Food and Faith is a blog of the Presbyterian Hunger Program.
What it is: Food Justice Fellows are a cohort of spirit-based organizers connected to the Presbyterian Hunger Program (PHP). They are young or young-at-heart folks working to build local food economies that are sustainable and just, and people who make connections (and help others do so) between local food and hunger issues and related global concerns.
PHP will arrange for at least one training/networking opportunity for the Fellows. Small support grants from PHP (given through the presbytery, a congregation or local organization) may also be available to help the Fellows with food justice/local food economy events they may organize in their region. PHP will correspond with and do conference calls with the Fellows regularly (currently 2nd and 4th Mondays at 4:00 pm (eastern time)) to exchange ideas, share best practices, discuss readings and provide updates on the U.S. and global food sovereignty movement and related work inside and outside the church. The Presbyterian Hunger Program staff and Food Justice Fellows will provide each other with mutual support, accountability and camaraderie. Hunger Action Enablers, Mission Advocates and other leaders throughout the PCUSA are potential resources and connectors.
Why it is: The purpose is to connect Presbyterians to the agrarian roots and lessons of the Bible to inspire and equip them – together with their congregations and communities – to fight hunger and poverty by rebuilding local food economies here in the U.S. and to support the same overseas through advocacy and campaigns.
If you are selected, work plans will then be developed for the year in consultation with PHP. Call Andrew at 502.569.5388 for additional information.
Frequently Asked Questions
Actual questions asked by real people...
1) Is this only for Presbyterians?
* Presbyterians and persons of other faiths are invited to apply. The majority are Presbyterians (so you must be able to tolerate them), but we have other faiths represented as well. That said, Fellows must be currently doing or be willing/planning to collaborate with Presbyterians and Presbyterian congregations in their food justice/local food economy building work.
2) I am wondering about the work/job component. Can the applicants have any job in the food industry?
* If the Fellow is employed, the job doesn't have to be food-related, but they would need to also be doing food justice/sustainable ag-related work (either paid or unpaid) as part of their life.
3) Does the fellowship come with a stipend so I can look for internships?
* There is no stipend. There is some funding available for events or activities that the FJF coordinates or is active leading around food justice, i.e. a program with community, churches, presbytery, government, etc. (for example, the Fellow organzes a county-wide Food Justice Teach-In with a tour of local farms, 'food deserts', a processing plant and city hall to talk with government officials about starting a Food Policy Council. PHP could provide a matching grant of $1000 or so to help make that possible.)
4) Can I be located anywhere in the U.S.?
5) Where and when would the face-to-face gathering be for the Fellows?
* We will meet face-to-face at least once a year as part of the Food Justice Fellows Program. The 2013 gathering was in DC at the Ecumenical Advocacy Days Conference on Food Justice in April. The 2014 gathering has not been determined yet. Participation in this gathering is very important for the Fellowship.
6) Would you provide funding for transportation to this gathering?
* There are scholarships available based on need, but we will expect the Fellow to raise some funds. The lack of personal funds will not limit participation.
7) Is the fellowship a year long program?
* We will do annual work plans, but those that wish to and who are in good standing would continue on year after year if so desired.
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 ...
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
From 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!
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.
Land Grabbing is turning World Food Day into World Hunger Day for millions. See the Press Release below from the Asian Peasants Coalition. And speaking of peasants - which in most places around the world doesn't have a negative connotation as it does with some in the U.S. - the Korean Women's Peasant Association has won the 2012 World Sovereignty Prize and will be celebrated in New York City, along with other honorees including the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, who just won an agreement with Chipotle as part of their Campaign for Fair Food!
October 10 at 7:00 pm. You can attend in person or watch the live stream. Details here...
October 5, 2012
Asian Peasants to Declare “World Hunger Day”
On the Occasion of the World Food Day on October 16
The Asian Peasant Coalition (APC) and its members will organize simultaneous actions on the occasion of the UN FAOs World Food Day on October 16, to highlight landlessness and chronic hunger.
The FAO said their official theme on October 16 is “Agricultural cooperatives – key to feeding the world. It says, it has been chosen to highlight the role of cooperatives in improving food security and contributing to the eradication of hunger. In addition, FAO and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) calls on agribusiness to step up investment from Central Asia to North Africa. Furthermore, the two organizations called on governments to create an enabling policy environment that fosters private-sector investment.
“We condemn FAO and ERBDs statement. This is a continuation of what was engineered during the Rio+20 Summit last June 2012 in Brazil. Under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) scheme, both domestic and foreign investors, will be given legal authority to make it easy for them to further intensify land grabbing, to multiply plunder of available resources and step-up corporate takeovers of other vital sections of the economy,” stated Rahmat Ajiguna, APC deputy secretary general and concurrent secretary general of the Aliansi Gerakan Reforma Agraria (AGRA) based in Indonesia.
