Posts Categorized: Agriculture

Liturgy for the Food Week of Action

The 2015 Liturgy for the Churches’ Food Week of Action is READY!

PDF version with music

Welcome and Introduction

2015 is being commemorated as the International Year of Soils and the World Food Day 2015 focuses on Social Protection and Agriculture.

In spite of steady gains against hunger and poverty, today, more than ten percent of the population of the world; about 795 million people, are undernourished and go to bed hungry.

Let us commit ourselves in prayer, to overcome hunger and social vulnerability in our communities and across the nations!

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Corporate Ag Says They Will Feed the World. Really?

Since agriculture emerged 10,000 years ago, it has been smaller-scale producers who have fed the world. Industrial, high-tech and chemical-intensive farming has only been around for about 80 years, and still today it is small-scale farmers, ranchers, pastoralists and fishers who provide approximately 70% of all the food eaten on Earth[1].

Marketing professionals and lobbyists from Monsanto, ADM and companies promoting industrial agriculture and GMOs [we’ll call that Big Ag for shorthand] have spread a myth, which people of all stripes have swallowed. This myth claims that only large-scale industrial agriculture can feed a hungry world. The myth consists of two parts: (1) More food is the answer to feeding people; (2) Corporate, industrial agriculture is the approach that can fill this need.

First, the myth that more food will feed a hungry world.

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Top Food Stories

woman gardeningA big thank you to Adam Liebowitz at North Star Fund, a fellow member of the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders, for this great collection of news on all things food and farming.

ECONOMICS & TRADE

Don’t Let Food Industry Stir the Pot.  Pam Kock, Huffington Post, Mar 23, 2015

The PR War Continues: Monsanto and the myth of peaceful coexistence. Laetitia Benador, Food First, Apr 2, 2015

Trade Rules Create Obstacle Course for a Better Food System. Karen Hansen-Kuhn, IATP, May 15, 2015

John Oliver Explains the Abuses of the Chicken Industry (Not the Ones You Think).  L.V. Anderson, Slate, May 18, 2015

Walmart’s Sustainability Promises: Myth vs. Reality. Steve Holt, Civil Eats, Jun 5, 2015

Egg rationing in America has officially begun.  Roberto Ferdman, Washington Post, Jun 5, 2015

Whole Foods Markets: Throwing Organic Farmers Under the Bus? Cornucopia Institute, Jun 12, 2015

ENVIRONMENT & FARMING PRACTICES

Climate Change Poses Serious Threats to Food Distribution.  Elizabeth Grossman, Earth Island Journal, Mar 4, 2015

 
Let’s put an end to factory farming.  Tom Colicchio, CNN, Apr 6, 2015
 
 
Feeding the future through agroecology. Dr. M. Jahi Chappell and Tara Ritter. IATP, Apr 21, 2015
 

FOOD JUSTICE & ADVOCACY

Racism and Capitalism: Dual Challenges for the Food Movement.  Eric Holt-Gimenez, Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development.  Mar 25, 2014

The Color of Food: America’s Invisible Farmers.  Natasha Bowens, Civil Eats, Apr 14, 2015

The Color of Food: Building Autonomy as African American Farmers.  Natasha Bowens, Civil Eats, Apr 14, 2015

Promised a Supermarket Five Years Ago, a Housing Project Is Still Waiting. Keith Williams, New York Times, Apr 17, 2015

The World Bank’s Long War on Peasants.  Eric Holt-Giménez and Tanya M. Kerssen, Food First, Apr 20, 2015

What happened to America’s black farmers?  Madeleine Thomas,Grist, Apr 24, 2015

Justice for farmworkers as labor rights bill makes overdue progress in the New York State Senate.  Editorial, NY Daily News, May 3, 2015

Can We Finally Treat Food Workers Fairly?  Mark Bittman, New York Times, May 27, 2015

