Food and Faith is a blog of the Presbyterian Hunger Program.
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.
It was silly, but I was still surprised that they did not come out of the ground ready to be borsht. They are covered in dirt, dark brown, earthy smelling. And I realized; it was a root.
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?
In recent years, I find myself increasingly melancholy in the days leading up to Christmas. There is a lot I want to love about the holiday, like stopping and spending time with loved ones, and the outpouring of kindness on one another. These are beautiful sentiments, but so often hard to focus on during the hustle and bustle of the season.
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.