Featured spotlight on a great resource from the Baltimore Food & Faith Project identifying hands-on activities to explore alternatives to our current food system for individuals, families, faith communities and congregations.
This article features recommendations from the Baltimore Food & Faith Project of Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (BFFP), see the website for an impressive collection of resources, study guides and worship materials for many faith traditions.
For those who want to explore alternatives to our current food system through hands-on activities, here are some ideas for next steps that you and/or your faith community may take in your journey toward more meaningful and joy-filled eating. The ideas are pretty basic and most do not cost much (or any) money or take a lot of time to do.
If you would like help to find educational resources, please feel free to contact Project Officer, Darriel Harris at [email protected] or (410)502-7578. Also check out the Baltimore Food & Faith Project website for many more resources and ideas posted.
For individuals and families:
- I will give thanks for my meals and remember the people who grew the food, the lives of the animals that we eat, and God’s creation from which our food comes.
- I will try eating whole,unprocessed foods as much as possible, such as whole grains or dry beans once or twice a week.
- I will cook at least one meal/week with seasonal fruits and vegetables.
- I will try to reduce the amount of meat and dairy that I eat. I will go at least one day a week without eating meat: www.meatlessmonday.com
- I will read something about the food system to learn more about different issues. See BFFP’s recommended reading list.
- I will eat mindfully by noticing and savoring the smells and sounds of cooking as I work.
- I will “vote” with my dollars by spending my food budget on foods that reflect my values.
- I will teach a child,or share with a friend, why I choose the foods I do.
- I will visit a farmers’ market to see what is in season where I live.
- When I go grocery shopping, I will select at least one or two organic and/or locally grown foods that more accurately reflect what it costs to grow food sustainably. If not currently offered, I will encourage my grocery to start stocking such items.
- When I buy coffee, chocolate, or tea, I will try to buy fair-trade products.
- I will join a community garden, start a backyard garden, or grow herbs on windowsill, and share what I’ve grown with others.
- I will support local, independent restaurants that offer sustainable and/or animal friendly choices.
- I will use reusable bags to save resources.
- I will join a buying club or food cooperative to purchase whole foods, food in bulk, minimally packaged food grown organically or sustainably, as well as eco-friendly cleaning products.
- I will try to buy as many animal products as possible directly from a farmer. If I can’t do this, I will purchase from stores that sell meat, eggs, and dairy from free range, grass fed animals. I will also look for meat that has been “Certified Humane”.
- I will choose fish and seafood based on what is locally available, abundant, and well managed: see this Sustainable Seafood Guide.
- I will auction off a sustainable, compassionate meal at my faith community’s fundraising effort, or volunteer to bring sustainable food to bake sales and meals.
For the faith community/congregation:
- I will encourage my faith community to consider its food budget and how the budget can best reflect our values, such as locally grown food and/or wine.
- I will encourage my faith community to use fair-trade items (coffee, tea, sugar, cocoa, etc.) during social hour and fellowship.
- I will encourage my faith community to donate congregational space and find other ways to support labor unions, farmers’ cooperatives, and other organizations that help the farmers and workers within our food system.
- I will encourage my congregation to teach our youth about good food and caring for creation. Consider using our Growing Faith with Food curriculum.
- I will arrange a film screening for my faith community about the food system. View our Good Food Film Library.
- I will write something about the food system for the bulletin or newsletter.
- I will teach a children’s religious education class that emphasizes how food gets to the table, and help them understand the basics of just, sustainable, compassionate food.
- I will join local advocacy groups or national networks to stay informed and politically engaged in sustainable food systems issues.
- I will urge my elected officials to support policies that support regional and sustainable food systems, making healthy food affordable and accessible to all, protect the rights of farm workers, and maintain transparency. Check out Food Policy in Action for more info.
- I will encourage my faith community to plant a vegetable garden on grounds.
- With my faith community, I will discuss the idea of composting food and grounds’ waste. See our “Composting for Congregations” handout.
- I will work with my faith community to explore the possibility of becoming a Community Supported Agriculture pick- up site.
- Collect healthy and seasonal recipes and distribute to congregation and community. Base a church potluck or other event around them.
- If my congregation hosts a food pantry or arranges food donations, I will help to make sure that we incorporate fresh, healthy foods in the meals.
- I will work with my faith community to participate in a gleaning event.
- I will encourage my faith community to form an ongoing task force to work on sustainable food issues.
- Work through our Good Food Toolkit to develop an individualized action plan.