Quick Guide: Rethinking Food as a Faith Community
This guide includes introductory information and answers to common questions that are useful for faith communities rethinking food when it comes to caring for Creation.
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How Faith Communities Are Making a Difference:
VAIPL featured food-conscious communities and congregations across the Commonwealth in 2019. A number of places of worship in Virginia are leading the way in applying creative ideas to care for Creation whether it’s through a small community garden, through switching to fair trade coffee or by saying no to Styrofoam products, they all are making a difference.
We have chosen the following four reflections for inspiration and ideas:
Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church is applying for grants that will allow them to make their grounds an example of ecological resilience and renewal, complete with rain gardens, added trees, and a large vegetable garden. They hope that their grounds will be a place where people can connect with God, each other, and the earth, finding healing and inspiration
Reflection provided by Rosina Snow, Director of Christian Discipleship
The Seventh Street Christian Church Green Team formed about two years ago to begin
working toward Green Chalice Certification. Their efforts are inspired by God’s call for all to be good stewards of creation. They have made a number of changes to their building and worship and community outreach to reflect this call, including the installation of more efficient parking lot lights, increased programming about how to care for our environment, creation-centered worship themes, the installation of a little free pantry, installation of a pollinator garden, switching to reusable dishes instead of disposables, and many more.
The pollinator garden was installed in the Spring of 2019 during “Faith, Family Fellowship,” a time for members and friends to learn and grow together. As a part of the educational component of this program, they discussed the role that native plants can play in creating habitats for pollinators, the importance of pollinators for the growth of healthy food, the difference between annuals and perennials, the ways in which native plants can help restore soil and are
more adept at surviving in the unpredictable Virginia weather, and logistics how to obtain and install the garden itself. In the time since the garden was installed, they have been added to the Xerces Society Community Pollinator Garden Map and have used their garden as a way to educate the youth at Seventh Street about the lifespan of butterflies and the importance of bees, among other related topics. They are hoping to expand our garden and incorporate more native and pollinator plants in Seventh Street’s landscaping efforts going forward
Reflection Provided by Jessie Kelley, Chair of Seventh Street Christian Church’s Creation Care Team
Casa Alma, Charlottesville’s Catholic Worker community, hosts two houses of hospitality and a community house on an urban homestead. We cultivate organic gardens and a mini-orchard, and
have goats, chickens, and honeybees.
Their faith motivates them to welcome families who would otherwise be homeless
into an environment which nurtures body and spirit.
It is an all volunteer effort; they welcome visitors and collaborators from any spiritual lineage to help us provide hospitality, grow our off-site hospitality network, cultivate the gardens, and host times of learning, reflection, and action.
Reflection Provided by Laura Brown, Founder Casa Alma and Resident Volunteer
The William City Farm has developed an urban farm on the north side of Richmond. The idea is to transform two overgrown vacant lots into a large garden to grow fresh fruits and vegetables for the northside community to enjoy. They also provide educational opportunities for the community especially the youth along with an assortment of seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Reflection Provided by By Shana Williams, William City Farm, Organizer