Food and Faith
Food is perhaps our most fundamental connection to the earth. How we gather, produce, and share food is perhaps our most fundamental connection to one another. The creation stories of Genesis speak of the abundance of the earth and the perils of ignoring its limits. Jesus used meals as an opportunity to teach by example and living metaphor lessons about God's justice for the poor and God's invitation to all to the table in God's Realm.
Food is a direct connection between how well we care for the earth and how well we care for ourselves. Food distribution in the modern world is a direct connection between our basic individual needs and the global systems that connect us all.
Questions for Reflection:
• What is the connection between food and faith?
• How intentionally and gratefully do we approach the food we purchase and consume?
• Is the availability, quantity, and quality of food something we take time to think about?
• What is a mindful approach to truly enjoying food and the sustenance it provides?
• How do we move beyond calorie counting and dieting trends to identify exciting, pleasurable and beneficial ways to eat?
• Instead of focusing on quantity of food portions, why aren’t we asking questions about the quality of the food we consume?
• Do we know who grew our food, who harvested it, who processed it?
• What is the connection between the way food is grown and delivered to us and the environmental impacts our choices can make?
• What economic impact does the way food is grown and shipped have on our local communities?
• What is the link between ingredients in our food and our overall health?
• How can each person make three eating choices every day that will make a difference to the environment and economic well-being of our community?
MCC Food & Faith Initiatives
Here are some of the ways to connect the common ground of our faith principles with the common good of food production and distribution. For more information contact MCC Environmental Justice Consutant Anne D. ("Andy") Burt at 772-1918 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be a Good Apple! Local Foods Covenant Project
Several years ago the Environmental Justice Program launched a congregation-based pledge project, inviting households within congregations to pledge to purchase at least $10 of Maine food per week. Over 50 congregations participated statewide. We continue to develop resources and materials that will assist members of the faith community and others to access and use local food products year-round.
The average plate of food in Maine has traveled more than 1800 miles. Most foods today are produced on large, highly mechanized farms, using toxic petroleum-based herbicides and pesticides and employing underpaid and poor workers for some of the harvesting and processing. Fossil fuel consumption in the production, packaging, and transportation of food contributes significantly to global warming. Here in Maine, buying local foods and supporting our neighbor farmers are significant contributions we can make to curb global warming and air pollution.
Uniting Faith, Farming, and Fishing Communities
MCC has worked with the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) and Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance (NAMA) to link local congregations to neighboring food producers. The first congregation-based CSF became active during the 2007-2008 shrimp season and other congregations are exploring creating new ones. For MOFGA’s most up-to-date CSA directory go to www.mofga.org.
Fishes and Loaves
Congregations interested in exploring more deeply the connection between the health of the ocean and the health of Maine's local economy and people might consider offering our "Fishes and Loaves" program. This 4-part series of videos, personal and biblical reflection, emerging science, and local Maine stories invites congregations to consider how our lifestyle on land impacts the sea, the creatures who live in it, and our neighbors who make their living from it.
Contact the MCC office at 207.772.1918 for more details and to arrange to use this program in your church.
Communion with Local Elements
We invite Maine congregations to participate in a Communion Sunday initiative that brings us together in spirit and provides a connection between our body and soul, our food and faith. We invite you to use locally produced wine, juice, grapes, or cider; and local bread or flour for the elements of your Communion celebration. We invite congregations of faith traditions that do not celebrate communion to join their liturgical sisters and brothers by offering locally produced products during their fellowship time. Maine Department of Agriculture has information about where local breads, flours, wines and juices can be obtained .