Ajiguna said that, “This will further expand agribusiness that will only exacerbated landlessness, hunger, poverty, and increased environmental destruction. This will further undermine the people’s right to food, agricultural progress and rural development as domestic agricultural production program is locked up of neo-liberal globalization.”
Land grabbing aggravates landlessness
“Meanwhile, international NGO GRAIN has recorded 400 cases of large-scale agricultural investments all over the world while 38 cases is in Asia (excluding Philippines-China deals which was suspended) . Nearly 2 million hectares of land in Asia (particularly in Burma, Cambodia, Laos, China, Timor Leste, Indonesia and the Philippines) have been subjected to these investments since 2006. It has resulted in increased landlessness, displacement of people, violations of human rights and degradation of natural resources, thereby further worsening poverty and hunger among small food producers<” remarked Zenaida Soriano, APC Southeast Asia Coordinator and also the President of the National Federation of Peasant Women (AMIHAN) in the Philippines.
Ajiguna added that, “In Indonesia, there is unceasing expansion of palm oil plantations in Jambi province. It invaded our forest and rice producing areas. There were around 259 permits palm oil plantations covering more than 1.3 million hectares and about 980, 000 hectares have been planted (Provincial Disbun 2010). In 9 villages in Mersam District in Batang Hari, 7,800 hectares of rice lands will be converted into palm oil. Palm oil plantation threatens rice self-sufficiency program of the government and Indonesian people would end up seriously hungry.
Soriano mentioned that, “ In South Asia, six out of 10 people are hungry and eight out of 10 underweight children live. Nearly 42 percent of Nepal’s children under five years are chronically undernourished. In India, 410 million people were living in poverty and eight Indian states are food insecure. In Sri Lanka, about 4 million people are undernourished. Children and pregnant women are most affected. In Pakistan, 83 million people were food insecure. In Bangladesh, 70 million people are living in poverty and experiencing chronic hunger and malnutrition.”
Soriano revealed that, “In Southeast Asia, 87 million people in Indonesia are food-insecure, of which 25 million are severely hungry. In the Philippines, one out every four Filipinos suffers from hunger. Of the 103.7 million Filipinos, 25 million are hungry. Worst, the floods, droughts, earthquakes and other natural disasters as well as state repression cause widespread destruction and force them to abandon their homes and farms.”
World Hunger Day
Ajiguna and Soriano announced that, “On October 16, the APC will declare ‘World Hunger Day’ on the occasion of the World Food Day 2012. We will do this to emphasize the real situation that the rural people are landless. That landlessness is worsening by large-scale land grabbing of local and foreign investors in agriculture which aggravates chronic hunger experience by the rural poor. Unfortunately, the world’s food producers are the most food-insecure and hungry people..Having no land to till makes them more vulnerable of hunger. Many of them, are seasonal farm workers.
On October 16, the APC will simultaneously organize different activities across Asia. In the Philippines, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) will lead a protest in front of the Department of Agriculture. A peasant caravan against land grabbing in the City of San Jose del Monte in Bulacan will follow on October 17-18 and will culminate on October 19. In Sri Lanka, the Movement for National Land and Agricultural Reform (MONLAR) will organize week of action in many parts of the country. In Nepal, different events in 45 districts will be organized by All Nepal Peasants Federation ( ANPFa). The Andhra Pradesh Vyavasaya Vruthidarula Union (APVVU) in India will organize simultaneous demonstration opposing land grabbing in 10 districts of Andhra Pradesh while a People's Biodiversity Camp will be held in Hyderabad. Similar actions will be held in Indonesia, and Pakistan.”
“We demand for a genuine agrarian reform and food sovereignty to resolve chronic hunger. The victory of the Isabela farmers and its people against Itochu (Japan)s bioethanol plant is a concrete example. They were able to shut down the bioethanol plant. And they are now planting rice and corn in more than 1,000 hectares of land they reclaimed from EcoFuel. Meanwhile, the AGRA, together with other farmers groups in Indonesia, led thousands of peasants on January 2012, and mobilized in front of the Presidential Palace and Parliament, resulting to a special legislative committee to address agrarian conflict…. These actions are peasant-led and directly benefitted the local peasant communities. Let us continuously reclaim lands that have been grabbed and plant it with food crops," Ajiguna and Soriano ended.
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.
Whenever Presbyterians approach our food and farm policies, we can hang our hats on our faith conviction “that God our Creator has made the world for everyone, and desires that all shall have daily bread” (UPCUSA, Minutes, 1979, p. 189). This underlying conviction of a right to food shapes our advocacy about agriculture and the food system.
