Posts Categorized: Young Adults
My name is Ashley Earley and I am serving as a Presbyterian Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) in Boston this year and our focus is food justice. I will be posting periodically onto this blog about various food related topics for the next year. First, I would like to introduce myself. I am from Rock Hill, SC (just south of Charlotte, NC) and graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in May with a bachelors in biology and a minor in math. I am currently taking a gap year before going to graduate school for a master’s in plant biology and afterwards plan to go into research. I have never been to the New England area before, but I am so far really enjoying my time in Boston.
For this year, I am serving at First Presbyterian Church in Brookline and at a non-profit called Woman and Girls Thriving in Brookline with a focus in the Healthy Food and Lifestyle working group. My role will be to learn and educate about food justice.
Also as part of the program we will be participating in two different food challenges. From September to the end of January is the local eating challenge and February to the end of July is the SNAP (food stamp) challenge.
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It is quite humbling to catch a chicken, hold her, pet her, attempt to calm her, pass her off to Steve, and look her in the eye as the hatchet comes down. Then after plucking feathers, and knifing away the vitals, I carry it on ice to my freezer. I did that today. I caught a bird that has lived at Ferncliff much longer than I have, and helped end her life.
This article is about killing chicken. I thought you should know that here before you decide to keep reading or not.
There was a bright vivacious red color blood. There were feathers–lots of them. There was a small child calling at his father, “please don’t kill it Dad.” There was slimy smelly guts. There was skin. There were feathers we missed. There was yellow fat. It smelled like a dead animal, it did a lot of twitching. It bled on me. It’s smell lingers in my arm hairs hours later.
I spent last week in a confused, yet happy, yet exhausted state. I was all sorts of emotions at all times. Presbyterians know this week as General Assembly- and it’s a force to be reckoned with.Read more »
What it is: Food Justice Fellows are a cohort of spirit-based organizers connected to the Presbyterian Hunger Program (PHP). They are young or young-at-heart folks working to build local food economies that are sustainable and just, and people who make connections (and help others do so) between local food and hunger issues and related global concerns.
PHP will arrange for at least one training/networking opportunity for the Fellows. Small support grants from PHP (given through the presbytery, a congregation or local organization) may also be available to help the Fellows with food justice/local food economy events they may organize in their region. PHP will correspond with and do conference calls with the Fellows regularly (currently the 4th Monday at 12:00 pm (eastern time)) to exchange ideas, share best practices, discuss readings and provide updates on the U.S. and global food sovereignty movement and related work inside and outside the church. The Presbyterian Hunger Program staff and Food Justice Fellows will provide each other with mutual support, accountability and camaraderie. Hunger Action Enablers, Mission Advocates and other leaders throughout the PCUSA are potential resources and connectors.
Why it is: The purpose is to connect Presbyterians to the agrarian roots and lessons of the Bible to inspire and equip them – together with their congregations and communities – to fight hunger and poverty by rebuilding local food economies here in the U.S. and to support the same overseas through advocacy and campaigns.
If you are selected, work plans will then be developed for the year in consultation with PHP. Call Andrew at 502.569.5388 for additional information.
Frequently Asked Questions
Actual questions asked by real people…
1) Is this only for Presbyterians?
* Presbyterian, person of another faith, blended faith, seekers, spiritual-but-not-religious, current unbeliever — all are welcome to apply. A number of fellows are Presbyterians (so you must be able to tolerate them), but we have other faiths and non-faith represented as well. That said, Fellows must be currently doing or be willing to collaborate with Presbyterians also in their food justice/local food economy building work.
2) I am wondering about the work/job component. Can the applicants have any job in the food industry?
* If the Fellow is employed, the job doesn’t have to be food-related, but they would need to also be doing food justice/sustainable ag-related work (either paid or unpaid) as part of their life.
3) Does the fellowship come with a stipend so I can look for internships?
* There is no stipend. There is some funding available for events or activities that the FJF coordinates or is active leading around food justice, i.e. a program with community, churches, presbytery, government, etc. (for example, the Fellow organizes a county-wide Food Justice Teach-In with a tour of local farms, ‘food deserts’, a processing plant and city hall to talk with government officials about starting a Food Policy Council. PHP could provide a matching grant of $1000 or so to help make that possible.)
4) Can I be located anywhere in the U.S.?
5) Where and when would the face-to-face gathering be for the Fellows?
* We will meet face-to-face at least once a year as part of the Food Justice Fellows Program. The 2013 gathering was in DC at the Ecumenical Advocacy Days Conference on Food Justice in April. The 2014 gathering is at the Wild Goose Festival on June 26-29 in Hot Springs, North Carolina. 2015 is not yet determined, but may be at the Growing Food and Justice Initiative Gathering. Participation in this gathering is very important for the Fellowship.
6) Would you provide funding for transportation to this gathering?
* There are scholarships available based on need, but we will expect the Fellow to raise some funds. The lack of personal funds will not limit participation.
7) Is the fellowship a year long program?
* We will do annual work plans, but those that wish to and who are in good standing would continue on year after year if so desired.
Junk Food Awareness DayRead more »
It’s late on a Saturday night, dark, and we’re all tired and have gotten a little lost. We finally pull up to this large cabin in the woods that’s overflowing with people we don’t know. We get there right as mass is starting– the atmosphere is relaxed but sacred, the room crowded but cozy. There are candles everywhere and the homily is about Nelson Mandela and nonviolence. After the service all 60 of us share a potluck meal and later whoever is still there gathers around the wood stove in the living room to sing folk songs into the night.
We knew right away this was an interesting and unique place.Read more »