The New Food Movement Has a Problem with Race.  Lauren Rothman, Mucnhies, May 29, 2015

The Food Revolution and the War for Our Minds.  Jonathan Latham, Rural America, Jun 12, 2015

HEALTH & FOOD ACCESS

Fewer NYC teens are drinking sodas: study.  Carl Campanile, NY Post, Apr 6, 2015
 
As Global Food Chain Grows, So Does Risk of Illness.  Maryn McKenna, National Geographic, Apr 7, 2015
 
Food System Recommendations Should Account for More Than Public Health.  Gabrielle Blavatsky, EcoCentric, Apr 21, 2015

Lessons from Supermarket Failure in a Food Desert. Kate McCleary, Liveable Future, May 5, 2015

School Lunch May Be Next to Nudge Antibiotics Off the Plate.  Maryn McKenna, National Geographic, May 8, 2015 

 
 
France to force big supermarkets to give unsold food to charities.  Angelique Chrisafis, The Guardian, May 22, 2015
Restaurants Pan New York City’s Plan for High-Salt Labels. Melanie Grayce West, Wall Street Journal, Jun 10, 2015
 
The Daily Table: Is This What We Really Need?  Mark Winne, Beacon Broadside, Jun 30, 2015 

OTHER

In Newark, a Vertical Indoor Farm Helps Anchor an Area’s Revival. C.J. Hughes, New York Times, Apr 7, 2015

Why “Clean Label” School Lunch May Be a Pipe Dream. Bettina Elias Siegel, Civil Eats, Apr 9, 2015

Council Members Ask De Blasio to Invest in Farmland. Samar Khurshid, Gotham Gazette, Apr 21, 2015

Craft Distilleries and Breweries Take Hold in South Bronx.  Winnue Hu, New York Trimes, Apr 22, 2015

USDA Report Shows Increase in Activity of Local and Regional Food Systems.  AJ Hughes, Seedstock, May 10, 2015

Vermont: America’s Food Relocalization Laboratory.  Steve Holt, Civil Eats, May 13, 2015

Let’s Help Create More Farmers.  Mark Bittman, New York Times, Jun 10, 2015

30 Women Under 30 Changing Food. Danielle Nierenberg, Huffington Post, Jun 23, 2015

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Corporate Ag Says They Will Feed the World. Really?

Since agriculture emerged 10,000 years ago, it has been Asian farmer carrying ricesmaller-scale producers who have fed the world. Industrial, high-tech and chemical-intensive farming has only been around for about 80 years, and still today it is small-scale farmers, ranchers, pastoralists and fishers who provide approximately 70% of all the food eaten on Earth[1].

Marketing professionals and lobbyists from Monsanto, ADM and companies promoting industrial agriculture and GMOs [we’ll call that Big Ag for shorthand] have spread a myth, which people of all stripes have swallowed. This myth claims that only large-scale industrial agriculture can feed a hungry world. The myth consists of two parts: (1) More food is the answer to feeding people; (2) Corporate, industrial agriculture is the approach that can fill this need.

First, the myth that more food will feed a hungry world.

Read more…

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Sojourn to India & Sri Lanka

I was blessed with an eight-week extended study leave spanning from January 19, when I pointed myself in the direction of India, until March 17, when I landed back in about-to-bloom Louisville. Part of the eight weeks in India and Sri Lanka was meeting Presbyterian Hunger Program Joining Hands partners and learning about their efforts to strengthen their food sovereignty.  Part was immersing myself in this ancient/modern, spiritual/material land to learn from the people how they navigate and stay healthy in a rapidly changing world, and to rejuvenate myself as I celebrate 16 years of service to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

This page is designed to help you virtually travel with me. You will find my crazy route, photo galleries, videos and reports. All are found on this Interactive Map and they are also listed below. Click on this link or the map to open it in another window.

