October 16, 2018
World Food Day — celebrated on Oct. 16 every year — commemorates the founding in 1945 of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The FAO was created to respond to famines and hunger in a world of God’s abundance. Despite the abundance of land, water, nutrients and sunlight on this precious planet, even in the 21st century, hundreds of millions of people go hungry.
Each year, Presbyterian congregations join with partners around the country to lift up World Food Day during the Food Week of Action. The Food Week starts the Sunday before World Food Day and ends on the Sunday after it. This week also includes the International Day for Rural Women (Oct. 15) and the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (Oct. 17).
During the Food Week of Action, we commit to action. We commit to spend our dollars on food that is produced and brought to us in ways that promote a sustainable and just food system. Beyond examining our food choices, we also recognize that racism continues to taint many aspects of the food chain. Our food system was founded on plantation agriculture and slavery, and our approach exploits people and despoils God’s creation. Poverty wages are the diet of those who plant, harvest and serve us our food, and a disproportionate number of those workers are people of color.
The actions for 2018 focus on how we can move toward sustainability and justice for those who have been hurt in the past and those currently suffering. The more than 50 co-sponsors of the Food Week of Action agreed that claiming rights, fair compensation and food sovereignty are priorities as we move in this direction. Find more information on Food Week and World Food Day at pcusa.org/foodweek.
In your congregation, everyone can learn more about eating and the many intersectional issues of health, environment, the sacredness of food, and community building with Just Eating. The Just Eating: Practicing Our Faith at the Table curriculum has spurred new farmers markets, advocacy on the Farm Bill, and church-based food initiatives. Go to pcusa.org/justeating to download the free curriculum. You may also get ideas from the Food Sovereignty for All: Overhauling Our Food System with Faith-Based Initiatives Guide found at bit.ly/phpfoodfaith.
Andrew Kang Bartlett, Associate for National Hunger Concerns, Presbyterian Hunger Program
Today’s Focus: World Food Day
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray:
Loving, compassionate God, emboldened by your vision of the Beloved Community, we envision a world where everyone has enough affordable, healthy and culturally appropriate food. We confess that we have not done enough to guarantee the God-given right to food. Give us the strength to push for local and national policies that provide needed nutrition to children developing their physical and mental capacities, to seniors struggling to pay for groceries, and for everyone in between who must suffer the indignity of hunger in a world of plenty. Today, we also remember the grueling labor of all the workers — from farmworkers and farmers to people processing and shipping our food, from cashiers at retail shops to everyone who heats up or cooks a meal across the world. We give our gratitude for their labor and pray that through our actions and your love, they will be safe, fairly compensated, respected and celebrated! Amen.