Did you know there is enough food in the world to feed everyone? Yup, it’s true.
Yet, we’re in a major global food crisis and people are dying of starvation while others waste food and have health problems from obesity. Certainly, a lot of what is wrong with the picture has to do with infrastructure, power, distribution, processing and policies. Plus, we are not farming very well. And our love for the game Farmville isn’t helping!
Unfortunately, if we don’t change our sinful ways, we won’t have enough food for everyone in just about 40 years. This past week I learned from NPR what vices are causing us to run short on food.
The main problems, apparently, are due to the way we farm more than the way we distribute the food. We need to remember, though, that our consumer culture influences the way things are farmed. What we buy, cook and eat impacts what farmers grow and how they grow it.
No one wants anyone to starve to death. Christians understand that Jesus is the Bread of Life and the Eucharist is a Blessed Sacrament that unites us together as a body of Christ. Farming, cooking and eating are very sacred, holy acts. These basic, ordinary, life-giving acts are powerful and rooted in the Gospel.
We the people, have some good, God-given power. We don’t have to despair that things will only get worse for humanity just because some scientists have predicted that they will. The Gospel gives us great solutions (feed the hungry, share the loaves and fishes, pray, trust, listen, include everyone and invite others to our tables) and we are graced to be real instruments of peace while we live the Good News.
Plus, as stated in the NPR story, the scientists have suggestions too:
“First, stop cutting down forests to grow crops. Second, instead of that, focus on land that’s already being used to grow food but isn’t very productive… Third, use water more efficiently, also fertilizer. Fourth, in rich countries, don’t throw away so much food. In poor countries, keep it from spoiling before it gets to the people who need it. Fifth, and this may be the most controversial thing in this paper, eat less meat.”
I know I have written about all this food stuff many times before. Food justice is something that is very important to me, however. I even make it part of the curriculum in my teaching and work to connect my urban students with rural farmers. My Eucharistic community works to educate and advocate for food justice. And, today is a global Blog Action Day and bloggers all over the world are writing about food in order to encourage conversations and actions. I am honored to participate.
Plus, it’s harvest season- the season of abundance- so we can be grateful for the great labor of farmers and how they bless us all.
I am excited to be spending some time on my younger sister’s farm this weekend. She’s a great, young, organic farmer and food activist in Iowa who is modeling for all of us how we can work for change in these systems. In celebration of her great witness, she has even been featured in the Oxfam World Food Day campaign.
When I return to the city from the farm on Sunday I hope to carry with me some good fruits and veggies. I’ll be using my favorite cookbook, The More-with-Less Cookbook, to prepare meals for the next week and avoid buying any extra food.
I was thinking it might be nice, though, if we did a little recipe sharing right here on this blog. What dishes are the rest of you planning to cook up using your fall harvests? What cooking tips do you have for me? I’d really like a yummy, non-conventional way to cook up a big pie-pumpkin.
Sharing recipes is fun because it builds community. For me, one of the great joys of eating is the experience of building relationships. With every bite we can celebrate the relationships we have with other parts of God’s creation and with one another. Together we get to work to create the world, the meals, and the unity that God intended.
While we do all this together, let’s remain mindful that we need to be able to live within all extremes and limitations. We need to balance. We need to love and help everyone- no matter how hungry they are- know the goodness of abundance. As we eat, let’s be grateful and celebrate Life.
St. Paul did it quite well, and so can we:
Brothers and sisters:
I know how to live in humble circumstances;
I know also how to live with abundance.
In every circumstance and in all things
I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry,
of living in abundance and of being in need.
I can do all things in him who strengthens me.
Still, it was kind of you to share in my distress.
My God will fully supply whatever you need,
in accord with his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
To our God and Father, glory forever and ever. Amen. –Philippians 4:12-14, 19-20