Posts Categorized: Food Justice

Seeing the Work

The shelter doesn’t feel like a basement. It is painted a calming yellow, and there always seem to be fresh flowers around.

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“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 Justice Jobs! 2014 Anti-Hunger VISTA positions – Deadline Extension to Nov. 29

Ac The Presbyterian Hunger Program – PCUSA is looking to hire 12 full-time Anti-Hunger Opportunity Corps VISTA volunteers starting February, 2014.
Are you passionate about supporting community-driven solutions to injustices in the food system, locally and nationally?
If selected, you will work with a team of VISTAs in one of three cities – Louisville, Cincinnati or Indianapolis, to build capacity and work with them to build the power of the grassroots toward positive change. Preference given to people from and planning to stay in those areas. Candidates should send resumes and cover letters
by Friday, November 29.

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Presbyterian Hunger Program (PHP) – Jobs Announcement

PHP plans to host 10-12 full-time Anti-Hunger Empowerment Corps VISTA volunteers for 12 months starting Feb. 2014. Four people will be based out of the PCUSA national offices in Louisville, Kentucky, and the others will be deployed as teams in Indianapolis and Cincinnati.

Visit the AmeriCorps*VISTA website for more information about the VISTA program. Visit pcusa.org/hunger for more info about the Hunger Program.

1) AmeriCorps*VISTA Community Food Justice Cultivator (6-10 positions)

Scope: Under the supervision of the National Associate for PHP, the AmeriCorps*VISTA will assist congregations, neighborhoods and organizations in one of three cities in outreach for SNAP, WIC and Senior Nutrition Programs, and in connecting people and communities struggling against poverty to locally-grown, healthy foods through these programs and other grassroots initiatives.

Responsibilities:

– Develop great working relations with congregations, neighborhood leaders, community-based groups, feeding programs, refugee communities, schools and institutions, and food justice organizations in the wider metro area, as well as with farmers, farmers market associations, and related producer/distributor groups.

– Work collaboratively with community and faith groups to develop volunteer, outreach and marketing plans for USDA nutritional programs and local food initiatives, including programs which increase local and healthy options for those lacking access to affordable good food.

– Organize, carry out trainings, and develop leaders to continue training programs.

– Support groups in identifying funding sources for related initiatives; occasional fundraising for local partners possible.

– Increase SNAP and nutrition program benefits use at farmers markets and other markets, and support gardening, farm and nutrition education.

– Assist with other areas of PHP work, especially on social media, story-telling and writing on food justice and related areas, making connections between local and global.

Requirements:

1. Desire and ability to work with a diverse group of people. Must possess cultural competency skills to work with people of many different backgrounds.

2. Ability to motivate oneself and work independently as well as in a team environment.

3. University degree or equivalent life experience preferred.

4. Great phone, face-to-face and written communication skills.

5. Strong interest in community organizing, food justice, social justice, and refugee/immigrant concerns.

6. Must be proactive, innovative, reliable, and detail-oriented (report writing is part of being a VISTA).

7. Fluency in English and one of the following languages preferred: Spanish, French, Creole, Nepali, Burmese, Lingala, Kituba or Somali.

8. Understanding of how congregations and faith-based agencies work, or willingness to learn.

9. Flexibility about work hours and willingness to work evening and weekend hours.

10. Must be willing to commit to one year as a full-time worker with AmeriCorps*VISTA and PHP. VISTA requires that applicants have no outside professional or educational commitments.

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2) AmeriCorps*VISTA National Food Justice Coordinator (2 positions)

Scope: Under the supervision of the National Associate for PHP, the AmeriCorps*VISTA will inspire, equip and connect congregations and organizations in several USDA target states around the United States in methods and best practices for outreach on SNAP, WIC and Senior Nutrition Programs, local food economy building, volunteer recruitment and management, fundraising, and in supporting people and communities struggling against poverty to strengthen their voices and increase access to locally-grown, healthy food.

Responsibilities:

– Develop great relationships with people, congregations, interfaith hunger ministries, PHP grantee and other organizations in the target states, as well as with local producer/distributor and food justice groups in those areas.

– Work collaboratively with community and faith groups to develop volunteer, outreach and marketing plans for USDA nutritional programs and local food initiatives, including programs which increase local and healthy options for those lacking access to affordable good food.

– Help facilitate the development and implementation of training programs.

– Support groups in finding funding sources for related initiatives; occasional fundraising for food justice partners possible.

