Farmworkers — God’s Family Supplying Our Food

Farmworkers in NC

We have all heard about farmworkers who supply us with cheap food but cannot afford food for their own families. This is a contradiction to God’s world of abundance with enough for everyone and contradictory to Biblical teachings to pay just wages. In addition to low wages, we often hear that farmworkers are in one of the most dangerous industries in our country. The EPA estimates that 300,000 farmworkers suffer from pesticide poisoning each year. When we realize that many of our farmworkers are children, this is especially tragic. Recently, I was privileged…

Welcome Jennie Wilburn

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I am delighted to announce that our Governing Board has elected Jennie Wilburn to the position of Program Associate for Immigrant and Farmworker Rights. Jennie is a 2009 cum laude graduate of Rice University with a major in Hispanic studies and sociology. At Rice, she was a recipient of the Barbara Jordan Scholarship, awarded for work that builds bridges between cultural, racial, and ethnic groups. She will be graduating in May with a Master of Divinity from Duke and a Master of Social Work from UNC-Chapel Hill. During this dual-degree…

Gardening With a Purpose

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Recently, I received a notice from a local community garden organizer about a grant opportunity sponsored by a fertilizer company. I shared it with my e-mail group and found one response, in particular, intriguing. Within this email, a local community leader expressed the importance of gardens, eating healthy, and making healthy local food accessible to the community, while being environmentally responsible. She continued to express the importance of our actions lining up with our values. She concluded that corporate sponsorship of funding for community gardens brought up questions of justice…

PHW Book Club Discussion: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Chapter Eleven

Green Apple on Books

Thank you for joining the Partners in Health and Wholeness Book Club. You can officially sign-up here. Through it, we hope to engage people of faith in discussions over why our health matters. Our current choice of reading is “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life” by Barbara Kingsolver. We are posting updates through the PHW Facebook page, but our PHW blog page has the discussion posts in full with responses from staff. Just look for the apple on top of the book picture among the blog post pictures and you will find…

PHW Book Club Discussion: Animal,Vegetable, Miracle, Chapter Nine

Green Apple on Books

Thank you for joining the Partners in Health and Wholeness Book Club. You can officially sign-up here. Through it, we hope to engage people of faith in discussions over why our health matters. Our current choice of reading is “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life” by Barbara Kingsolver. We are posting updates through the PHW Facebook page, but our PHW blog page has the discussion posts in full with responses from staff. Just look for the apple on top of the book picture among the blog post pictures and you will find past…

PHW Bookclub Discussion: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Chapter Six

Green Apple on Books

Thank you for joining the Partners in Health and Wholeness Book Club. You can officially sign-up here. Through it, we hope to engage people of faith in discussions over why our health matters. Our current choice of reading is “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life,” by Barbara Kingsolver. We are posting updates through the PHW Facebook page, but our PHW blog page has the discussion posts in full with responses from staff. Just look for the apple on top of the book picture among the blog post pictures and you will find…

Capital’s End-of-Summer Fallout

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Call it the year of North Carolina’s Big Right Turn. A conservative General Assembly, with a conservative governor in tow, veered away from the moderate consensus that had set the tone of Tar Heel politics for decades. Taxes were cut for high-end earners. Public schools were put through a budget wringer. Anti-pollution rules were weakened, and voting was made less convenient – a change expected to help conservative candidates. Pushback came in the weekly Moral Monday protests organized by the NAACP and supported by many individuals and groups, including the…

Fracking on Your Property Without Your Permission?

