Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Save the Date: Offering of Letters Workshops

Our regional organizer Matt Newell Ching came up with these wonderful post cards for our Offering of Letters workshops. The post card pictured on this post is for our Albuquerque workshop at
St. Andrew Presbyterian Church on Saturday, March 24, at 9:30 p.m.-noon

Matt also put together a post card for our workshop in Santa Fe on Sunday, March 25, at First Presbyterian Church, 2:30-5:00

We are fortunate that Matt will be joining us at both workshops to tell us about the Offering of Letters,
Seeds of Change: Help Farmers. End Hunger.

In addition, we've invited several wonderful speakers to give us a bit of background on the Farm Bill, which is the topic of our letter-writing campaign.

Joining us in Albuquerque will be Laurel Wyckoff of the
New Mexico Association of Food Banks and Sister Joan Brown, a board member of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference.

In Santa Fe, our guests will be Rozie Kennedy, the coordinator of the
New Mexico Task Force to End Hunger; and Mark Winne, the communications director of the Community Food Security Coalition.

Please join us at one or both of these events.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Green Ribbon Prayer

This year, many denominations, religious organizations and communities of faith are working together to urge Congress to ensure that the 2007 Farm Bill places a high priority on alleviating hunger, promoting economic justice and sustainability, and recognizing and supporting those who help put food on our tables, whether it's family farmers or farm workers.

One partner in this effort, the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, has advocated for these principles for a long time. The NCRLC's efforts, including the Green Ribbon Campaign and Eating is a Moral Act, were developed primarily for Roman Catholics (especially those of us who live in urban areas), but these campaigns can be applied universally.

If you would like to know more about the NCRLC's efforts, please join us at a Bread for the World workshop on Bread for the World's Offering of Letters,
Seeds of Change: Help Farmers. End Hunger on Saturday, March 24, at 9:30 A.M. at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque. Click here for more details One of our speakers is Sister Joan Brown, an NCRLC board member.

And here is a prayer from the NCRLC's Green Ribbon Campaign.

Green Ribbon Prayer
Let us pray to the God
who loves us and calls us.

Give us, O God, the competence to see
clearly and the courage to act forthrightly.
Bless the men and women whom you
have called to a vocation of farming.
Keep us ever mindful of their struggles.

Help us to respect the web of creation and recognize the many
dimensions of stewardship. Show us how to appreciate the diversity of
our regional landscapes, the distinctive integrity of rural life, and the
natural beauty of local cultures.

O God, guide us in this budding solidarity. Help us to go beyond
narrow self-interest. Lead us, give us light and dispel the darkness. We
pray that we will walk with You in humility, engage with others gently,
and seek justice for all. Amen.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Faith Groups Add Voice to Debate on 2007 Farm Bill

Every five years, the Congress debates a piece of legislation that more often than not goes unnoticed by most of the country. This all-encompassing legislation, known as the farm bill, deals with reauthorizing (renewing) our country's policies related to agriculture, nutrition, conservation and trade.

Yes, this legislation is about spending priorities. How do we support the people who put food on our table and the land that produces such food?

But this farm bill is also about moral values. Are we ensuring that everyone in our country and in other countries has access to nutritious and safe food in the long term? Are we promoting long-term access to food by supporting conservation, sustainable agriculture, fair trade policies?

As people of faith, we have the opportunity to participate in the debate through Bread for the World's Offering of Letters,
Seeds of Change: Help Farmers. End Hunger

"Perhaps the most powerful way we can serve people in need is with our voices," says Bread for the World's Biblical Basis for this year's Offering of Letters. "We are blessed to be living in a technologically advanced age, and in the most influential and wealthy country in the world. We are further blessed that our country is a participatory democracy where our voices—and our letters—can make a difference. With those blessings comes responsibility."

At the broader level, Bread for the World and eight other Christian denominations and organizations have come together to craft a joint statement on the 2007 Farm Bill. In the statement, the nine organizations/denominations
"join together to support policies that promote economic justice...that strengthen rural communities...that foster right relations among nations...that achieve an end to hunger."

With this broad effort, perhaps we can all work together to ensure that the farm bill truly works to end hunger and poverty in our country and overseas.

Religious Working Group on The Farm Bill

From God's initial command to be good stewards of creation to the Prophets' call for justice among governments and nations, people of faith in every age are called together to work for the common good. Inspired by Jesus' command to care for poor and hungry people, we join together to support polices that promote economic justice, strengthen rural communities at home and around the world, care for the land as God's creation, foster right relations among the nations and achieve an end to hunger.

Broad reform of U.S. food and farm policy, including adjustments to commodity payment programs, is important to progress against hunger and poverty in this country and around the world. The curent system should be changed in ways that would strengthen communities in rural America, ensure all Americans an adequate and nutritious diet, provide better and more targeted support for U.S. farm families of modest means, and conserve the land for present and future generations. In addition, such changes are necessary to unlock the ability of small-holder farmers in developing countries, who comprise the majority of the world's hungry people, to improve their livelihoods and escape poverty.

The working group will urge Congress to take the opportunity presented by the reauthorization of the Farm Bill to prioritize policies that reduce hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world. To this end we support the following principles in the 2007 farm bill.


The 2007 Farm Bill should

Increase investments that combat rural poverty and strengthen rural communities

Strengthen and expand programs that reduce hunger and improve nutrition in the United States

Strengthen and increase investment in policies that promote conservation and good stewardship of the land

Provide transitions for farmers to alternative forms of support that are most equitable and do not distort trade in ways that fuel hunger and poverty

Protect the health and safety of farmworkers

Expand research related to alternative and renewable forms of energy

Improve and expand international food aid in ways that encourage local food security

Bread for the World
Church World Service
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
National Council of Churches
The Episcopal Church
Presbyterian Church (USA), Washington Office
United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries
United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops