This is the original preface to the first PDF version of the guide to the Christian food movement. It’s reproduced here so readers know the spirit in which the work was begun. – NLP
In these opening years of the twenty-first century, the need for a more sustainable food system has increasingly become a focus of our national conversation. As a Christian, sometime in the last decade I began to wonder:
- How can we re-imagine food systems in a way that more clearly reflects God’s reign?
- Where are the Christians working for a better food system, and how can I join them?
- Are there existing Christian food projects that I could replicate or adapt in my context?
I lived with these questions for a few years. While they remained unanswered, they only grew in importance.
Then I noticed I wasn’t the only one asking them. In March 2014, Nigel Savage (founder of Hazon and one of the pioneers of the faith-based food movement) said this:
I went into Google this afternoon, and in quote marks I typed ‘Catholic Food Movement,’ and there was one hit. I typed ‘Christian Food Movement,’ and there were two hits,” [Nigel] Savage said last week at the Jewish Theological Seminary, during the kickoff event for Hazon’s new Jewish Environmental Ethics Series. “I typed ‘Jewish Food Movement,’ and there were 81,300 hits.
Mr. Savage goes on to make the point that the Jewish community’s embrace of the good food movement is widespread and significant. But when I read these words, I started seriously researching: Is there a Christian food movement? If so, where is it?
In November 2014, I started to try to answer that question with a week of links on my blog. A warm response to that effort led me to create this guide.
In seeking answers to these questions, I learned something important:
The Christian food movement may not be well organized. It may not always be self-aware. But Christians see the earth – from which all food comes – as God’s good creation. Christians realize that a sacred meal – holy communion – is one of our faith’s central practices. Christians know that food is a gift from God for which we give thanks.
As Christians, we put faith into practice in a variety of ways. Some tend land as farmers and gardeners. Some feed hungry people as gleaners and growers. Some advocate for wiser policy choices. Some work in interfaith coalitions to shift local food systems. Some reflect and write on the meaning of food and faith. Some simply choose to grow and cook real food and share it.
Taken together, this work adds up to something big: a Christian food movement.
Yes, there is a Christian food movement. This guide is just the beginning of identifying some of the many disciples living their faith through action for a sustainable food system. But even this small effort is evidence of that large fact.
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One important note: though this guide has a Christian focus, it is not intended to disrespect the significant work being done by those of other faiths and no specific faith.
Christians too often have the reputation of being exclusive and judgmental. Though this guide is written by a Christian to connect Christian work, it is offered in a spirit of support and companionship for all who are working toward just and sustainable food systems.
If you are looking for interfaith resources, I commend the Baltimore Food & Faith Project to you. Their comprehensive website includes links to many resources from Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Sikh, and other faith traditions.
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I included in this guide every organization and individual that I could find who is working at the specific intersection of Christianity and food. I hope to continue to update this guide and offer it as a service to the Christian food movement. I am confident it is not yet a complete listing of the work being done. Please help! If you have additions or corrections, email them to rev.nurya at churchwork.com. Thank you and bless you.
May this guide help Christians recognize the gifts we have to offer to God and neighbor. May it help us discover projects and partners with whom we can work as faithful disciples. And especially, may God so bless and multiply these efforts that all creation – from humus to humans – may give God glory.
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More than 200 links and resources at the intersection of Christian faith and sustainable agriculture.