Pacific Northwest Annual Conference
 Creation-Care, 365

 PNW United Methodists
Caring for God's Creation

Prayer for End of Hunger

Small Steps:
NSAC Action Alerts"

Tools for Renewal:
"Principles for a Faithful Farm Bill"

Lectionary Links

Events & Actions:
Summer 2013

Creation Keepers in Omaha, NB
UMC Creation-Care News


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"CC-365" Archives
Please click on the above link to find an indexed list of our archived issues.
Issue #73
"Farm Bill"
July 25,  2013
Earth & Wheat 

Every five years, our US Congress has the responsibility of updating and reauthorizing what is known as the Farm Bill -- the key piece of legislation for all agriculture and food policy in our country.  Because of it's comprehensive, "omnibus" nature and relatively long history,* no wonder it's hard for many of us to understand -- let alone weigh in on!

Congress was supposed to reauthorize the Farm Bill last year but was unable to do so.  This year, a great deal has happened already -- a great deal of which poses problems in better caring for God's creation, especially some of the most vulnerable lands and peoples in our country.  Many of the key decisions of 2013 contradict the UMC-endorsed "Principles for a Faithful Farm Bill."  To be specific:

"On July 11, the U.S. House passed a new Farm Bill -- without Nutrition programs.  Despite pleas from the faith 

community, anti-hunger groups and even farm groups, the House passed a farm-only bill by removing food stamps and other nutrition assistance programs from the usual comprehensive Farm Bill. 
"...The Farm Bill has many facets to it, and in fact the largest facet by far is food assistance. The Nutrition title is more than 75% of the Farm Bill's budget; most of the funds are needed for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) which helps millions of low-income families and individuals meet their daily food needs.

But just as important is the long-time focus on supporting family farms and rural communities. Public policy has changed over the years to benefit large-scale agribusiness more than farmers and ranchers themselves, so the need for reform is great."**


Many food and farming advocates feel that it's not too late to protect our country's vital Nutrition programs and help to protect both productive and fragile farm lands.  But, we need to be ready to act when the time is ripe legislatively.  And so, this issue of Creation-Care, 365 is for all who want to join the ranks of these well-prepared advocates.   

Grace and Peace be with you,

Creation-Care Projects Coordinator

PNW Office of Connectional Ministries    



*From "The first Farm Bill, the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933 (each one has a name), was created to address rock bottom prices (corn prices actually hit $0), national hunger, soil erosion, lack of credit and unfair export practices."  For more on its history, please see Farm Aid's "Farm Bill Study Guide" and/or the National Catholic Rural Life Conference's " A Primer on the Farm Bill." 

**Source: National Catholic Rural Life Conference's "Time for a New Farm Bill, Time for True Reforms." 

Prayer for the End of Hunger and Deprivation

From the National Catholic Rural Life Conference 


Let us pray for the poor, hungry, and neglected all over the world, that their cries for daily bread may inspire works of compassion and mercy among those to whom much has been given.


Let us pray for the farmers with limited or marginal land throughout the world, for those who lack access to water and other resources, and for the light of research and support services to shine in the lives of all God's people.


Let us pray for the health of women, children, and families around the world, especially for an end to maternal and child mortality, that in building healthy families, all God's people may be empowered to strengthen their communities and repair the breaches which divide nations and peoples.


Let us pray for an end to the waste and desecration of God's creation, for access to the fruits of creation to be shared equally among all people, and for communities and nations to find sustenance in the fruits of the earth and the water God has given us.


Let us pray for all nations and people who already enjoy the abundance of creation and the blessings of prosperity, that their hearts may be lifted up to the needs of the poor and afflicted, and partnerships between rich and poor for the reconciliation of the world may flourish and grow.


Lord, hear our prayer.

 SmallStepsSmall Steps... for Greater Good
Sign Up: National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition's Action Alerts
Farm Bill The U.S. Congress will continue to work on reauthorizing the Farm Bill throughout this summer and early fall.  With so much in flux at the current moment -- and with so much at stake -- one of the best ways to stay informed about how you can take action to support a just and sustainable Farm Bill is to sign up for the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition's Action Alerts

You can to stay up-to-date on the Farm Bill by following the National Catholic Rural Life Conference's "Focus on the Farm Bill Page" -- a page that includes "Action in Congress" and "Advocating Our Values" options. 

