Posts Categorized: Food Justice

Is your harvest ample enough for low income people, too?

logo from ample harvestI just read that poverty in the US is at the highest level on record. Results of the US Census tell us that 46.2 million people (15.1 percent) of the residents of this country were living in poverty in 2010. This means that many of our neighbors are forced to choose between paying rent or utilities and feeding their families. And we know that the cheapest calories tend to be the worst for our health, and we are seeing the dire effects of that! 

It doesn’t have to be that way, and strengthening local food economies in ways that reach low-income communities is an important step.

In this regard, I found this next fact surprising, and this reality is at the heart of the particular efforts of a group called AmpleHarvest.org:

More than 40 million American grow fruit, herbs and vegetables in home gardens – and that number is increasing.

Often, there is a glorious surplus!

AmpleHarvest.org enables people to help their neighbors in need by reaching into their backyards instead of (or as well as) their back pockets.

Learn how to connect this glorious surplus with food pantries that wish to distribute fresh, organic, local food!

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Fans of Farm Workers and NFWM

“WE CELEBRATE the 40 years of ministry of the National Farm Worker Ministry!”

Dominique holding 35 pound bucket of tomatoes

I am Dominique Aulisio. Through volunteering with NFWM and starting a Youth and Young Adult Network chapter in Orlando, I have had the opportunity to get to know farm workers and work hand in hand with them to fight the injustice they face.

YAYAs learn about hope, share in each others’ cultures, and learn the organizing skills we need to impact our world. As a young person, working with NFWM as an ally to farm workers has given me confidence in our power to change the systems that oppress farm workers and keep our communities divided. NFWM/YAYA is unique and vital to the farm worker movement and to the broader fight for social justice. I am grateful to have the continued opportunity to work alongside NFWM in the farm worker movement.

 

Olga speaking at a public rallyI am Olgha Sierra Sandman. I came from Mexico to enter a college for women in training for missionary work hoping to be sent to Africa. That changed when I had the opportunity to work for two summers for the National Migrant Ministry. After my marriage to Rev. Bob Sandman, we continued in Migrant Ministry.

In May 1971, I attended the first meeting of the National Farm Worker Ministry Board in La Paz, CA. I was fortunate to be a part of the evolving of the Migrant Ministry into the National Farm Worker Ministry. NFWM opened the door widely and I entered. The farm workers also opened their arms and embraced me, both giving me many opportunities to work side by side.

Forty years later, I reflect in gratitude and praise God, for giving me this life-time opportunity to be part of a movement of justice, for learning from the farm workers about self-determination and sacrifice, about fighting for dignity, and respect and for bringing to our tables the food that sustains life.

Written in my heart are Cesar Chavez’s words of wisdom: “When you work for justice, you can’t afford being a sprinter, you must be a long distance runner.” As I approach the finishing line, I’m ready to pass the baton on to all future runners for justice who will, as I have, stay the course and support the National Farm Worker Ministry and its courageous stand to be faithful to the struggle of the farm workers.

 

Maria in a field of grapesI am Maria Vidal. Years ago, I worked in the fields picking apricots and peaches near Stockton, California. When I learned that 15 farm workers had died from heat stress in California’s fields since 2005, I was motivated to act.

Now I am a volunteer with the National Farm Worker Ministry’s Support Group, LIVE – Luces y Voces de Esperanza. I and my fellow supporters seek ways that our people can be valued for their work. Above all, we bring farm workers hope that their dignity as persons will be respected. We let them know that they are not alone. It is a privilege to give my time and be in solidarity with the National Farm Worker Ministry, because NFWM works to see to it that farm workers have a voice.

 

And you can celebrate and contribute to the work of NFWM

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90 Years of Solidarity, 40 Years of the National Farm Worker Ministry

The National Farm Worker Ministry — which Presbyterians and the Hunger Program have been engaged with for decades — celebrates 40 years of solidarity and accompaniment with farm workers. Board chair Felix Garza and director Virginia Nesmith give some background and an invitation to support this work. Tomorrow, we’ll hear from Olga, Dominique and Maria about why they love NFWM.

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More than 90 years ago, state migrant ministries began providing services to farm workers. Decades later, those ministry leaders were ready when farm workers began organizing in the fields and called on religious groups to accompany them. In 1971, they founded NFWM as a national organization to mobilize faith community members in the farm worker struggle for justice.

protest at Reynolds

NFWM Marches at Reynolds Tobacco


For 40 years, we have been privileged, along with you, to accompany farm workers in the fields and in the supermarkets, in labor camps and corporate offices, on the streets and in the halls of Congress.