Interactive mapyoung woman in Fort Kochi

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Training a new generation of farmers

The ripple effect of contributions to the Hunger Program, mostly through One Great Hour of Sharing, creates waves of support for organizations like World Hunger Relief, which trains young people like Kaley and Ester, and many more. World Hunger Relief, based on their farm in Waco, Texas, also achieves the difficult task of making connections between local hunger and global hunger. Here are the profiles of two of their interns from their website. We are proud to be a partner!

 

photo of kaley and goatIntern Profile | Kaley Necessary

Food Systems Intern & Garden Club Coordinator

Kaley comes to us from Indiana Wesleyan University, where she graduated in the spring of 2014 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Pre-Medicine. She also received a minor in International Community Development. Passionate about public health, Kaley became an intern with the Uganda Village Project. She was in Iganga, Uganda for 3 months where she worked as a public health educator conducting weekly education sessions on malaria, sexually transmitted infections, intestinal parasite prevention, family planning methods, nutrition, hygiene and sanitation, and safe water. Her “desire to see people take ownership of their health and well being” grew stronger while in Uganda.

Kaley has strong passions for development and agriculture. In Uganda, she realized her desire to address public health issues through the gateway of agriculture. After her time at World Hunger Relief, Kaley will continue to pursue knowledge of development and agriculture to prepare herself to serve in a developing country. She also hopes to apply her training in a community somewhere in the United States to help develop local food systems.

 

esther w goatIntern Profile | Esther Honegger

Livestock Intern

Coming from Lake Zurich, IL, Esther graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2013. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science with a minor in Chemistry. Throughout college, Esther was involved in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and the Pre-Veterinary Club at her school. She was also able to intern at the Champaign County Humane Society, where she monitored the medical and behavioral statuses of the resident animals.

During her participation in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Esther had the privilege to attend a 3-week mission trip to Malawi, Africa, where she served at an orphanage. She was able to teach the children about basic animal biology and directed her teammates in helping her with daily activities.

Esther is using her time at WHRI to learn practical skills in animal agriculture so that she can serve people in a more comprehensive way. She plans to use this knowledge and the knowledge from her studies “to benefit the people of developing nations who don’t have the opportunities to learn about animal biology and health in the depth that I have.”

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Fancy Irrigation for Church Garden: A (somewhat) Cautionary Tale

Tell us about the project?

We were able to successfully install two rain barrels off the side of Immanuel Presbyterian Church (Indianapolis) that connects to an underground piping system. This piping system exits the ground inside the garden. Soaker hoses can be attached to the exit to water the garden or volunteers can put a watering can underneath the faucet. There is also a stand-alone rain barrel inside the garden. A watering can be filled by lifting the lid to the rain barrel & then dispersed in the garden. This will cut down the cost of maintaining the garden & make it easier for volunteers to water the garden.
Who was involved?
We had five adults and three kids participate in building the rain barrel system. We had seven kids & two adults plant the vegetables in the garden. Since installing, we have had 7 families volunteer to help care for the garden this summer as well as our church’s Boy Scout troop.
Anything unexpected?
We spent about 5 weekends working on rain barrels instead of the planned 1-2 weekends. We had great difficulty gathering volunteers at the same time to complete a project of this size.
Challenging? Anything you’d do differently next time?
Installing the rain barrels next to the side of the building posed a challenge. A hill goes off that side of the building (which is what you need for the underground piping) and it took two times setting the rain barrels in order for them to not slant. The difficulty in getting volunteers for this project was also a challenge. We will not attempt a construction project this large any year in the near future. If a large project needs to be done again, we will break it up over many months into smaller much more manageable sections in order to get more volunteer participation.
What would you would encourage others to do if they try to replicate something similar in their area?
Do your research in how to install rain barrels properly. This project is not a cheap expense. Our grant money provided $300 of this project this year. Last year we raised $100 that was used in this installation. In addition, the family that oversees this project donated an additional $300 in order to make this project fully operational. So you will need much more than $300 to complete a project of this size. In addition, consider creating a committee of people in charge of completing an outdoor project of this scale, break the project up in small sections and designate individuals to oversee that portion of the project. Plan the project throughout the winter & have the individuals price out the parts needed per section to better estimate costs. Then, accomplish each section slowly throughout the entire length of spring, summer, & fall. Therefore, it will be fully complete in a year’s time. We would also would recommend finding somewhere that the produce can be donated fresh instead of preserved. It is much less work and much easier to get volunteers.
Has this experience changed your church and community in any way?
We are in the interim search process for a new pastor and this project was one of the experiences we have shared that demonstrates some of the success and challenges of undertaking something of this size during a time of transition.  It also is helping us continue to grow in our relationship with people who are under-resourced with access to fresh produce and the programs/churches helping them with on-site assistance.
Anything else?
Our congregation has been blessed with a young adult couple (Kelly and Brad Shinabargar) who are passionate about growing healthy food and helping our congregation’s children learn how to garden.  They also have a passion for helping people who are under-resourced and the growth of this garden over the course of three growing seasons has been tremendous thanks to their determination, creativity, energy and imagination. We could not have accomplished this project without them and are grateful to God for their commitment to the Youth Garden!

