Community Supported Agriculture

Creative mission fund idea
Circle of Mercy UCC
Asheville, NC

One of our members, who works part-time at a local organic farm, recently proposed a creative idea for a mission grant from our congregation. Participating in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is something a lot of congregations could undertake.

Recently our church approved purchasing a half-share of a local farm's produce, which means we'll get a basket of food every other week for 22 weeks. We then deliver the food to our local MANNA food bank, which is always eager to get fresh produce for distribution.

Mission funding ideas that accomplish more than one goal are always good. In this case, there are three.

First, it's another way we can support our local food bank. (Supplementing our "Fifth Sunday" food drives, where members bring donated food items, stacking them on our communion table before the service begins; then, as part of communion, we form a line out the door to one of our member's car, who then delivers the food the following day. Liturgy and life take on more concrete connections.)

Second, the CSA share gets fresh produce (healthier food) into the MANNA pipeline. Many people don't realize that one of the distortions of our economy is the fact that highly processed (less nutritional) foods are often cheaper than fresh produce.

Third, this mission action supports local, and organic, farming. The "buy local" movement is a growing trend the church should celebrate. Fewer pesticides makes for healthier land; less transportation reduces the use of fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions; the risk of food contamination is lower; and the relationship between fertile soil and festive tables begins to revive.

Farming has always been risky, all the more so in our "casino" economy, where betting on productivity levels in various sectors of the economy is often more profitable than actually producing things. The CSA arrangement allows consumers to share some of the economic risk with farmers, easing the pressure and thus encouraging more people to continue, maybe even enter, the farming business.

Find out about Community Supported Agriculture in your area.

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CONTACT INFO

Ms. Edith Rasell, Ph.D.
Minister for Economic Justice
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland, Ohio 44115
216-736-3709
raselle@ucc.org