A farm-faith partnership is a partnership between a congregation or group of congregations and a farmer or group of farmers in which the congregation’s members provide a market for the farmers to sell their produce. The goal: to close the gap between underserved farmers and farmers of color and the markets to which they have access. Faith communities benefit too in gaining access to fresh, local, nutritious food and also in access to education about how to build healthy food systems in their area.
Justine Post, who teaches this course, directs the Come to the Table program for RAFI-USA, a farmer advocacy nonprofit organization in North Carolina. Her program’s mission is to empower faith communities to participate in the creation of a just food system through collaboration, capacity building, and advocacy. She uses her expertise in forming connections between faith-based groups and farmers, particularly farmers of color, to teach others how to build this kind of collaboration and why they should do so.
Justine’s examples are based in Come to the Table’s mission, but you can start a farm-faith partnership anywhere. These partnerships could look like a group of churches that strengthen their collective purchasing power by purchasing multiple CSA shares for their congregants from farmers of color. Or it could look like a church hosting a farmers market in their parking lot. Through these farm-to-church connections, churches are able to participate in a just and healthful local food system while also engaging in relational ministries with farmers in their communities.
Her video lectures include:
Why Food and Faith?
The Farm and Faith Partnerships Project
Farming and Systemic Racism
Resources for Leaders
This course is ideal for anyone interested in combating systemic racism, learning about building sustainable food systems, and doing justice through food ministries. For a preview, please click below.
Gleaning is the age-old agricultural practice of collecting excess food for the hungry. For centuries, the edges of crops were left in the field for the poor to harvest. Over the years, versions of that practice remained standard in many cultures as a way of providing food for hungry people.
Today in America, we waste literally tons of excess food every year, either because it doesn’t fit high retail standards and nobody considers it worth harvesting or due to other inefficiencies in the food system. We, like those who came before us, have a responsibility as people of faith to nurture God’s abundance and to ensure that people who need help in our areas have enough food — and we have food available. Good, fresh food full of nutrition. Food that rots and gets thrown away if it isn’t recovered and made available to hungry people.
Ugly tomatoes like this little guy are discarded in our food system, even though they taste just like their prettier brothers and sisters. (Sometimes better!)
The Society of St. Andrew (SoSA) works with volunteers throughout the U.S. to help reclaim food that becomes available for poor people through the food system and deliver it to food banks and food pantries. In this class Michael Binger, SoSA’s Regional Director of the Carolinas, explains how gleaning works in the twenty-first century food system. He discusses the biblical foundations of this call and explains how and why people can work with SoSA or organize independently in our communities to get excess produce to those who need it.
Congregations can use this course to start learning how and why to organize groups to glean fresh food from local farms for local food banks — an activity with which kids can be actively involved and which does not require steady participation; people can join when they are available. Individuals can use it to figure out how to start gleaning with their family or on their own, from their own gardens or in local farms and urban gardens.
This course is ideal for anyone interested in serving the hungry. For a preview, please click below.