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Farmed and Dangerous

When I got home from work the other day one of my roommates greeted me with a big smile and a very enthusiastic “You have to watch this!” I obliged and was not prepared for what I was about to see, in a good way. Chipotle has created a video series called “Farmed and Dangerous”… Read more »

“Thanksgiving Schmanksgiving!”

A Garden Fable


stinkbug“Thanksgiving Schmanksgiving! There’s nothing to be thankful about when it comes to food,” complains Stanley the Stinkbug. “It’s either a factory-farmed turkey or an organic turkey I can’t afford? What a choice!

Sometimes the situation can seem dismal with hunger on the rise, food deserts, pesticide corporations buying up seed companies, and diet-related disease,” drones Stanley. “The smelly list goes on and on, and people don’t give a hoot! Just a bunch of couch potatoes watching sports all day.”

carrot“Stanley, you may be watching too much network news,” replies Chris Carrot. “People all over the country and planet are working together to build food economies that are fair and more sustainable — while supporting nearby farmers! These stories just don’t make the big headlines.”

Chris continues, “Neighborhood leaders and groups are bringing fresh, local food to their communities, Stanley. These are initiatives to be thankful about! One Great Hour of Sharing gifts help fund a program in Oregon to train immigrant families in farming skills at Huerto de la Familia. In Louisville, one initiative has turned teens into ambassadors of fresh produce and another holds food justice classes and brings in local produce for Fresh Stop markets in their lower-income neighborhoods.”

“New initiatives are dealing with all the food waste in our system. Students are demanding better and fairer food in their cafeterias. And watch the video of the first nonprofit supermarket just opened in Pennsylvania. It’s an oasis in a food desert,” added Chris.
stinkbug

“Yeah, yeah, a few random examples.” growls Stanley. “What about the advertising that food corporations bombard us with everyday? Have you seen Anna Lappé’s brand-new Food Mythbuster video, “The Myth of Choice: How Junk-Food Marketers Target Our Kids“? It’s terrifying. All you’ve described doesn’t amount to an ant hill.”

carrot“No, Stanley, it’s happening everywhere,” exclaims Chris! “Presbyterian camps and conference centers around the country are smelling the roses of food justice! Ghost Ranch has revived its farm, Stony Point is producing veggies all over their campus and is putting in a greenhouse as we speak. Joseph Badger Meadows Camp and Eastminster Presbytery in Ohio is establishing a working farm and training program, right on their land!” gushes the Carrot. “And how does a cattail stir-fry sound? A new movement among Native Americans is bringing back traditional foods and changing lives!” continues Chris.
stinkbug
“Okay. Not bad, but what about global hunger? Those giant free trade agreements will make it even tougher for family-scale farmers?”
carrot

