Food & Faith: A Values-Based Approach for Community Food Security


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Food & Faith: A Values-Based Approach for Community Food Security

Angela Smith, Baltimore Food & Faith Project
Pastor Heber Brown III, Pleasant Hope Baptist Church
Jenny Holmes, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon
Cassi Johnson, Community Food Advocates

Five faith-based organizations and faith communities representing different traditions will share their work to support local farmers, develop community gardens, and increase healthy food accessibility. Attendees will be asked to share best practices from their own faith-based efforts and participate in structured small group discussions, each led by a panelist.

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  • My name is Jenny Holmes and I serve as the Environmental Ministries Director at Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon
  • IFFP is a multi-faceted program! Here s our mission statement
  • Food is a way to bring people together. Many of our family and religious celebrations involve breaking bread together. Communities of faith are generally concerned about social justice issues and around the issue of food this can include ensuring everyone has access to healthy food and that farm workers receive fair wages for their work and have good working conditions.
  • This is the menu of options for that communities to engage in building and bringing more justice and health to the local food system. IFFP has been documenting what we have been doing and creating handbooks, factsheets and workshops to help congregations in others areas of our state, and nationally, benefit from what we have learned so they can use and adapt these ideas to their unique situations.
  • These are the types of partnerships IFFP has worked on developing between congregations and farmers. We work mostly with immigrant and new farmers to create these partnerships.
  • One type of model that has been used successfully in Portland is the Farm Stand. This is where a farmer sells good such as flowers or produce in a faith community setting. The farm stand generally takes place before or after the service. It can be very rewarding to practice hospitality by opening up the farm stand to the surrounding community as well. We have one church in Portland that has their farmer table outside so people walking by are able to see it and stop by to shop.
  • Community Supported Agriculture is a set up that has been gaining more and more popularity. The way a CSA works is the customer pays for a share at the beginning of the season and a box of produce is delivered each week to a set location, such as a faith community. The members of the csa pick up their produce for the week. By paying upfront the customer shares in the risk of farming and the farmer is given a guaranteed income for the work they are doing.
  • A buying club, at its least formal, may be a group of neighbors or friends buying half a pig or cow to divide among their freezers, or several flats of fruit for jam. What I’ll be talking about today is a regular delivery of produce from a local farmer to a central location. Members place orders and pay in advance and pick up what they ordered the same day it is delivered. We now have buying clubs in both Portland and Corvallis. People like being able to order as much or as little as they want.
    Our buying club in Portland is at Holy Redeemer (Rosa Parks and Vancouver) and is supported by a number of congregations in NE Portland. It is great to see a diverse group of people come together to purchase healthy, local food.
  • Introducing the farmer to the congregation
    Signs in different languages
    Farm tours
    In order to make the program successful you will want to continue to let your congregation know what is happening, perhaps you will need to educate about specific vegetables that the farmer is bring but folks don’t know what to do with them.
    For the farmer table tracking the number of customers and the farmer’s sales is important to evaluating the success at the end of the season.
    Special events are important to maintain interest. You might think about having a cooking class, a potluck or visiting the farm.
  • You all know these things, but here’s a short list of benefits we see in operating these projects.
  • Often congregational kitchens are underused.
    Often one of the barriers that people face when trying to eat healthy is not having the skills needed to prepare healthy meals we try to not only offer access to fresh produce but also give people the skills they need to make meals.
  • In Corvallis we have been able to offer a number of canning classes at minimal cost. Teaching people how to preserve produce.
  • New resource coming out-Creating Opportunity Through Micro-Enterprise, Faith Kitchens as Micro Enterprise Incubators- In Corvallis FUMC has set up a micro-enterprise program where low-income individuals who are starting up small food related businesses are able to use the church kitchen at a minimal cost to do food preparation.
  • Holy Redeemer, Kenilworth Presbyterian, St. Andrews Lutheran
    Started a community garden in Corvallis and continue to work with population that serve the Latino population
  • Sometimes congregations are the best place to reach a specific demographic in an area because the congregation is a hub for not only workship but for social and cultural life and many other things.
  • Don’t forget to celebrate and appreciate the relationships.
  • Food & Faith: A Values-Based Approach for Community Food Security

