount of hardship Cubans have been through to get to where they are. Unlike with most people in the US and other wealthy countries, growing their own and doing it organically were not really choices for Cubans: they did it to survive. Or to put it more flippantly, when life gave the Cubans limes (mint and rum), they decided to make mojitos."

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April 6, 2010

ecotone

Carol Howard Merritt, who recently wrote about Michelle Obama's healthy food initiatives and her visit to Western Presbyterian Church's Miriam Kitchen, just turned me on to this ECOTONE blog - subtitle, "Experiments in Agriculture and Industry" by C.J. from Joelton, Tenn.

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March 17, 2010

Planet says, "This food gives me gas."

The Swedes are labeling some food items with the amount (estimated) of greenhouse-gas emissions the production of the food puts into the atmosphere!If this experiment is effective, they estimate the country's emissions could be reduced by 20-50 percent. One Swedish burger chain, Max, offers beef alternatives and signed on enthusiastically to the new recommendations. It became the first restaurant chain to publish carbon footprints of menu items to encourage people to eat less beef.

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March 4, 2010

A Better Way to Feed the Hungry?

Bill Gates thinks he's got a brilliant idea: fighting malnutrition abroad by fortifying food. The scheme, backed with $50 million from the Gates Foundation, in part encourages Proctor & Gamble, Philip Morris' Kraft, and other companies to develop vitamin and iron-fortified processed foods. It then facilitates their entry into Third World markets. Gates seems to believe we don't have time to address the complex social and political roots of malnutrition. But in opting for this single-focus, top-down, technical intervention, Gates can end up hurting the very people he wants to help.

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January 15, 2010

Haiti and your favorite comfort foods

This was to go up yesterday, until Tuesday's earthquake devastated Haiti. Rather than cancel the post, I'm posting it with this suggestion... Think about the comfort food you love, the things you love to do, the people in your life whom you love - really generate in your heart an intense feeling of love - and send that to the people of Haiti and to the souls who have so suddenly been separated from their bodies. Favorite comfort foods for North American Presbyterian Hunger Program facebook fans. List! Cheese grits win. Pot roast, mac'n cheese and chicken with dumplings close runner ups.

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February 28, 2008

Talking 'Bout Serious Change

I want Upton Sinclair’s change. I want God’s change. I want the change that gets us out of thinking and living “better grab all that I can get ‘cuz there won’t be enough” and into trusting the life-giving Commandments to love God and to love our neighbor.

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