“Yes, we need to advocate to halt Fast Track and call for transparency and fairness in the Trans-Pacific Partnership to protect farmers overseas,” say Chris “Luckily, policy makers are beginning to admit that export-oriented cash crop farming is not the answer to ending poverty. In fact, research shows that it is small farms that are the key to creating global food security

Presbyterians can support great agricultural development by giving to the Presbyterian Hunger Fund and by funding great projects through the Food Resources Bank in Malawi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. And we have La Via Campesina and food sovereignty movements around the world — such as the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa and the US Food Sovereignty Alliance — to thank for building strong coalitions to resist injustice and build just and sustainable food economies everywhere!”
stinkbug

“Very impressive!” admits Stanley. “And as for the turkey, my farmer neighbor is actually giving me a free-range turkey in exchange for my promise to stay out of her vegetables. Come on over at 3:00.”

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Food Week of Action Kicked Off by Events in NYC and India!

Woman farmer with baby on back

WHY Hunger and the US Food Sovereignty Alliance kick off the Food Week of Action with a pre-event, a ceremony for the Food Sovereignty Prize winner and three honorees!

You can watch the event, which took place on October 10 in NYC, in its entirety on the Food Sovereignty Prize site.

As an alternative to the World Food Prize, the Food Sovereignty Prize champions solutions coming from those most impacted by the injustices of the global food system. Celebrate community-led efforts to win food sovereignty for all.

Highlights of the ceremony include presentations from:

  • International and National Honorees, including prize winner the Korean Women’s Peasant Association (a Grassroots’ partner through the Via Campesina), as well as honorees: the Unified Peasant Movement of Aguan Region, National Fisheries Solidarity Movement, and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (Grassroots’ allies).
  • Special guests Tom Morello (of the Nightwatchman and Rage Against the Machine); Olivier de Schutter (UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food); and Karen Washington (longtime food justice activist)

Read about the amazing events happening in India in the following and see the new paper from Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance – “Nourishing the World: Scaling Up Agroecology,” which takes on the myth that only industrial agriculture can feed the world by looking at the successes of smaller-scale sustainable farming approaches and their potential!


World Food Day 2012

ACTIVITIES & EVENTS
From Presbyterian Hunger Program’s Joining Hands Program, US Food Sovereignty Alliance,  and Other Events Related to World Food Day
Go to the US Food Sovereignty Alliance Food Week of Action page

or

Download a PDF of the Activities to read, print or share via email

Below are the actions we are asking people to do this fall, both during the Food Week of Action (oct. 14-21), on World Food Day (Oct. 16) or anytime throughout the fall.

ACT for JUSTICE in the FOOD CHAIN . . .

1. With Farmworkers!  Stand in solidarity with farm workers and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and send a supermarket postcard or manager’s letter

2. With Family Farmers!  Push for transparency in the Trans-Pacific Partnership to make sure family farmers and people who eat are not hurt by this secretly negotiated international trade agreement.

3. With Food Workers!  Become an ally of employees behind the kitchen door. Request a raise to the tipped minimum wage of $2.13 an hour for restaurant workers.

4. With Hungry People and God’s Creation!  We’re burning our crops as fuel rather than using land to grow food. Tell the Obama Administration to waive the mandate for corn ethanol.

* You can find a new World Food Day prayer from the Presbyterian Hunger Program used today during our closing devotions at our Advisory Committee meeting.


Food sovereignty, the real World Food prize

…”The Green Revolution fully ignored the role of democratic policy — which avoids ecological and social costs while ensuring that food production and food producers remain vital to their society and culture.