    1. 1. Food & Faith: A Values-Based Approach for Community Food Security Pleasant Hope Baptist Church A pretty exciting greenhouse for God
    2. 2. Agenda 4:15 Welcome and Introductions 4:20 Presentations by Panelists 5:05 Q & A 5:20 Small Group Discussions 5:35 Return to Large Group and Last Thoughts
    3. 3. Pleasant Hope Baptist Church Community Garden Baltimore, MD October 17, 2010
    4. 4. Story of Pleasant Hope • Founded in 1933 after two historic African American congregations merged in North Baltimore City • Today the congregation of Pleasant Hope is made up of roughly 200 individuals • Economic range from below the poverty line to the working poor with some financially stable "middle class" families • The largest age group of the congregation is 60 years and older. The fastest growing group is the 19 to 25 year olds. • Being a majority elderly congregation means, in part, a greater number of health challenges
    5. 5. What Can We Do? • Promote culturally appropriate, incremental lifestyle changes • Church theme for 2010 is "Sustainability" • This year, we've considered what it means to be holistically healthy - mind, body, and spirit • Leadership had to lead the way if it was to take root in the congregation
    6. 6. Healthy Food Right Across The Street
    7. 7. Since we can't afford your healthy food, we'll grow our own
    8. 8.  
    9. 9.  
    10. 10.  
    11. 11.  
    12. 12.  
    13. 13.  
    14. 14. Interfaith Network Environmental Stewardship Hunger and Community Food Security Health and Nutrition Animal Welfare Social and Economic Justice How do we work to address these issues?How do we work to address these issues?
    15. 15. Community Food Security is…Community Food Security is… … … a condition in which all community a condition in which all community  residents obtain a safe, culturally residents obtain a safe, culturally  acceptable, nutritionally adequate diet acceptable, nutritionally adequate diet  through a sustainable food system that through a sustainable food system that  maximizes community self-reliance and maximizes community self-reliance and  social justice" (Hamm, 2001)social justice" (Hamm, 2001) 
    16. 16. In Baltimore…In Baltimore… CLF Community Food Assessment in SW Baltimore • 76% - NO fruit for sale • 69% - NO vegetables for  sale  • 35% - “sometimes” were  unable to buy healthy food  due to lack of resources • 17% - “often” were unable to  buy healthy food due to  lack of resources .
    17. 17. Episcopal Church of the Messiah Brown Memorial- Park Avenue St. Pius X Roman Catholic Church Congregation SupportedCongregation Supported Agriculture (CSA)Agriculture (CSA)
    18. 18. Cardinal Shehan School St. Ambrose Catholic School Towson Presbyterian Church Baltimore Hebrew Congregation GardensGardens St. Matthew’s United Methodist Church
    19. 19. Food with DignityFood with Dignity InitiativeInitiative
    20. 20. Knox Presbyterian Farm StandKnox Presbyterian Farm Stand
    21. 21. Knox Organic Farm StandKnox Organic Farm Stand Photos courtesy of Aron Fay
    22. 22. Contact UsContact Us Project Director: Angela Smith, Website: Phone: (410) 502-5069
    23. 23. Re/Storing Nashville Making the healthy choice the easy choice
    24. 24. Community Food Advocates • Community Food Advocates mission is to end hunger and create a healthy, just, and sustainable food system. • We are a movement of farmers, parents, students, persons of faith, community gardeners, and health advocates united by a commitment to the idea that all members of our community should have access to food grown in a way that promotes the health of people, planet, and community.
    25. 25. Re/Storing Nashville • Restoring Nashville is a faith-based movement for food justice in Nashville, advocating for increased access to affordable healthy food for all of Nashville.
    26. 26. What is a food desert? • A food desert is a neighborhood that has little or no access to nutritious foods needed to maintain a healthy diet. • While lacking full-service grocery stores, food deserts have a surplus of convenience stores and fast food restaurants. • More than 23 million Americans, including 6.5 million children, live in urban and rural neighborhoods that are more than a mile from a supermarket.
    27. 27. Edgehill
    28. 28. North Nashville • 3.5 square mile area
    29. 29. East Nashville
    30. 30. Transportation Access• High prices, long trips, infrequent service and carrying purchases home from the store are all barriers for food desert residents. • Taxis often charge between $10 - $40 per trip.
    31. 31. What do we want? • Change the conversation •Policy change: Tax and Zoning Incentives • Direct Public Transportation Access
    32. 32. Advocacy Leadership Team Food-transit assessment Partnership with Food Trust Food Desert Relief Act Breaking Bread Leadership Institute
    33. 33. Outreach • Interfaith worship toolkit • Partnerships with congregations and faith organizations • Grocery Stories
    34. 34. Why work with the faith community? • Leveraging existing partnerships with the faith community • Recognizing critical role of faith community in social movements • Building on health ministries • Shifting food work from charity to justice
