It’s clear that our current food system is not sustainable.
“Around the world, in the wake of recent sudden price spikes in international markets, governments are looking to their own food systems for a more predictable supply,” says Stuart Clark, Senior Policy Advisor of the Winnipeg-based Canadian Foodgrains Bank, of which The United Church of Canada is a member.
“In Canada, the issue is that farmers need better access to local consumers so that Canadians can better value the work of those who produce our food.”
United Church members are trying to help that happen.
Last year, the church’s 40th General Council passed a resolution on agricultural land and local food security that called on congregations to foster connections between their local food producers and consumers, and to understand the process of food production “from seed to plate.”
“The challenge for all of us is to create a market for farmers in our area, rather than spending money to have carrots shipped from California when they are grown just outside of town,” says Debra Morris, a member of Southminster-Steinhauer United Church in Edmonton who was instrumental in bringing the resolution to General Council. “By not using gas for trucks to bring produce in, we can also help save the environment, and the food is fresher.”
Morris, a member of Edmonton Presbytery’s Local and Global Justice Committee, says the need to examine how we use our farmland and support local farmers is a national issue, and the United Church – a national church – can help to bring it to people’s attention. It can help to bridge some of the gap between urban and rural communities so they can build trust and understanding, since it is important to look at how our farmland is being used and where our food comes from.