You have helped farm workers win better wages and working conditions and the right to enforce those through union representation; the recognition from many food service companies that we all share in the responsibility to improve the conditions of those who pick our produce; and new laws such as those requiring mattresses in labor camps.

Yet we grieve for the many workers who continue to be exploited by our broken system, risking their health and their lives to put food on our table. With you, we remain steadfast to transforming the agriculture industry so that:

– No farm worker has to sleep 12 people to a trailer that has no ventilation.
– No farm worker dies from working in 100 degree heat without water or shade breaks.
– No farm worker suffers the horrible effects of being sprayed with toxic pesticides.
– No farm worker is cheated, paid for 48 sacks of oranges when they picked 53.
– No farm worker has to be silent in the face of abuse or risk being fired or deported.

We commit to saying “Yes” when farm workers ask for our help. We commit to engaging a new generation in this struggle. We commit to providing you with education and action opportunities so that together, we reach the day when each meal we sit down to is a meal we can eat with a clear conscience.

In celebration of 40 years of national work, our goal is to raise $40,000 in additional income. We recently learned about an exciting opportunity to have $5,000 of this appeal matched dollor-for-dollar by a new granting source. That means your anniversary gift is doubled – your $50 gift becomes $100 or your $100 gift becomes $200. Each donor to our anniversary campaign will receive an NFWM magnet in appreciation!

Click here to contribute online using our new secure donation system!

In Solidarity,
Felix Garza, President
Virgnia Nesmith, Executive Director

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52 ways toward a just and joy-filled food system

Yes!  There are things each of us can do to help bring about change in ourselves and for hungry people around the world.

 

Here are 52 ideas—enough to keep you and your congregation busy all 52 weeks of this year!


Highlighted items on the list — with a * — are ones particularly useful for involving children and young people.


Download the PDF list

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Food Justice for All Webinar Resources, including The Handbook

The updated Food Sovereignty for All Handbook: Overhauling the Food System with Faith-Based Initiatives is available free of charge! Cover-small Download PDF of Food Sovereignty for All Handbook Thanks to the Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon for their work writing and publishing this valuable guide. This is a slightly updated version. The first Food Justice for All Webinar was recorded and can be found here. It is 67MB and can be viewed with Windows Media Player (WMP can also be downloaded onto a Mac). Join or invite others to one of remaining “Food Justice for All” webinars These webinars explore ways that congregations around the country are growing community by alleviating hunger and connecting healthy local food to people and communities with little access. The webinars will detail proven faith-based initiatives like summer-feeding programs, community gardens, farmers markets, tactics for getting local produce in food pantries and kitchens, and other models for linking people with healthy and local food. Sign up by clicking on the registration link below: 1. May 5th 2:00-3:00pm (EDT) – Food Justice for All Webinar: Growing community through local food 2. May 12th 2:00-3:00pm (EDT) – Food Justice for All Webinar: What congregations are doing to build just and sustainable food economies 3. May 19th 2:00-3:00pm (EDT) – Food Justice for All Webinar: SNAP outreach and Summer Feeding Programs 4. May 26th 2:00-3:00pm (EDT) – Food Justice for All Webinar: What congregations are doing to build just and sustainable food economies See also the US Dept. of Agriculture’s Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships website for various resources.

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Food Justice for All Webinars and Handbook!

The updated Food Sovereignty for All Handbook: Overhauling the Food System with Faith-Based Initiatives is available free of charge! Cover-small Download PDF of Food Sovereignty for All Handbook Thanks to the Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon for their work writing and publishing this valuable guide. This is a slightly updated version. The first Food Justice for All Webinar was recorded and can be found here. It is 67MB and can be viewed with Windows Media Player (WMP can also be downloaded onto a Mac). Join or invite others to one of remaining “Food Justice for All” webinars These webinars explore ways that congregations around the country are growing community by alleviating hunger and connecting healthy local food to people and communities with little access. The webinars will detail proven faith-based initiatives like summer-feeding programs, community gardens, farmers markets, tactics for getting local produce in food pantries and kitchens, and other models for linking people with healthy and local food. Sign up by clicking on the registration link below: 1. May 5th 2:00-3:00pm (EDT) – Food Justice for All Webinar: Growing community through local food 2. May 12th 2:00-3:00pm (EDT) – Food Justice for All Webinar: What congregations are doing to build just and sustainable food economies 3. May 19th 2:00-3:00pm (EDT) – Food Justice for All Webinar: SNAP outreach and Summer Feeding Programs 4. May 26th 2:00-3:00pm (EDT) – Food Justice for All Webinar: What congregations are doing to build just and sustainable food economies See also the US Dept. of Agriculture’s Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships website for various resources.

