Arizona Interfaith Power and Light is addressing the issue of food justice with renewed vigor for the 2016-2017 year. Food justice names a movement concerned not only with safety and quality of food, but with fair labor practices in its production and equitable distribution of agricultural products. Our emphasis on food justice strongly asserts our recognition of the connections between ecological degradation and social injustice.
Food activist Raj Patel notes that “Today when we produce more food than ever before more than one in ten people on Earth are hungry. The hunger of 800 million happens at the same time as another historical first: they are outnumbered by the one billion people on this planet who are overweight” (1). Ten percent of the citizens of the US are suffering from hunger, and many impoverished people live in what are known as “food deserts” where little produce or other nutrient-rich foods can be found.
Yet 40% of the food produced in the United States ends up in landfills, where it contributes to the production of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. But it’s not only food waste that makes the planet hotter; food production emits a sizable proportion of greenhouse gases emitted. In fact, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 20% of greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to the livestock industry alone.
Throughout the year we will share spiritual reflections on food, hunger, agriculture, and loving your neighbor by feeding your neighbor. We will share information about the connections between food and climate change, and inform our membership of meaningful steps you can take to help. We will connect you with local resources that can help your congregation as a whole—as well as individual members—reduce the carbon footprint of their dinner plates. And, as always, we will keep you up to date on legislative issues bearing upon these important connections.
Stay tuned—it’s going to be a delicious year!