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The controversial issue of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, or fracking, has many angles here in North Carolina. One of the most important and least talked about components deeply affects private property rights, and it’s called “forced / compulsory pooling.” Compulsory pooling is used by oil and gas companies to force unleased or non-consenting landowners into oil and gas leases. It is used when oil and gas operators are unable, through voluntary agreement, to meet the acreage requirements for forming a drilling unit. Compulsory pooling can result in the loss of your…

Act Now – New Food Safety Regulations Will Harm Small Farmers

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Ever heard of the Food Safety & Modernization Act? It’s a 2011law that’s meant to help make our food safer and prevent contamination. While we all want safer food, the law contains many provisions that cater to huge agribusinesses while doing serious economic harm to small-scale family farmers. Check out these updates and then find out how to take action below: The landscape of North Carolina’s farming industry could change if new food-safety regulations take effect. The changes come as a result of the Food Safety Modernization Act that the…

Fred Bahnson: On Food & Faith in the Washington Post

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American spirituality is discovering itself anew as people of faith reconnect with the land. As I’ve traveled the country I’ve met fellow Christians who are falling in love with their faith all over again, and in every instance this love affair is tied to a place. Not a lofty cathedral directing the worshipper’s thoughts heavenward; these places draw the eyes—and the hands—down to earth, back to the soil from which Genesis tells us we were formed, and which we’re called to “tend and keep.” Our first and most basic human task, I’ve come to learn, is to care for the garden.

So begins Fred Bahnson’s recent op-ed article in the Washington Post. If you don’t know Fred already, you should. He’s a gifted speaker and writer, a thinker and theologian, but most importantly, he’s a gardener. After working for years with Anathoth Community Garden in Cedar Grove, NC, he now directs the new Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative at Wake Forest University School of Divinity.

Laurinburg Presbyterian Lets People Grow Food on its Property

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The Fayetteville Observer

Sam Thompson was looking for a sunny spot to plant tomatoes. He ended up leading an award-winning community revolution. Thompson, an elder at Laurinburg Presbyterian Church, pitched the idea of a community garden to the church six years ago. What began as a creative use for otherwise empty church property was recently awarded an equipment grant by the North Carolina Council of Churches and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina. “We’re using the grant funds to dig a well,” Thompson said. “Wouldn’t you know this would be the wettest June in years.”

Piney Grove Baptist Ministries Helped with Healthy Eating Equipment Grant

Piney Grove Baptist

Mt. Airy News

Piney Grove Baptist Church’s food ministries recently got a boost from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation (BCBSNC) in the form of a $5,000 healthy eating equipment grant. The effort is a partnership between BCBSNC and the North Carolina Council of Churches to provide equipment for 20 faith-based organizations to bring healthier food to their members and communities. More than $90,000 in equipment grants are being used to provide canning and cooking supplies, expand church community gardens and increase storage for fresh produce.

Twenty Congregations Receive Funding to Increase Access to Healthy, Local Foods

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The North Carolina Council of Churches has partnered with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) Foundation to provide more than $90,000 in Healthy Eating Equipment grants to twenty places of worship in our state. These equipment grants will be used to increase access to healthy, local foods – for example, for the purchase of canning and cooking supplies, to expand church-sponsored community gardens, to provide storage for healthy foods at food pantries, and much more. “The NC Council of Churches is a strong ally to empower…

PHW Success Story – Ward Street Mission UMC, High Point

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Since 2010, beginning with the spring growing season, Ward Street Mission United Methodist Church has implemented a concept called, “House Gardens Greening Project”. The concept is simple. Instead of having a “community garden” at one site at the church, we have created a “community of gardens” at individual homes around the Ward Street Mission Community. We deliver 4x8ft raised bed gardens, build them on site, fill them with compost donated by the City of High Point, and give each family seeds or plants to fill their garden. Then we keep…

2013 Legislative Seminar

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We are grateful to all who attended the 2013 Legislative Seminar. It was a wonderful day, graciously hosted by St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Raleigh. From the powerful and prophetic speakers to the opportunity for 200 faithful advocates for social justice to be together, we appreciate your participation. Over the next several weeks, we will be posting podcasts, videos, pictures and resources from the Legislative Seminar as many of you who took part had requested. May you continue to be reinvigorated by the messages of that day, and may…

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2014 Critical Issues Seminar on Public Education Register Here