Faith and Food Event Report
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Posted on: 6th June 2024

The Northern Dioceses Environment Group (NDEG) met in person on Saturday 18th May at St. Wilfred’s Parish Centre, Preston. “Faith in Food – From the table of the Lord to the table of the world” was an opportunity for us to gather together, share and develop our understanding of the importance of food and its local, global and faith significance in today’s world.

The meeting welcomed three key speakers, Francis Stewart (CAFOD Theology Team), Anna Clayton (Food Futures – North Lancashire’s Sustainable Food Network) and a lived experience perspective on using foodbanks from the Poverty Truth Commission. A Question and Response plenary was followed by a news and events sharing session. The day was rounded off by a community sing-along.

Francis Stewart shared insights on agriculture and the global food system from a policy and theology perspective working with CAFOD, the Catholic Agency For Overseas Development – the official aid agency for the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales. Francis argued that the debate about agriculture should not just be about how we ensure food security and avoid malnutrition in a changing climate but it should also be about how we reform the whole food system in the interests of both justice and sustainability.

Anna Clayton of Food Futures – North Lancashire’s Sustainable Food Network, shared how the scheme had started life as Sustainable Food City Lancaster as part of the Transition towns movement in 2014. It was originally completely voluntary and met monthly but in 2018 a grant was secured to employ a partnership coordinator and the scheme was rebranded as Food Futures: North Lancashire’s Sustainable Food Network following a co-design process.

The inputs concluded with a very personal, eloquent and moving input from Alison Presenters: Alison Fisher from the Poverty Truth Commission, Francis Stewart from CAFOD’s Theology Team, Anna Clayton of Food Futures – North Lancashire’s Sustainable Food Network and Mark Wiggin who is currently the chair of the Northern Dioceses Environment Group. Fisher who shared the experience of the combined destructive nature of poverty and abuse that leads people to rely on the charity of foodbanks. Stressing the need to always place the dignity of the individual above social benefit systems she focused the need to recognise the complex nature of poverty and an understanding that many people relying on services such as foodbanks were often coping with a multitude of other social and emotional issues that made it hard to break out of the dependency on such charitable services.

In summary, all three presenters drew from their experience and made the link between the global food systems and how they work with the local realities they encounter. Many of the actions and ideas that came out of the meeting can be replicated in the different settings our members come from. Justice, resilience, sustainability, treading lightly on the earth, and respect for the dignity of all living things were all concepts that resonated strongly with the participants.

Faith and Food Event Report photo

Faith and Food Event Report photo

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authorNetwork Leeds

tagNews category: Social action, General

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