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 the Global Churches Week on Action on Food
We are called to work for a world where everyone has sufficient, healthy and culturally appropriate food! And where those who produce and prepare the food are fairly compensated, respected and celebrated!
The global Food Week of Action (October 9-17) is an opportunity for Christians and others around the world to act together for food justice and food sovereignty. It is a special time to raise awareness about farming approaches that help individuals and communities develop resiliency and combat poverty. Beyond examining our food choices, we must also recognize the lingering roots of racism embedded in our food system, which was founded on slavery and plantation agriculture, and still exploits the environment and the workers in the food chain. We call for societal and policy changes that bring us closer to realizing the right to food for everyone.
The Food Week of Action includes World Food Day (October 16), International Day for Rural Women (October 15), International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (October 17), and National Food Day (October 24).
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.
This World Food Day we are celebrating family farmers for growing our food and for caring for the earth. You can join in a toast to thank the farmers that work hard every day to ensure that our food is grown with care and is healthy for us to eat. Post a picture of yourself with your glass raised and include a personalized toast as your status or tweet on Facebook or Twitter with #ToastAFarmer, #WFD2014.
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."
One way to engage - Join the Wendy's Boycott! Farm workers are among the most abused and exploited workers in the United States. Now the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a Florida-based group of farm workers, is asking consumers to boycott fast-food giant Wendy’s until the firm joins a Florida effort to improve farm workers’ lives. Sign the petition telling Wendy’s you won’t shop there until the firm joins the Fair Food Program. Learn more about the boycott and why the UCC is involved.
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!
- Bread for the World conducts research and policy advocacy on food and aid, and promotes other anti-hunger programs.
- Public-Private Partnerships: Working to Reduce Global Hunger - A faith community discussion paper produced by the Maryknoll Office on Global Concerns
- Ecumenical Advocacy Days – At God’s Table: Food Justice for a Healthy World | April 5-8, 2013
- One Great Hour of Sharing connects you with a variety of hunger assistance and development opportunities.
- Fairness for farm workers connects you with the people who make food security possible – both locally and on large farms.
- Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance – Food for People Campaign sponsors the Churches’ Week of Action on Food. The week in October goes from Monday to Monday and incorporates the International Day for Rural Women (October 15), World Food Day (October 16) and the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (October 17).
- 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.