With this value in mind, you can weigh in on the Farm Bill debates that are heating up in our nation’s capital ~ Write to your Senators about the Farm Bill today! This link takes you straight to the PCUSA which allows you to reach your Senators in less than a minute. Seriously. Time yourself.
"Why would I do that? you ask . . .
Well, our nation’s food and farm policies, as embodied in the U.S. Farm Bill, impact people and communities from rural America, to urban centers, to developing countries - hundreds of millions of people! In the current budget climate, the Farm Bill’s limited resources must be targeted effectively where the need is greatest. We must prioritize programs and policies that curb hunger and malnutrition, support vibrant agricultural economies in rural communities, and promote the sustainable use of natural resources.
The PC(USA) Office of Public Witness has joined with the interfaith community to call for a Farm Bill that promotes local food security in the U.S. and around the world, strengthen rural communities, and care for the land as God’s creation.
The Senate is currently debating the reauthorization of the Farm Bill – the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 – and consideration promises to drag out for over a week, as hundreds of amendments will be offered. Your Senators need to hear from you about a just and healthy Farm Bill.
The letter will do this automatically, but let's lay out the important issues. What we want is a Farm Bill that:
U.S. food and agricultural policy must focus on adopting best agricultural practices that put the health of its citizens, the land and the livelihood of farmers and farm workers over the interests of a small number of large, industrial agriculture operations. Stand up to protect not only farmers, without whom we would all go hungry, but to enact a food and farm bill that fairly and judiciously serves the interests of all Americans.
In a 1985 statement, the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly wrote “we believe it is the responsibility and duty of the Federal government to enact a comprehensive, long-term food and fiber policy, with specific price, production and conservation goals designed to protect and enhance family-farm agriculture in the United States … We believe further that this nation must establish a strong system of sustainable agriculture and prevent the continuing concentration of land in the hands of a smaller and smaller number of owners” (Minutes, 1985, p. 399).
You're still reading? Click here and register your beliefs with your civil servants sitting in Congress.
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.
More than 560 people attended (100 more than last year!) the Workers Interfaith Network (WIN) 9th Annual Labor Day Picnic. The day was a great success with fun for the whole family. Face painting and MoonBounce for the kids, and music and entertainment for all.
WIN’s Memphis Workers’ Center is celebrating four years of seeking justice! The Workers’ Center educates and organizes low-wage workers, many whose rights have been violated. They help workers learn their rights; help them recover stolen wages and help injured workers get workers compensation.
The Workers’ Center helped Fernando Santiago, former waiter, recover $13,000 from stolen wages – the largest amount ever recovered. In his gratitude, Fernando gived $2,000 back to the Center.
The Presbyterian Hunger Program just approved a grant of $4,000 to support WIN’s ministry. You too can support WIN by sending a gift online to www.workersinterfaithnetwork.org or by mail to:
WIN, 3035 Directors Row, Bldg. B-1207, Memphis, TN. 38131
WIN is encouraging congregations everywhere to take part in “Wage Theft Sabbath” during November 19-20 to draw attention to the growing crisis. You can get your congregation involved by requesting the Wage Theft Sabbath package at (901)332-3570 or email email@example.com. And you can provide ongoing support and engagement by becoming a Partnering Congregation!
World Food Day happens on October 16. The US Food Sovereignty Alliance, of which the FCWA is a member, is joining with La Via Campesina and food sovereignty movements to call on people and organizations to fashion the food and farming future we need—a future of communities, regions and nations revitalized with local food, democracy, sustainability and justice.
Ashley Goff, the associate pastor at the PCUSA Church of the Pilgrims in Washington, D.C. sent us their plans for World Food Day (October 16) and the Food Week of Action.
Here is how she explained it ~~
"We are honoring the Food Week of Action starting October 9th and wanted to share our current plan. At Church of the Pilgrims, we are honoring Food Week in this way:
During our education hour prior to worship, we are having one of our members, Erin LittleStar who is active in sustainable food practices and local food/faith advocacy lead us in an hour of learning more about the food cycle and systems. This is an intergenerational event.
At the end of the hour, we are going to invite people to make 4 choices to honor the week in a practical way:
Compost for a week: We have two standing composts at Pilgrims along with worm composting. People will be invited to compost for a week and bring the compost to church the following Sunday.
SNAP Challenge: One of our members works for the Dept of Agriculture, specifically around SNAP, and recently did a SNAP Challenge with her colleagues. The challenge is to eat for a week on your amount you would receive for food stamps. (See how it works below)
Local Food: Eat one meal a day with locally grown food.
