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.
This week we are beginning a new book, many of you may have heard of “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life” by Barbara Kingsolver. It is a New York Times bestseller and a different type of book than we have normally included in our Book Club discussions. However, it is full of beautiful imagery, poetic verses around food and family life, and tells the story of how one family abandoned the agricultural-industry to live a rural life where they grow their own food, buy food raised from their own neighbors, or learn to do without.
With our fast-paced society and easy to grab convenience foods we consume on a daily basis, this memoir will remind us what it is like to stop, get to know one another, including the animals we consume, and appreciate all that God provides for us. It is a tale of connection and deeper meaning to the Earth and to each other.
Chapter 1 “Called Home” begins in a convenience store in Arizona the very day the family is setting off for their new adventure to live life sustainably on a farm. The family longed for a place where the rain fell, “crops grow and drinking water bubbles right up out of the ground.” For most of us, our food travels hundreds of miles to get to our grocery store shelves, which leaves us begging to know where does our food come from? Who planted the first seed? What families were involved in the making, manufacturing, transporting? Yet another reason we pray over our meals, to give thanks for our food.
And literally “in two generations, we have transformed ourselves from a rural to an urban nation.” Have we lost sense of how to care for ourselves in the most basic way? And another question Kingsolver begs us to ponder: “Is the story of bread, from tilled ground to our table, less relevant to our lives than the history of the thirteen colonies?”
So, she would argue this absence of knowledge of the source of our food has left us frightened of what is in our food, has caused disease, and has led to the development of labels.
A few questions we would like to propose and would love to have your comments and thoughts on are:
1) With the ever-growing number of hunger-related causes in the world, the current “UN Food and Agriculture Organization reports that current food production can sustain world food needs even for the 8 billion people who are projected to inhabit the planet in 2030.” How can we as people of faith create a connection to the disconnect between those who have vs. those who have not?
2) What is your church or organization doing to provide for the “least of these?” (Matthew 25:31-46)
3) Do we have a moral obligation as people of faith to educate others about the power of growing your own food and creating a world of sustainability rather than rely on big agri-business?
–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.