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 picture of the apple on top of the books and you will find past Book Club entries.
I have a confession. I love bananas. While I fully support and agree with the importance of local food, bananas remain one of my favorite fruits. Every once in a while I have a moral dilemma at the grocery store when I am trying to pass up the bananas for ethical reasons. I want to support local produce, but on the other hand, these are healthy, fair trade, and organic, so what do I do?
So, this chapter was a healthy challenge for me. I have gone through phases of my life as a vegetarian to resist animal cruelty, but Kingsolver points out, “Should I overlook the suffering victims of hurricanes, famines, and wars brought on this world by profligate fuel consumption? Bananas that cost a rainforest, refrigerator-trucked soy milk, and prewashed spinach shipped two thousand miles in plastic containers do not seem cruelty free in this context. A hundred paths may lighten the world’s suffering. Giving up meat is one path: giving up bananas is another.” Having purchased all of these items in the name of health (and convenience), I felt very convicted from reading this passage.
The relationship between the food system and our individual choices is so extremely complex. It is hard to fully understand all the implications of these choices. I find it to be overwhelming at times, but there are always small choices that can make a big difference. Kingsolver sums it up nicely by saying, “The more we know about our food system, the more we are called into complex choices. It seems facile the declare one single forbidden fruit, when humans live under so many different kind of trees.”
1. The choice of what to eat is determined by so many factors, including our income, convictions, neighborhood, traditions, and beliefs. What values inform how you choose what to eat?
2. Did anything in this chapter challenge, overwhelm, or inspire you?
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.