Saturday, October 1, 2011

World Food Day

Dear friends and co-workers in environmental justice,

Social and environmental justice are bonded, woven together in the great web of life. They are a 'dynamic duo'. We, as humans, are part of the environment. We care for ourselves and each other as part of caring for Earth. I am grateful to be in a partnership of people who care for Earth because we want to, and also because we have to!

Food is one of the basic bondings we have. Oct 16 is World Food Day, a day for improving public awareness of the problem of hunger in the world.
Some of the unfortunate facts:
  • Almost one billion of the 6.93 billion people in the world face chronic hunger – (not including “short-term” emergency situations due to war or natural disasters)
  • The world already produces enough food calories for 12 billion people.
  • Nearly two billion people are obese or overweight worldwide.
  • People in developed countries consume on average over 60 per cent more than they need.
  • Worldwide, 40 per cent of the food produced is wasted before it can be consumed.
  • 700 children die every hour as a result of hunger.

I am privileged to be a member of the Presbyterian Hunger Program (PHP) Advisory Committee. We meet twice yearly with the staff of the PHP. I am consistently amazed at the breadth and depth of the work of the program. PHP helps empower persons in the local community to work with projects that are sustainable and are aimed at the root causes of hunger. The PHP Advisory Committee reviews grants submitted to help fund programs both in the US and abroad. My heart is warmed by the number of grants written which support local organic farming and sustainable agriculture. In fact, one of the 5 guidelines is "a commitment to upholding the integrity of God's creation." I have also appreciated the tandem work between Environmental Ministries and PHP; it’s a great partnership.

A few weeks ago I attended the Prairie Festival, an annual event sponsored by the Land Institute in Salina, Kansas. The Land Institute works on sustainable agriculture, based on the use of perennial native prairie plants. They have developed perennial sorghum and Kernza, which is made from an intermediate perennial wheatgrass, and continue to work on other grains as well. It is a very slow process, but done with love and passionate commitment. My presbytery's environmental justice team, Earthkeepers of Heartland Presbytery, has written an overture to bring to the 2012 GA which supports this type of perennialization of grains. (Please let me know if you would like a copy of this overture in case you would like to concur or just study the concept.) The overture is based on the following booklet called "A Fifty Year Farm Bill".

We must continue to work diligently; to be faithful, to hold fast to the bond. Check out the Presbyterian Hunger Program’s work as well as its partner organizations listed on the website. Remain steadfast, knowing that hunger can be alleviated….and it can be done in a sustainable way. And as we work toward and meet that goal, Earth and its inhabitants will come rejoicing. For, in the words of the Spanish poet Frederico Garcia Lorca, “the day that hunger is eradiated from the earth, there will be the greatest spiritual explosion the world has ever known. Humanity cannot imagine the joy that will burst into the world on the day of that great revolution.”

To learn more about faith and the global food crisis, you can read this post on PEC's blog, written by Andrew Kang Bartlett, Associate for National Hunger Concerns at the Presbyterian Hunger Program.

Strength to you as we work towards environmental and social justice,
Diane Waddell, Moderator
Presbyterians for Earth Care

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