    35. 35. Challenges • Saturation of issues • Balancing short-term versus long-term outcomes • Multi-faith versus inter-faith
    36. 36. THANK YOU! • Cassi Johnson, Executive Director • Community Food Advocates • • 615-385-2286
    37. 37. Interfaith Food and Farms Partnership
    38. 38. Mission Statement To empower faith communities, farmers and neighborhoods to build rural-urban alliances and create innovative partnerships for just and sustainable food systems that promote community health.
    39. 39. Food & Faith-The Connections • Food is a profoundly spiritual and ethical concern. • Communities of faith can play a vital role in creating a just and sustainable food system.
    40. 40. Interfaith Food and Farms Partnership Projects • Farm to Congregation Partnerships • Community Kitchens • Cooking and Food Preservation Classes • Micro-enterprise • Community Gardens • Congregational Wellness Project • That’s My Farmer! FM Coupon Project
    41. 41. Farm to Congregation Partnerships • Farm Stands • Community Supported Agriculture • Buying Club
    42. 42. Farm Stands • Farmer sells goods in a faith community setting. • Generally before or after the service.
    43. 43. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) • Participants pay an upfront cost for a weekly delivery of produce. • Faith communities can serve as a weekly drop off site for produce.
    44. 44. Buying Club • Combining collective purchasing power to get wholesale prices for local produce.
    45. 45. Building Relationships
    46. 46. Benefits of Farm to Congregation Partnerships • New access points for fresh, local food. • Greater understanding of the challenges that farmers face. • Opportunity to deepen understanding of relationship to the earth and of justice issues. • Opportunity to try new foods. • Community building. • Opportunity to learn about another culture. • New marketing opportunity for farmers.
    47. 47. Cooking Classes • We partner with community organizations and congregations to offer cooking classes for low-income families and individuals.
    48. 48. Canning Classes
    49. 49. Micro-enterprise
    50. 50. Congregational Wellness Project • Congregational Health Index—to assess where changes can be made in congregation environment and practices to support health. • Help congregations create lasting changes to improve health and reduce childhood obesity. • Moving from congregation to the community to advocate for policy change together. • Resources at
    51. 51. Community Gardens • Underutilized land put to use by the community • Community-building space,’ espec for recent immigrants • Food education centers
    52. 52. That’s My Farmer FM Coupon Program • Started in 2005 in one Corvallis congregation • IFFP expanded to multiple congregations in 2006 with USDA grant. • Purpose: Support local farmers and build relationships with them, improve food access, increase awareness/support for farmers’ market • Spun off in 2008. Provide AmeriCorps member. • Congregation and community members buy the $20 booklets with 10% going to fund to purchase booklets for people with low-incomes.
    53. 53. Challenges • Congregations of different faiths operate very differently. Be a cultural anthropologist. • Congregations can take a long time to make decisions, need to be very patient. • May already have a lot of their plates. • Getting the whole congregation behind it. • Volunteers can get burned out if you don’t constantly recruit new folks to share in the work. • Many don’t understand the difference between charitable food ministry and community food sec.
    54. 54. Just a Few Learnings • It’s important to bring resources to the table (staff, funds, etc)-make it a mutually beneficial relationship. • Find an internal champion for the project, this can really help with cautious trustees. • A Request for Proposal (RFP) for a project can help congregations be more intentional and committed and can lead to greater cooperation among congregations.
    55. 55. Reaching out to Congregations • Identify congregations in the neighborhood or serving the demographic that you want to serve. • Approach your local interfaith or ecumenical organizations, or ministerial assoc. Is there a community ministry organization already doing related work on food? • Research who is the best person, or committee in the congregation to approach first. Be aware that congregations are very different in how leadership works and decisions are made. • Be respectful at all times.
    56. 56. Reaching out to congregations • Find the right entry point for the congregation. What are their goals for outreach, improving health, hunger, social justice, and education? • Identify and build on assets-land, kitchens, food and cultural knowledge, people with skills and community leadership and influence. • What does the congregation’s denomination or teachings say about food and justice? • What are the food traditions of congregation? • Celebrate together through food to build relationships. Many congregations know how to do this well!
    57. 57. Contact us Website: Phone: 503-221-1054 Jenny Holmes, Alison Warren, Laura Raymond, Corvallis, 541-757-1988 ext. 307 Victoria, O’Nion, Rebecka Weinstieger,