By Sister Sharon Havelak, OSF
I’ve been thinking about food a lot lately, but not necessarily out of hunger.
Our Sisters have been studying, discussing, reflecting on and praying over environmental issues for the past couple of years. Since its promulgation in 2000, I’ve been intrigued with the Earth Charter and how it brings together environmental and social issues with the need for peace. Over the past few months the momentum was building, with more and more ideas coming to my attention. Discussions with friends who are vegetarians or vegans, attending a talk on organic food, selling our products at the Sylvania Farmers’ Market (and picking up fresh vegetables weekly), reading articles on food and health, a student’s request for help with a project on food and religion; food suddenly seemed to be a hot topic.
Everything came together when I entered the Communications Office the other day and spotted a book on the table. The book cover caught my eye first, with its bright illustration of people and animals in a landscape setting. But it was the title that really captured my attention, Faith in Food: Changing the World One Meal at a Time
The book, by Susie Weldon and Sue Campbell, looks at a wide variety of food issues including the relationship between food and climate change, animal welfare, genetic engineering, sustainable agriculture, eating locally, to name a few. It also offers inspiring stories and recipes, in the context of the various faith traditions, as well as action plans for caring for the Earth. And – it’s just a short story, but it also features our Sisters Grace Ellen and Jeremias and their polyhouse!
Not meant to be exhaustive, the book is challenging. Its attractive design, the succinct summaries of issues, the stories of those making a difference offer an intriguing overview, but it also offers a clear call to look more closely at the food we eat in light of our faith. According to the authors, “one of the greatest opportunities to live our values – or betray them – lies in the food we put on our plates. Eating is a moral act. Our choices of what, when and how we eat have a huge impact upon the Earth, our fellow human beings and other living creatures.”
That night for supper we had a simple meal of lentils and rice, fruit and a pudding made of almond milk and chia seeds, ironically planned in advance of finding the book. It was tasty, filling and nutritious. Hopefully, we’ll continue to opt for better choices for our bodies and our planet. I’ve never realized I could eat my way to a better world!