Intentional Prayer: Set an intention before each meal, snack, drink for the week. Setting an intention and honoring where the food has come from and naming if the food with be healthy or destructive to your body (and in turn to the planet).
Each session will be led by a church member who has been doing this practice and can explain the nitty-gritty.
After church, we are having a beekeeping 101 session and a farmer's market group shopping experience. We have 5 beehives at Pilgrims which pollinate our urban garden (plus areas around us) and our beekeeper is coming to give us more information on our hives, feed the bees, etc.
Erin will be taking another group to our local farmers market to meet some farmer's, shop for the SNAP challenge and have hands on learning around local food, seeing food as more than fuel but a faith experience.
Worship will be part of Food Week in some way. Yet to be determined!"
You can find all the resources you need for World Food Day and the Food Week of Action on the PCUSA's Food and Faith website.
STEP 1 - Eat on $4/day for a week, a month or longer if you so choose.
STEP 2 - Experience hunger for yourself and the difficulties faced by hungry people everywhere.
STEP 3 - Engage others by sharing your experience. We encourage you to keep a journal, post to our Facebook page, email us your story or simply share your feelings with with friends, family and coworkers.
And you? Consider getting your congregation to do something for Sunday, World Food Day ~ October 16. How about organizing a group meal? Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you free placemats. No cost. Table discussion questions and other downloadable resources can be found here.
The updated Food Sovereignty for All Handbook: Overhauling the Food System with Faith-Based Initiatives is available free of charge! Cover-small Download PDF of Food Sovereignty for All Handbook Thanks to the Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon for their work writing and publishing this valuable guide. This is a slightly updated version. The first Food Justice for All Webinar was recorded and can be found here. It is 67MB and can be viewed with Windows Media Player (WMP can also be downloaded onto a Mac). Join or invite others to one of remaining "Food Justice for All" webinars These webinars explore ways that congregations around the country are growing community by alleviating hunger and connecting healthy local food to people and communities with little access. The webinars will detail proven faith-based initiatives like summer-feeding programs, community gardens, farmers markets, tactics for getting local produce in food pantries and kitchens, and other models for linking people with healthy and local food. Sign up by clicking on the registration link below: 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 See also the US Dept. of Agriculture's Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships website for various resources.
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
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
On Thursday, a special group of folks from around the world joined in a spirited protest with farm workers from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), students and people of faith from various churches in the area. The protest took place in front of a Publix supermarket in Naples, Florida. The CIW has been asking Publix to work with them to end poverty wages and abuses in the fields. Pictured is Dr. Aruna Gnanadason from India, who is one of 30 people gathered for a Justice Reading consultation with the World Council of Reformed Churches here in Fort Myers. We spent the first day together with the farm workers in Immokalee to ground our consultation in current justice issues of worker exploitation, mistreatment of immigrants and modern-day slavery. (See the press release from the WCRC on the protest) * Here are photos and story from Naples Daily News - "Farmworkers target Publix in protest over wages and working conditions" * Here are photos and videos from the Coalition's recent "Do the right thing tour!" * Find out how to act in support in the farm workers' Campaign for Fair Food During our "immersion" day with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, we heard the history of the CIW and the farm workers' struggle and amazing organizing to claim their rights and dignity. We walked through the town seeing the ridiculously-expensive RVs that many of the farm workers rent on a weekly basis. And we saw the solidarity and service center Mision Peniel.
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)
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.
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)
Recently I have been hearing a lot about an opportunity for people of faith to think about eco-justice issues through art. Leaps and Bounds is a one-woman theatrical performance that explores how faith speaks to economic and environmental issues. Through multiple tools including song, prayer, storytelling, and movement, performer and developer Tevyn East helps communities of faith explore the intersections of “faith, ecology, and the global economy.” Watch a promotional video for the performance. From Eco-Journey!
Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems. It puts those who produce, distribute and consume food at the heart of food systems and policies rather than the demands of markets and corporations. It defends the interests and inclusion of the next generation. It offers a strategy to resist and dismantle the current corporate trade and food regime, and directions for food, farming, pastoral and fisheries systems determined by local producers. Food sovereignty prioritises local and national economies and markets and empowers peasant and family farmer-driven agriculture, artisanal - fishing, pastoralist-led grazing, and food production, distribution and consumption based on environmental, social and economic sustainability. Food sovereignty promotes transparent trade that guarantees just income to all peoples and the rights of consumers to control their food and nutrition. It ensures that the rights to use and manage our lands, territories, waters, seeds, livestock and biodiversity are in the hands of those of us who produce food. Food sovereignty implies new social relations free of oppression and inequality between men and women, peoples, racial groups, social classes and generations.
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.
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!
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.