From the perspective of family farmers and peasants who revere “food sovereignty,” sustainable, democratic foods that respect ecology, culture and diversity of economic opportunity offer a lot more than just improving the “quality, quantity or availability of food” for current and future generations. …”

READ the full article from press-citizen.com

 

EAA Food for Life banner
Press Release

Christian alliance calls for investment in agroecology to end hunger and build resilient communities

The Presbyterian Church USA partners with the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (EAA), which just released a paper calling for increased investment in sustainable agricultural practices that support small-scale farmers and local communities, and also benefit the environment.

“Nourishing the World: Scaling up Agroecology” presents numerous examples of the successful use of agroecological methods in increasing yields for farmers using locally-available natural resources while lowering or eliminating farmers’ reliance on costly and polluting chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Global figures on hunger released today by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Programme emphasize the urgency of investing in effective policies and practices to feed the world. Nearly 870 million people, or 1 in 8, were suffering chronic undernourishment in 2010-2012. According to the report, global progress in reducing hunger has levelled off since 2007-2008, with the number of hungry people rising in Africa and developed regions. More than 1 in 4 people in Africa are chronically hungry.

“Tackling hunger is not in the first instance about producing more food,” says Christine Campeau, EAA’s Food Campaign Coordinator. “It is about investing responsibly in sustainable agricultural practices and changing wasteful consumer habits that will benefit people, communities and the environment now and in the long-term.”

The paper sets out an alternative path to the one currently being promoted by some governmental and private sector initiatives, which is to expand the industrial “green revolution” style of agriculture. While this type of agriculture has certainly increased food production in recent decades, it has also “destabilized the natural resource base and drives much of the loss of biodiversity” as well as contributing – directly and indirectly – to the 30% of total global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) currently generated by the agricultural sector.

“In developed countries, where industrial-scale monocropping is the prevailing agricultural model, it is easy to forget that the majority of the world’s food is produced by smallholder farmers,” states Peter Prove, EAA Executive Director. “The answer to hunger and food insecurity is not turning more of these small farms into huge plantations, which damage both local communities and the environment, but investing in the knowledge-sharing, networking and sustainable practices that have proven to increase yields, protect the natural environment, empower communities, and enhance resilience in the face of a changing climate.”

“It’s all about Christian stewardship of God’s creation, and responding to the needs of people and communities rather than corporations”, stressed Nigussu Legesse, Programme Executive for Africa of World Council of Churches and member of the EAA’s Food Strategy Group.
The paper has been released in advanced of the meeting of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in Rome, 15-20 October. Civil society representatives who participate in the CFS as part of a Civil Society Mechanism are calling on CFS members to act immediately to help small-scale food producers to adapt to climate change and prevent further dangerous climate change-related impacts on food security. In this context, the EAA is calling for:

* Much greater investment in research on agroecological food production methods, building on traditional knowledge and existing best practice, for the purpose of enhancing smallholder-based, low-emission, high-productivity agriculture in the context of climate change.

* Increased support for the establishment and expansion of farmer-to-farmer networks at local levels throughout the developing world, for the sharing of information and best practices in agroecological food production.

* Enabling policy environments at national and international levels, recognizing the central role of smallholder farmers in global food security and supporting smallholder-based agroecological food production, and agroecological extension programs at national and local levels.

* Increased support for the establishment and expansion of smallholder farmers’ collectives, to improve market opportunities and the collective capacities of smallholder farmers and their communities.

* More effective regulation and management of the negative impacts of corporate influence of agricultural policy and practice.

* More focused and effective attention to reducing food waste throughout the food supply chain.

“Agroecology will be necessary, if we are to find a viable path through the intertwined challenges of future food security, and climate change mitigation and adaptation,” the paper states in its conclusion. “In the context of climate change, business as usual in the field of food production is not an option. Agroecology offers the prospect of sustainable food production to meet the needs of a still growing global population, while at the same time reducing the GHG emissions from the agricultural sector, building resilience to already unavoidable climate change, protecting biodiversity, and sustaining communities and rural livelihoods.”

Nourishing the World: Scaling Up Agorecology is available at: http://tinyurl.com/EAAagroecology2012

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