Thursday, October 16, 2008

World Food Day and the Global Food Crisis

Well - it's October 16. Whatever else is on your plate today, please take a little time to reflect on the fact that it is World Food Day. Your cupboards may be full and your clothes may be a little snug, but the reality is that access to food is a major issue for at least one in six global citizens - that is, the "bottom billion". And actually, rising food prices are affecting MANY more, both here in Canada and around the world.

The global food crisis is a pretty complex topic and I'm not going to take time in this blog to talk about the various factors that have directly or indirectly contributed to the situation we are now facing. My purpose today is simply to share with you some thoughts about what YOU can do to make a difference as you seek to live out your faith through living simply, justly and faithfully.

First of all, if you haven't already done so, check out the Live It Out challenge at It all starts with a decision to change your lifestyle! Then, get informed. There are LOTS of websites with really good information on the global food crisis. Here are a few you could start with:

If you're a reader, there are also many great books. Here's a sampling - some of them are about food specifically and some are about simplicity more generally:

The End of Food (Paul Roberts)

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (Barbara Kingsolver)

In Defense of Food (Michael Pollan)

The 100 Mile Diet (Alisa Smith & J.B. MacKinnon)

Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger (Ron Sider)

Simpler Living Compassionate Life (Michael Schut, ed)

30 Days to a Simpler Life (Connie Cox & Chris Evatt

Serve God, Save the Planet (J. Matthew Sleeth, MD)

Freedom of Simplicity (Richard Foster)

Now - it's not just about reading and thinking and understanding. All of that is well and good, but what really counts is what you do with what you know. So, here's a few suggestions that might prime the pump as you settle on some things you can begin to DO today!

Eat local – support local farmers, reduce travel costs (shop at Farmer’s Markets, etc.)

Know your food producers

Eat fair trade when possible

Use cloth bags

Avoid excess packaging (shop cooperatively…)

Eat food (not reasonable fascimiles!)

Reduce food waste and compost

Avoid use of stryofoam (byod - that is, bring your own dishes!)

My guess is that as you start doing some of these things, you'll have an impact not only on yourself but on those closest to you - your friends, families, co-workers. How can you make sure that influence is a good one? Keep these things in mind:

Set an example – change starts with you Encourage others to eat responsibly and live simply and justly Influence food decisions made at home, work, church…

Finally, how can you get more involved in working for food justice?

Support The Sharing Way ( and Canadian Foodgrains Bank (

Support food security policies and sustainable agriculture, locally and globally

Encourage politicians to live up to Canada’s international commitments (MDGs, international development, etc.)

Pray – for wisdom, for our leaders, for God’s kingdom, for the poor, for organizations like CBM/TSW, CFGB, etc.

So - why not observe World Food Day by getting started. Start wherever you want. These are just suggestions - start somewhere and see where it goes! We live in a world of plenty, but not everyone has enough...

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