In these opening years of the twenty-first century, the need for sustainable food systems has increasingly become a focus of our national conversation. The connections between agriculture and climate change, as well as between our industrial food system and lack of affordable access to healthy food, are being made by more people every day.
As a Christian, sometime in the last decade I began to wonder:
- How can we re-imagine food systems in a way that more clearly reflects God’s reign?
- Where are the Christians working for a better food system, and how can I join them?
- Are there existing Christian food projects that I could replicate or adapt in my context?
I asked these questions for a few years without seriously trying to find answers. But while they remained unanswered, they only grew in importance.
I went into Google this afternoon, and in quote marks I typed ‘Catholic Food Movement,’ and there was one hit. I typed ‘Christian Food Movement,’ and there were two hits,” [Nigel] Savage said last week at the Jewish Theological Seminary, during the kickoff event for Hazon’s new Jewish Environmental Ethics Series. “I typed ‘Jewish Food Movement,’ and there were 81,300 hits.
Mr. Savage goes on to make the point that the Jewish community’s embrace of the good food movement is widespread and significant. But when I read these words, I started asking a more pointed question: Is there a Christian food movement? If so, where is it?
The Guide Begins
I started looking around on the Internet and talking to friends with similar interests. In November 2014, I published a week of links on faith and food and asked for feedback and additions. In March of 2015 I put those links plus more into a downloadable guide.
I was touched and grateful when some of the people I most admired in the Christian food movement thanked me and started publicizing the guide of their own initiative. Over three hundred downloads later it became clear that a new version was needed. And it was also clear that it had grown beyond what one person could do in their spare time.
I raised $3000 to build a website to house all the information along with updates from the organizations and people represented in the guide. That website is now live here. It welcomes guest writers, publishes press releases, and publicizes events nationally as well as housing a directory of organizations and resources at the intersection of Christianity, sustainable agriculture and food ministry.
It turns out that not only is there a Christian food movement, it’s so big that keeping up with it and helping it grow has kind of taken over my life. It’s not what I expected when I sat down in my basement in the fall of 2014 and wondered, “Is there going to be anybody else out there that cares about this guide?”
It’s much better than that. It’s good work, and I am grateful to have discovered it.