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 Book Club entries.
Our author, Barbara Kingsolver, and her daughter are joyful over spring. The jonquils are popping out of the ground, the first signs of spring — they are endearing and are gifts from previous generations. In my personal opinion, they are God’s gifts, they are His message that Jesus is risen and we have been saved from all of our sins. She appreciates the heirloom varieties and delves into Genetic Modification.
A very controversial subject, and all over the media, Genetic Modification is the process where the genes of seeds are directly manipulated to enable the plant to withstand multiple rounds of Roundup (a common pesticide) and be able to weather the elements of the seasons. Those seeds that are under most scrutiny and more likely to be GM seeds are corn, soy, wheat, cotton and canola. Ninety-eight percent of all the world’s seeds are controlled by six seed companies. Seed variety and crop rotation has become invariably important. Heirlooms are seeds that have been saved and chosen for their specific qualities, namely their flavor. They have also been able to withstand elements, pests, and climate change, while maintaining their quality. This is something that is taken away when we buy modified seeds. We have literally become dependent on and addicted to just two crops: corn and soy.
A profit- driven, mechanized food industry has narrowed down our variety and overproduced corn and soybeans. Corn and soy can be found in overabundance in our soft drinks, convenience food and pre-packaged food, all of which Americans are consuming by the gallons each year, contributing to the obesity epidemic. Is this what we really need more of in our society or are we missing fruits and vegetables for so many reasons as we have been reading? So, as Kingsolver concludes, “as lettuce goes to flower and becomes bitter, who cares? Broccoli is on its way.” Meanwhile, we miss the seasons transitioning as we continue to eat our packaged foods that lasts forever on the shelves.
1) What are some ways to get healthy meals and snacks into your children’s daily diet?
2) What are some of your family’s favorite ways to prepare greens?
3) Label reading challenge: take a look at some labels in your pantry or at the store. How often do you notice corn and soy on the labels?
–Amelia Brady, PHW Regional Assistant
Partners in Health and Wholeness is an initiative of the North Carolina Council of Churches. PHW aims to connect health as a faith issue. Please visit our website to sign your personal pledge to be healthier, and to find out about grant opportunities for places of worship in NC.