Anglicans Reflect on the Value of Food

By Ball, David | Anglican Journal, October 2005 | Go to article overview

Anglicans Reflect on the Value of Food


Ball, David, Anglican Journal


Winnipeg

A HANDFUL of earth and a sprinkle of water from farms, food banks and fisheries across southern Manitoba aren't dements of your usual communion service.

But on August 21, participants of a Food Justice Camp shared their stories in a service at St. Matthew's Anglican Church in Winnipeg where earth and water brought from five immersion sites reminded them of the struggles, fears and hopes of food providers--and above all, their love of the land.

From August 15 to 21, participants focused on the food system. Many spoke of being disconnected from their own food--not knowing the farmers, not understanding their issues, and choosing convenience over quality. The dirt in their hands reminded them of both the suffering and resurrection central to the Christian faith.

But seeds of change are being planted and tended in the church.

"Food is very central in our story as Christians," said the Rev. Cathy Campbell, priest at St. Matthew's and one of the Food Justice Camp organizers. "It is an expression of who we are. We are 'Day Six' creatures in God's creation. We are reliant on the integrity of the environment, and yet we're overreaching our use of the resources."

Ms. Campbell, whose book Stations at the Banquet planted the first seeds for the week-long camp, added that the conference hoped ultimately to inspire action in the churches.

Rev. Diane Guilford, at St. Stephen's Anglican Church in East Kildonan, Man., hopes her parish can spearhead a local food charter, outlining common values around food justice and improving support of farmers and those in need.

The need is indeed great. Almost 15 per cent of Canadians worry thev will not have enough to eat--what Statistics Canada calls "food insecurity."

Meanwhile, large-scale, single-crop agriculture is the norm, and 60 corporations control roughly 80 per cent of the global food economy, according to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, an interchurch agency; farmers' debt load is increasing as machinery and inputs cost more, forcing 80 per cent of Canadian farmers to find income elsewhere. …

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