Food and Faith is a blog of the Presbyterian Hunger Program.
New Seed Survey Report Highlights Privatization Concerns
The U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance today released A Preliminary Report on Seeds and Seeds Practices across the US in celebration of La Via Campesina's International Day of Farmers' Struggles in Defense of Peasants' and Farmers' Seeds – April 17.
The report is based on surveys of seed savers and seed advocates from around the United States. It documents who saves seeds, as well as why, where and which ones. Responses reveal that many growers save and share seeds to produce healthy food, preserve their cultural heritage, and to defy efforts by transnational agribusinesses to privately patent and monopolize control of seeds.
The report is especially pertinent during 2014, the International Year of Family Farming, as designated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Based on the surveys and the Call to Action of the US Food Sovereignty Alliance, the report provides individual, community, national and international action recommendations aimed at defending seeds from privatization and preserving them for the common good.
As a member of the U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance, the Presbyterian Hunger Program, a ministry of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), joins in presenting this report in solidarity with La Via Campesina in its global efforts to defend food and seed sovereignty. The report is available to read at usfoodsovereigntyalliance.org and on our website at pcusa.org/food.
For more information:
Andrew Kang Bartlett, Presbyterian Hunger Program, PC(USA) – 502.569.5388
Devika Ghai, Pesticide Action Network North America – 415.728.0169
Lisa Griffith, National Family Farm Coalition – 773.319.583
Charity Hicks, East Michigan Environmental Action Council – 313.725.0554
Sara Mersha, Grassroots International – 617.524.1400
My name is Andrew Kang Bartlett and I am grateful to have been able to serve as associate for national hunger for the past 13 years ever since Gary Cook (sitting in the pews) hired me on for a 6-month interim position. I hope you know the ‘minute’ in Minute for Mission is a euphemism. No one has ever done it in a minute, and I’ll be speaking for about 4 minutes. Also in the name of transparency – a principle seekers of justice promote – my salary is provided through One Great Hour of Sharing, and my job is to ask you to give generously to OGHS. A clear conflict of interest.
But I believe you should give generously in any case. Actually, all you need to do is read the story of Huerto de la Familia in the bulletin and you’ll be convinced. So I’ll just tell you a story.
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.
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
When I hear the word “Organic”…
I picture myself in the grocery store. I feel frustrated at having to pick and choose which items are “worth” spending the extra money. I worry about the chemicals on my leafy greens and fruits. The sentence that runs through my head is this: "Organic food is great, but it’s too expensive." I think that the ‘O’ word deserves a little attention...
The Presbyterian Hunger Program has provided more than $100 million in financial support to effective groups in the U.S. and overseas since it was established in 1969. The five below are just a few of these initiatives, which are alleviating and striving to address the underlying causes of hunger.
Arise members speak out on income tax threshold
In response to a new report citing Alabama's high income tax on the poor, a Huntsville TV station turned to Arise members for comment. Dale Clem, pastor of Monte Sano United Methodist Church and an ACPP board member, and Dick Hiatt, executive director of the North Alabama Food Bank, an ACPP member group, voice their concerns about Alabama's upside-down tax system in this news clip. View news video here. Read ARISE news release here.
Alabama Arise is helping low-income families build a future with individual development accounts (IDAs). Under guidelines set forth by federal Assets for Independence Act of 1998, participants can get a “double match” for up to $2000 they save in an IDA. For $2000 put into the IDA they can get $6000 for a downpayment on a home, college education or starting a small business. What a great way to help others help themselves out of poverty. Alabama Arise motto says it all “A hand UP, not a hand out”.
Boston Faith and Justice Network
Fair Trade Boston was designed to connect church teams, businesses and student groups to broader community engagement of Fair Trade. They hold events for Christians to raise consciousness about how these issues relate to their faith such as film screenings, a national webinar on fair trade and faith, and a bike ride and a benefit concert for a local safe house for survivors of human trafficking. They provide information to Boston-area residents so they are able to understand the ways workers are abused and how fair trade can address this.
The picture to the right is from BFJN director's recent trip to India. Read Ryan's India blog posts on their website.
Corporate Accountability International
Corporate Accountability International is “Thinking Outside the Bottle.” They have convinced schools, businesses, mayors and governors to support and create Bottled Water Free Zones. We definitely need to come together and get various corporations to stop draining watersheds and aquifers for profits. We can work together and all be “Bottle Free”!
PHP has supported CAI's water campaign in past years and is now supporting their work to combat unhealthy food advertising. Read about their campaigns.
First Presbyterian Church St Joseph
First Presbyterian Church St. Joseph will celebrate its 27th anniversary in June of 2012. The church provides sack lunches every Sunday with the help of many volunteers. While folks are there to pick up their food, nurses give flu and hepatitis shots, AIDS screenings and other health services. There is a “Health Express” mobile clinic that parks in front of Open Door Food Kitchen twice a month to offer blood pressure checks, diabetes sugar level sticks, hygiene kits and referral services. They also have Para Medic and a nurse practitioner on board.
And check out their Food for Kids program as well.
Idaho Community Action Network
Due to so many Americans struggling in todays time ICAN got together and came to legislature to increase Food Stamp Asset test from $2,000 to $5,000. This bill is now a law! They are also trying to reverse Medicaid cuts after $35 million was cut from the state budget. Started in 1999, ICAN has over 2,000 members statewide and they educate and mobilize people to advocate on issues of social, racial, and economic justice and to eliminate poverty in Idaho. Learn about their great food justice programs and read their new report:
Families or Corporations?
SUPER COMMITTEE CHOICE: NEED VERSUS GREED
New Report Shows Staggering Hunger and Food Insecurity Nationwide While Federal Funds Feed “Big Ag” Profits.
All this great work is made possible by the generous gifts of Presbyterians to the One Great Hour of Sharing. Thank you!
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.
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.