Food for Thought
Thanks to Barb Diceman, member of Trinity United Church, Peterborough for sharing this article that appeared in Trinity’s Missive Newsletter in November:
Food for Thought
To support our food security mission and to create awareness re: hunger in our community, we need to first consider our history. Churches like Trinity have informally been involved in food – pot lucks, luncheons, Dinner Theatre as well as money for the needy through our Benevolent Fund.
Today, with poverty rampant in our community, we need to recognize the collective responsibility we have for ensuring everyone has the basic right to adequate food. All sectors of society have a role to play: government, voluntary and private sector. Churches are increasingly involved as various levels of government change their funding priorities.
How does food (in)security impact on our own programs and activities?
1) Community Dinners at St. Paul’s Church: last Saturday and Sunday, twelve Trinity members plus two students (volunteer hours) and two visitors prepared veggies and fruit (Peterborough Farmer’s Market) then fed seventy-seven hungry but grateful folks.
2) We can support YWCA’s Nourish project, a program focused on growing, cooking, eating and advocating for good food which builds community, economy and our daily lives. In addition, it’s about empowering the marginalized and vulnerable to take a more active role in shaping decisions regarding their needs and future. See www.nourishproject.ca/
The YWCA’s “Just Food” program of fresh, local produce and locally sourced staples is a tremendous program we can support. Other local food programs we can assist include: Community Gardens (Trinity has one), Come Cook With Us, Peterborough Gleaning (donated,) Babies First, Collective Kitchens, The Lighthouse (contributed food and socks,) Out of the Cold, YES (Youth Emergency Shelter,) Brock Mission and Kawartha Food Share.
3) We can celebrate the gift of food through our worship as we stand in solidarity with those who are vulnerable or marginalized. Besides Thanksgiving, Oct. 17th was the International Day for Eradication of Poverty and Oct. 18th, World Food Sunday (3rd Sun. of October.) (UCC videos, poverty articles in future Missives.)
4) We can support the Peterborough Farmer’s Market where Trinity can purchase a variety of foods in season for church dinners. Small scale farmers obtain a fair price direct from the consumer. The benefits of farmers’ markets include less long distance transportation, handling, refrigeration time and storage while farmers retain profits. All much friendlier for the environment and infrastructure while consumers access fresh, healthy food.
5) We can lobby businesses to create a demand for local and seasonal produce for school meal programs, hospitals and seniors’ homes, restaurants. Local food markets return fair prices to area producers.
6) We can lobby our federal minister of Agriculture, Laurence MacAulay re protecting rights of small farmers and our Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and MPP, Jeff Leal. We can ensure they keep Prime Minister Trudeau’s promise, “That all Canadian children deserve a real and fair chance to succeed.” That success relies on Basic Income to purchase food.
7) We can promote awareness, as quoted by the Trent Centre, “Food programs increase people’s overall wellbeing beyond just nutrients: when we eat together we share, grow and gain strength.”
8) We can help children and grandchildren learn to cook with us in the kitchen and by eating together as a family.
Though the role of churches is changing, Trinity can be an important partner in public education and advocacy for food security and societal change.