Tools for Renewal
Bulletin Insert: "Principles for a Faithful Farm Bill"
From the Interreligious Working Group on Domestic Human Needs, endorsed by The United Methodist Church - General Board of Church and Society and 29 other interfaith bodies. If your church uses this as a bulletin insert, please also consider including the Sign Up information for National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Action Alerts.

To members of the US Congress:

Principles for a Faithful Farm Bill

From God's initial command to care for creation to the prophets' call for justice among governments and nations, people of faith in every age are called together to work for the common good. Inspired by our faith traditions' commands to care for poor and vulnerable people, we join together to support policies that promote local food security in the U.S. and around the world, strengthen rural communities, and care for the land as God's creation.

Our nation's food and farm policies as embodied in the Farm Bill impact people and communities from rural America to developing countries. In the current budget climate, the Farm Bill's limited resources must be effectively targeted where need is greatest. Programs and policies that curb hunger and malnutrition, support vibrant agricultural economies in rural communities, and promote the sustainable use of natural resources must be prioritized.

Together, we will urge Congress to take the opportunity presented by the reauthorization of the Farm Bill to reduce hunger and poverty in the U.S. and around the world and encourage sustainable stewardship of our resources. To this end, we support the following principles for the Farm Bill:

  • Protect and strengthen programs that reduce hunger and improve nutrition in the United States.
  • Promote investments and policies that strengthen rural communities and combat rural poverty.
  • Provide a fair and effective farmer safety net that allows farmers in the U.S. and around the world to earn economically sustainable livelihoods.
  • Strengthen policies and programs that promote conservation and protect creation from environmental degradation.
  • Protect the dignity, health, and safety, of those responsible for working the land.
  • Promote research related to alternative, clean, and renewable forms of energy that do not negatively impact food prices or the environment.
  • Safeguard and improve international food aid in ways that encourage local food security and improve the nutritional quality of food aid.

Lectionary Links
Some excellent, on-line sermon helps -- most of which coincide with the Revised Common Lectionary:
Events & Actions
Summer 2013
Creation Keepers
The Big Garden
From UMNS: "A group of young volunteers plant crops at Catholic Charities' Christ Child North Center's garden site in Omaha, Neb. Photos courtesy of the Big Garden."
"The Big Garden"
Omaha, NB
 Excerpt of article by Trish Johnson for United Methodist News Service (UMNS)

"The Big Garden was born out of the Rev. Stephanie Ahlschwede's dream to create a hands-on model of community gardening.


"When Ahlschwede became executive director of United Methodist Ministries in Omaha in 2005, one of her first endeavors as director was to map out her dream and seek funding. She applied for and received a three-year grant through the United States Department of Agriculture's Community Food Project, and she was off and running.


"The Big Garden's goal was to create 12 community gardens in three years. Five years -- and another three-year grant -- later, it included 26 gardens in the metro-Omaha area and added a sister project, the Big Rural Garden.


"Today, the Big Garden is a network of 70 community gardens in metro-Omaha and rural and semi-rural communities in Nebraska and Kansas. They expect to add 15 new garden sites in Nebraska this year - 10 rural and five urban - and soon will expand into Iowa.


"Ahlschwede says the project is successful because the ministry is not just about growing food and meeting hunger needs, but also focuses on growing communities.


"'The two are intertwined,' Ahlschwede said. 'We have a saying that we are neighborhood based, not neighborhood placed. We're about meeting people where they are and learning about their needs, not telling them what ... they need.'


"Nationally, the Big Garden is the largest group of community gardens and is the only program of its kind that not only has both rural and urban garden sites, but also operates in more than one state. ..."


Please click here to read the full article 

UMC Creation-Care News
"Creation-Care, 365" is a free, e-resource of the PNW Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.  Subscribers are welcome to reprint any/all of the materials contained within; cite "Creation-Care, 365," Thanks and God bless you in your creation-caring efforts.