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Food Justice: Rooted in the Bible & Rocking Our World

Calls for food justice and food sovereignty are echoing around world. From landless farmers in Brazil to seed savers in India, from urban farms in Oakland to affordable produce drop-offs in Cleveland, from agroecological farms around Lake Victoria in Kenya to farmer-owned cooperatives in Wisconsin, the sprouting of sustainable and just food systems is as sure as spring rains. Hundreds of PCUSA congregations are joining the movement—opening their kitchens, digging food gardens, hosting farmers markets, and advocating forfair food policies. Sixteen Food Justice Fellows, comprised of pastors, urban agriculturalists, grassroots advocates and students, have begun their work together and in their own communities. The Fellows will develop their own personal agrarian/food justice faith statements to more deeply ground their work. The idea came from participants of the HEART trip and the Presbyterian Hunger Program (PHP) is hosting this national fellowship. PHP is also hosting two Americorps*VISTAs who are supporting congregations in their efforts to bring food access to neglected parts of of our cities and states. Interested people are invited to join the Fellows, VISTAs and other Presbyterians online on the Food and Faith Groupsite to share ideas about ways you and your congregation can address inequities in your local food economy and around the world. Congregations and faith-based groups are also invited to join the US Food Sovereignty Alliance. PHP is a founding member and has been active in its development. Learn more about the Alliance here. Finally, for ideas and practical assistance, consider joining the Food Justice for All Webinars for free. Click on the webinar you wish to participate in to register. 1. May 5th 2:00-3:00pm (EDT) – Food Justice for All Webinar: Growing community through local food 2. May 12th 2:00-3:00pm (EDT) – Food Justice for All Webinar: What congregations are doing to build just and sustainable food economies 3. May 19th 2:00-3:00pm (EDT) – Food Justice for All Webinar: SNAP outreach and Summer Feeding Programs 4. May 26th 2:00-3:00pm (EDT) – Food Justice for All Webinar: What congregations are doing to build just and sustainable food economies

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Food and sustainability: finding solutions!

A whole issue devoted to FOOD and SUSTAINABILITY! Introducing you to Kids Can Make a Difference and their Finding Solutions Newsletter. You can sign up for the newsletter on their home page. 1) About this issue…by Jane and Larry Levine and Christina Schiavoni 2) WhyHunger at 35: making connections, building the movement, sticking to its roots…by Alison Cohen 3) Bringing lasting change to school food: how we do it, and how you can, too…by Meredith Modzelewski 4) Just eat food …by Joan Dye Gussow 5) Eat the sky: the food and climate connection…by Anna Lappé 6) Camel farming in Tanzania…by Donna Stokes

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Food Justice Fellows ~ Applications now due (final cut-off is March 11)

Food Justice Fellows Do you get angry that we grow more than enough food for everyone but so many go to bed hungry? Does the thought of building bonds and direct links between farmers and eaters stir you up? Are you already a food justice-maker? Does the idea of building oases of fresh, healthy food in “food deserts” get you excited? Have you heard of food sovereignty? Is your longing for justice – for your neighbor and all people – rooted in your faith? Yes to one or more of these means you may have the agrarian and spiritual muscle and bones that Food Justice Fellows are made of! This is a new initiative of the Presbyterian Hunger Program to strengthen the work of Presbyterians and communities working to build just, equitable and sustainable local food economies in the U.S. and around the world. We have seen that by strengthening localized food systems, which are controlled by the producers and consumers themselves and based on Christian principles of justice and stewarship, communities are able to become more self-reliant and economically prosperous. Food Justice Fellows will work individually as organizers in their region, but be strengthened as a national communal body by exchanging their experiences of what is working and visions for how to move forward. By virtue of being a community of practice, Fellows and PHP staff will be able to update each other on the U.S. and global food sovereignty movement and stay connected with common ground initiatives inside and outside the church. Food Justice Fellows will provide each other with mutual support, accountability and camaraderie. Consider becoming a Food Justice Fellow and/or passing this information to a young (or young at heart) adult who would be great for this.

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Seeds

What do food and hunger have to do with agriculture? That’s a question I’ve been asked from time to time, and I can understand why. In the U.S., food doesn’t come from the Earth, it comes from a supermarket. We’ve…

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