What Congregations can do to help community Food Security:
Create a Healthy Local Food System—Healthy for Farmers, Healthy for Creation, Healthy for All of Us
Within Your Congregation:
- Form a study group to explore what your faith tradition has to say about food, justice, and what God intends for all of us and for Creation.
- Band together to help one another plant home gardens at the beginning of each growing season.
- Start a local produce exchange table in your fellowship hall for your congregation’s gardeners.
- Assess your congregation’s eating habits: Are sugary sweets featured often? Are options available for diabetics at shared meals? Are ingredients labeled for people with allergies? Small changes, such as adding healthy alternatives, may be better received than large ones.
- Participate in the Annual Fall Tucson CROP WALK. These WALKS raise awareness about hunger and money for hunger-related causes locally and around the world.
- Organize a Hunger Banquet to give people a taste of the unequal distribution of food around the world, and in our local community.
- Offer your congregation’s kitchen to be used for micro-enterprise food processing projects that add value to local foods.
- Form covenant groups to support changing food buying or eating habits (for example, agree to buy $15 worth of local food each week, etc.)
- Subsidize CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) shares or farmers’ market vouchers for families with limited resources.
- Find a copy of your congregation’s budget and review your congregation’s financial commitments. How is your congregation connected to hunger? What percentage of your budget reaches people struggle with hunger?
- Start a congregational garden and involve all ages.
- Invite a minority group of your congregation to host a meal of foods native to their culture. What can you learn about each other by eating each other’s food?
- In the Hebrew Bible, travelers who needed hospitality hung around the city gate and waited for someone to offer them bed and board. Is there a place where your congregation worships where people who might like to share a meal after worship can find each other?
- Start a weight loss group
- Advocate for change at a local grocery store—to carry more local produce and/or to donate food to the Community Food Bank.
- Agree to be a food pantry (storage and distribution) site for the Community Food Bank. We especially need sites that can be open occasionally during after work hours.
- Plan a more in-depth study on a food topic, focusing on circumstances in your own community.
- Create a congregational cookbook which features healthful, locally grown food in season.
- Donate land at your place of worship to help those without space to grow their own food.
- Buy fair trade beverages and food for the congregation and to distribute to members of the congregation.
- Teach others about preserving local food by organizing canning and preserving sessions at your place of worship or in homes of members.
- Create a “Work of Our Hands” Directory for the congregation that shows photos of members and what each one has to offer
- Sponsor Home Eco-Parties (see information from Northwest Earth Institute) where members can bring a filled-in checklist of their practices related to food, energy, water, etc.
As Part of the Larger Community:
- Work with others to start a food system council so all the stakeholders in our food system can work together to ensure access, especially economic access, to nutritious food for all.
- Support policies that work against the loss of prime farmland and control urban sprawl.
- Encourage our community institutions, school cafeterias, prisons, etc. to buy locally and support our regional food system.
- Advocate for continuing and improving food assistance and other safety net programs, such as Food Stamps, and for community economic development and living-wage jobs.
- Encourage food labeling to include where food is from and who produced it.
- Encourage and support efforts for the humane treatment of animals.
- Support anti-trust activity in food production.