Small-scale farmers—women and men—feed us all. Their labor keeps us alive. They care for the soil, the seeds, the land and the waters. They make up nearly half of the people on the planet and produce more than 70 percent of the world’s food. Your first image may be of someone tilling the land with hand tools, an ox or a small tractor, but they are also farmworkers, pastoralists, small-scale livestock producers, fishers and indigenous producers in every country.
They do indeed struggle, and they direly need our prayers and support. We know this from our visits with our partners both in the United States and internationally. If not struggling for survival itself, they are often struggling to continue their “generational occupation”—the job of feeding the world.
The seeds they have developed over decades, centuries and millennia are also under attack. Giant companies and patenting laws hidden in free trade agreements threaten to strip small-holding farmers of the heirloom and indigenous seeds that allow them to adapt to extreme weather and climate change. Saving seeds also makes farming affordable and can be the difference between prosperity and bankruptcy. We pray for their livelihoods and for the protection of seeds and biodiversity.
More broadly, small-scale producers have been bankrupted and had land bought or taken by industrial operations producing for export into the global marketplace, due to three decades of economic, agricultural and international trade policy that is often written by, and favors, agrifood corporations. We pray for fair markets and policies that prioritize people over profits.
Andrew Kang Bartlett, associate for national hunger concerns
Today’s Focus: International Day of Farmers’ Struggles
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray:
Loving God, we pray that you give farmers, fishers and farmworkers everywhere the strength to produce life-giving food and to prevail in their struggles for survival and for lives filled with dignity, justice and abundance. We pray also that you give us the steadfastness to remember the farmers and to stand in solidarity with them in their struggles. Amen.