An estimated 925 million people globally will go hungry today. Seven billion people share the planet and by 2050 the world’s population is expected to increase to 9 billion people. This increase will put enormous pressure on global food capacity. Added to that, more people in Western-style and growing economies are adopting a high calorie, meat-based diet, and the price of staples - like corn used for cattle feed - continue to rise as a proportion of daily living expenses for the poor.
Environmental degradation and crop damage due to climate change, the rise of biofuels, and agricultural distortions due to export farming add to the instability of local food cultures, creating conditions of increased food insecurity, hunger and malnutrition.
Why are hunger and food security issues of faith?
In Matthew 25:35 and 25:40, Jesus says, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me…..Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”
In this compelling scripture, Jesus includes even those we do not know as those with whom we must share our food, our water, and our welcome. He does not distinguish between the “deserving’ or undeserving” poor, nor does he make a distinction between those who live close to us and those who may live in other places. He calls all his followers to share what we have and to work towards a time when all people have enough food and water for their needs.
In 2009, the General Synod of the UCC passed a resolution on the Global Food Crisis, calling on the church “to advocate for strengthening sustainable agricultural and fishing practices.”
In 2011, the General Synod of the UCC passed a Resolution for Mindful and Healthy Eating, challenging our members and congregations to explore and discuss how food choices can accord with Christian values and beliefs.
Observe National and International Food Days
In October we have several opportunities to learn more about food, hunger, sustainability and agriculture. The Global Churches Week of Action on Food,October 12-19, is an opportunity for Christians and others around the world to act together on food justice issues. The week incorporates the Day for Rural Women (15th), World Food Day (16th), and the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (17th). Join churches around the world in lifting up our shared commitment to food justice. Join with advocates around the country to inspire Americans to improve out diets and fix our food system! More info:
Churches Week of Action on Food
October 12-19 is The Churches Week of Action on Food, spanning the two Sundays on either side of World Food Day. The Churches Week of Action on Food is an opportunity for Christians all over the world to act and speak out together on food justice issues. It is a time to raise awareness about food production and distribution systems, examine our own food consumption, and call for policy changes that will ensure the right to food for everyone. Our faith calls us to feed the hungry and care for Creation – this we can do as individuals, as churches, and as global citizens.
We are all tied to a global food system. In a world facing the challenges of a growing population, skewed resource distribution and an erratic climate, one of the best ways to combat global food insecurity is to invest in small producers – especially women farmers – and remove the barriers that limit their productivity and ability to market their produce.
Creating this awareness is what a World Food Day dinner is all about. Use the resources from our partners at OxFam to host a fun, educational and engaging conversation about food justice.
It's time to eat real! Join this nationwide campaign for delicious, healthy, and affordable food produced in a sustainable way. Thousands of events will be taking place around the country, designed to inspire Americans to eat healthy foods and repair our broken food system. Get more information about Food Day.
This message is especially relevant for UCC congregations in light of the General Synod 28 Resolution for Mindful and Faithful Eating. In it, General Synod notes that "Our dietary choices can have profound implications for the environment, human well-being, and animal welfare." It goes on to call on all Christians to "explore and discuss how food choices can accord with Christian values and beliefs."
The UCC Collegium of Officers invites and encourages all conferences, associations and congregations to participate and engage in dialogue and discussion using the Just Eating Curriculum.
This wonderful curriculum calls us to integrate the commitments and practices of our faith into the way we eat. We think it will be a great enhancement to your work around food justice and sustainability issues. Learn more.
Take the conversation further - Download the 'Just Eating?' curriculum!
The UCC Poverty Page is a site with resources and educational materials linking issues of poverty, economic justice, and hunger.
Visit the ecumenical Faithful Budget campaign site for information on our nation’s budgetary priorities to learn more about protecting funding for foreign aid and domestic food programs.
Church World Service provides resources, advocacy and partners with churches in development projects and emergency assistance. CWS Crop Walks are opportunities for local communities to raise awareness and money for hunger programs.