"And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food." (Genesis 2:9)
Christianity is less rigourous than Judaism when it comes to food, but our religion would benefit from a few modifications in the way we see food. First, let us defend social justice through fair trade products. Second, may we become guardians of Creation when we buy organic and local produce.
Eat fresh, encourage the local economy and reduce your impact on the climate.
- At large gatherings, like a spaghetti dinner, serve as much local produce as possible. This is an opportunity to bring sponsors on board. For example: "Local produce: carrots from Mr. Green's Farm".
- Some faith communities invented an original way to eat locally: a 100 mile Church Dinner. The challenge is to make a meal by using only ingredients produced within a 100-mile radius. Careful: no coffee!
- For Holy Communion or the Lord's Supper, think of buying wine from your area rather than imported wine. For example, the vineyard Le domaine des Côtes d’Ardoise in Dunham, QC, is the frist in Canada to produce authenticated "sacramental wine".
Organic farming uses neither chemical fertilizers nor pesticides. Since their growth was not artificially accelerated, the plant roots are able to absorb more nutrients from the soil, and this richer nutrition is passed on to us.
- At large gatherings, like a spaghetti dinner, choose as much organic produce as possible. This is an opportunity to find sponsors. Organic farms may welcome the chance to become sponsors and to make their produce known to a wider clientele.
- A precious network called Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in your area is always in need of new drop-off points. Your church could become one of these drop-off points and we are certain that members of your community will be interested in placing seasonal orders for this fresh organic produce which they can pick up at the church.
- For Holy Communion or the Lord's Supper, think of buying (or making) bread, made from organic wheat flour. May we imitate Christ by choosing a type of bread that does not leave such a heavy footprint on Creation.
- A portion of the church property could be reserved for community gardening. A small team could rent out the plots and coordinate other services (like sharing an accessible hose). Imagine the Thanksgiving Service at this kind of church!
- Again, a portion of the church property could be reserved for collective gardening. This garden is not divided into individual plots. It is planted and tended collectively and the harvest is shared, cometimes through a Soup Kitchen. Low income families can really benefit from this type of garden. Hurray for ecojustice!
Fair Trade Products
Coffee, chocolate, rice, sugar and spices come to us from the South, but often their producers live in miserable conditions because the prices they receive are dramatically low. As a community in Christ, we recall the words of Jesus: "For the worker deserves his wages." (Luke 10, 7)
- Display "The worker deserves his wages" poster from the Green Churches Network near the coffee machine to show members of your community that Christians prefer the coffee with the taste of restored justice. It can be downloaded from the Posters.
- During committee meetings, always serve fair trade coffee and tea in reusable cups.
- For larger gatherings, serve fair trade coffee and tea in reusable cups. The use of fair trade ingredients during the meal is another way of showing a charitable spirit.
- Some churches like selling fair trade products at the end of the Sunday service, once a month. This is a nice way of helping family farms in the South, and making a bit of profit for the church at the same time.
- Have your church be part of the Fair Trade Fortnight during the first two weeks of May. Partner with a local boutique or grocery store to promote these products. Invite a speaker to explain about Fair Trade certification.
- Near the feast of Saint Valentine (February 14), promote and even sell fair trade chocolate at the end of a Sunday service. By doing this, your love will spread out in many directions, and will even reach the cocoa farmers. A fair salary, what better gift?
- Fish and seafood that have MSC Certification are harvested through sustainable fishing practices, a great way to counteract overfishng in our oceans.