– Assist groups and congregations in increasing SNAP and nutrition program benefits use at farmers markets and other markets, and support gardening, farm and nutrition education.

– Assist with other areas of PHP work, including global food and land issues, writing for PHP blogs and PHP Post, etc.

Requirements:

1. Desire and ability to work with diverse groups and individuals. Must possess cultural competency skills to communicate with and work with people of different backgrounds.

2. Ability to motivate oneself and work independently as well as in a team environment.

3. University degree or equivalent life experience preferred.

4. Excellent phone, face-to-face and written communication skills; strong computer, social media and presentation skills.

5. Strong interest in community organizing, food justice, social justice, and refugee/immigrant concerns.

6. Must be proactive, innovative, reliable, and detail-oriented (report writing is part of being a VISTA).

7. Fluency in Spanish a plus.

8. Understanding of how congregations and faith-based agencies work, or willingness to learn.

9. Willingness to work some evening and weekend hours; willingness to do some travel.

10. Must be willing to commit to one year as a full-time worker with AmeriCorps*VISTA and PHP. VISTA requires that applicants have no outside professional or educational commitments.

To apply for this position, please email a cover letter and resume to Andrew by November 29, 2013.

Go to their website to learn more about AmeriCorps*VISTA.

For more information, call Andrew Kang Bartlett at (502) 569-5388.

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Church of the Pilgrims’ Food & Faith Season starts with compost, soil and communion

Written by Ashley Goff and Rebecca Barnes
During this liturgical season that the Church of the Pilgrims calls “Homecoming,” the Sundays between September and the end of November, we are focusing on the theme of Food and Faith. Within the theme of Food and Faith, we are taking on this arc for a focus: humus, exile, and harvest. To fully experience this theme we are having communion each week in worship.

The inspirations for this theme of Food and Faith is Sacred Greens, Pilgrims’ urban garden which produces food to supplement meals for Open Table (our Sunday lunch for hungry neighbors). The book “Food and Faith” by Norman Wirzba has also been influential.

The first few weeks we are naming the element that formed our existence: soil. From a theological perspective, we are lifting up the Biblical interpretation that we are formed out of the humus, or topsoil, and it is from that place where the earth creature took it’s shape.

Read more…

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Triennium (pre- or post-) Youth Activity!

Community Food Assets:

Taking an Inventory

Pre- or Post-Triennium Youth Group Activity

From the Presbyterian Hunger Program

DOWNLOAD the ACTIVITY GUIDE

This interactive group study is designed to be a fun, informative way for youth to learn about food in your local community, as preparation or follow-up to Triennium themes of hunger and poverty alleviation.

Delve into the challenging issues of hunger and poverty using a positive approach! Studying the assets (people, programs, resources) in your community that help people get access to enough good food is one way to begin to understand food justice. All youth groups are invited to join in this activity!

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“Not Even A Tomato”

     “I just want to peek inside real quick. Okay?” I said. The plastic sign read “Village Pantry,” with a big red tomato on it. It was right around the corner from an apartment I was considering, and I was curious to see what I would be dealing with.

     “Of course,” my dad agreed with a laugh, as I jumped out of the car and through the doors of the corner store. I quickly darted up and down the isles, glancing at beef jerky, chips, and candy bars. I picked up a sandwich or two in the “Bistro” case, noting the offsite packaging plant.

     After my curiosity was satisfied, I walked out of the store and back to my car.

     “Did they have a good organic section?” Dad joked.

     “Not even a tomato,” I replied before pulling out of the parking lot, “or a can of beans to stock the pantry.”


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When I Hear Word “Organic”…

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…

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Food Justice Jobs Announcement for Anti-Hunger VISTA positions

The Presbyterian Hunger Program – PCUSA is looking to hire 12 full-time Anti-Hunger Empowerment Corps VISTA volunteers starting February, 2013.
Are you passionate about supporting community-driven solutions to injustices in the food system, locally and nationally?
If selected, you will work with a team of VISTAs in Louisville and in two other cities, likely Nashville and either Cincinnati or Indianapolis, to build capacity and work with them to build the power of the grassroots toward positive change. Preference given to people from and planning to stay in those areas. Candidates should send resumes and cover letters
by Monday, November 26.

Download this announcement as a PDF

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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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Glean On Me

With the scale of such extravagant waste in mind, we sat down with Aaron Tornes from a Louisville non-profit Kentucky Interfaith Power and Light (KIPL) to discuss the ways his gleaning network—Glean Together!—is working to reduce the amount of waste in his local food system. 

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