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Hope and Challenge

July 4, 2014

By act

by Mary Dove, PWRDF Representative for Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior.

Please join us here all week as we have guest bloggers share their experience of the “Sharing Bread” Food Security course at the Sorrento Centre in British Columbia.

From our wonderful outdoor chapel overlooking Shuswap Lake and with the warm sun breaking through the leaves, we heard the message of Moses’ encounter with God through the burning bush. The message to us was to look around again and open our eyes to our environment and to be prepared to examine issues through the eyes of others. That prophetic thought certainly played out in our activities of the day as we explored Food Aid vs. Security vs. Sovereignty.

Activity with children and youth discovering the differences between Food Aid, Food Security and Food Sovereignty
Activity with children and youth discovering the differences between Food Aid, Food Security and Food Sovereignty

Under the guidance of our delightful Farmer Devon, we watched as the children were guided into an understanding of Food Aid vs. Security vs. Sovereignty. She did it very simply by using three bowls of candies;

1)    Food Aid ““ All the candies were the same in this bowl, one was given to each child and they ran out of candies before everyone got one.

2)    Food Security ““ Everyone was given two candies and there was just enough for all.

3)    Food Sovereignty ““ Everyone got to choose three candies that they wished and there was an amount left over.

This was a very simple procedure with very few words, lots of interaction and a good understanding of the concepts. We were all impressed.

Farmer Dave then gave us a wonderful slide show on faith and farming. He talked about the number of faith-based organizations in both Canada and the US that are committed to developing sustainable farms as a moral issue. The Sorrento Farm has been running now for six years and it is unique in that it is the only one operated by Anglicans in Canada. Many churches across our country are moving towards developing church gardens for their parishes and neighbours. It was certainly a “feel good” experience to know that the movement is growing and flourishing at a practical and local level.

Then came our time to grapple with these concepts on a global basis. Andre Visscher who works for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB) and has extensive experience in this whole area of food production and distribution presented us with a world-view. He was able to walk us through some of the accomplishments and challenges of his work. CFGB is a Christian response to hunger in the world. The good news was that globally the percentage of hungry people went from 23.6% in 1990 to 14.3% in 2012. The bad news was that that is still not good enough and that climate change, wars, monopolies of food and greed still threaten the state of hunger. As we discussed these facts and figures we became frustrated and passionate about the whole situation.

It was interesting to observe on this fourth day of our conference that people were intermingling more and having deeper discussions. We had reached that point where people were sharing their stories more easily and discussing our common journeys. Sorrento has that wonderful ability to help strangers be friends and to help us all dig down to our spiritual roots again in order to continue our lives.

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