Thank you for joining the Partners in Health and Wholeness Book Club. You can officially sign-up here. Through it, we hope to engage people of faith in discussions over why our health matters. Our current choice of reading is “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life” by Barbara Kingsolver. We are posting updates through the PHW Facebook page, but our PHW blog page has the discussion posts in full with responses from staff. Just look for the apple on top of the book picture among the blog post pictures and you will find past Book Club entries.
We are a nation that relies upon “economy” sized portions, Costco’s and Sam’s Clubs. We super size what we eat and feed our children mal-nutritious meals while they are in school trying to soak in knowledge. Many eligible citizens for food stamps (now SNAP) can buy much of their produce from farmers markets, yet many do not know it. Even so, there is a huge misconception that only folks in upper echelon communities can afford these things. Where is the communication breakdown?
We see the people paying the highest price for cancers, diabetes, heart disease are the people that are buying fast food. This food is grown and produced cheaply and relies on marketing and of course, the massive amounts of sugar, salt and fat added in to the foods to keep us coming back for more.
Kingsolver points out that even big box companies are jumping on the marketing train with terms like “free range” and organic. There are lots of loopholes that we as consumers are not necessarily made privy to. Farmers markets are one way to maintain the integrity of labels such as “locally grown.” Consumers are always invited to bring their families and learn about where their food comes from, to meet their neighborhood farmers and to shake hands with them. Hopefully they will come back the next week to support producers who are also friends and neighbors. It is a movement that is “growing trust” between consumers and producers, something desperately needed in the food industry.
1) As Christians, is it our responsibility to take part in this “locavore” movement? Why is it? Or why is it not important?
2) What significance does the verse James 2:14-17 have in this chapter? “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”
Bonus Question: Thanksgiving is a celebration of harvest and a time to eat foods that are both in season and native to our land. Who produced the food that will grace your Thanksgiving table?
–Amelia Brady, PHW Regional Assistant
Partners in Health and Wholeness is an initiative of the North Carolina Council of Churches. PHW aims to connect health as a faith issue. Please visit our website to sign your personal pledge to be healthier, and to find out about grant opportunities for places of worship in NC.