In recent years there has been an awakening of sorts- a new understanding about the importance of redemptive, regenerative and sustainable agriculture in the production of our food. And for Christians this is a spiritual matter. The food we eat is at the intersection of so many issues through which we are called to embody the Gospel of Jesus and His kingdom. The stewardship of the land, the treatment of animals, justice for workers, the health of our body (which is the temple of the Holy Spirit), seeking the peace of the communities we are in, etc.- all these practical elements of our life matter to a GOD who created us in love and calls us to walk in love- to be agents of His redemption and shalom – joining Him in mending a world broken by sin.
Several years back many of us did not even think about the food that made it’s way from the grocery store shelves to the dinner table but today there is no excuse for not exploring the issues surrounding our food system. Now more than ever there is a flood of books, articles, magazines, TV shows, movies and organizations all offering to lift the veil on our food system that has been dominated for too long by greed, pollution, injustice and degenerative practices.
Recently there has been a particular increase in movies that challenge us to learn about where our food comes from. Movies like Food Inc. skirted the mainstream – exposing the corruption of our modern industrialized food system but then ironically landed on the shelves of Walmart. While ‘Food Inc.‘ garnered a good deal of media attention there have been and still are some great films that deal with issues surrounding our food system but have flown mostly under the radar with a more grassroots distribution. The movie FRESH by ana Sofia Joanes is one of those films.
(video: trailer for the movie FRESH)
After we watched ‘FRESH‘ at a local viewing hosted by some friends of ours who own a grass-based family farm- it was like someone lit a fire under me- I was inspired. It was similar to ‘Food Inc.‘ but it was heavy on hope and it made me realize it didn’t matter what corporations decided to do with our food- we could just create a new, more locally based, decentralized and sustainably-minded food system. The connection had been made in my mind. If I don’t like the way things are- I don’t need to revamp society and bring down a corrupt system- I just need to link arms with folks in my community and begin planting seeds today.
FRESH is a brilliant movie for bringing the conversation about our food system into local view. Hosting a local viewing with a question and answer time featuring local food producers from your community is a first step in understanding why these issues matter to a whole-life Christian faith. If I could- I would send a copy of the film to every church in America and plead with them to wake up to how Christian faith intersects with all the issues surrounding our present systems of agriculture, economy and eating. As Wendell Berry says: “Eating is an agricultural act” and as Joel Salatin says- food is “the cornerstone of Christian credibility“. Food is not a liberal or conservative issue but a context all Christians are called to walk in love for our neighbors, our enemies, our own families, our own bodies and the rest of GOD’s creation.
Now is the time for church communities to connect with the local food movement – not as a political statement, or as a means to activism- but because we are called to be a transformative people and there is no simpler way to live out GOD’s love and embody the Gospel than in the most basic arena of our physical need for food. As it’s been said- you can’t preach the Gospel to a starving man- you have to first show GOD’s love by feeding him. Jesus said ‘man doesn’t live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Father’- but this doesn’t mean we can’t use bread (food) to embody the Fathers living word of redemption to our communities. We are living in times when our church communities will have to do more than just feed those in need by giving away canned goods through our Food Pantries – it’s time to start community gardens, host farmers markets, and be a part of the local food movement.
(video: Joel Salatin, “Christian libertarian environmentalist capitalist” farmer who appears in the movie FRESH)
The folks behind the movie FRESH are now offering deep discounts for viewings of the movie by communities of faith. If you are interested in buying the DVD or hosting a viewing – follow this link or click on the FRESH banner in the sidebar.
(Disclosure: The friendly folks behind the movie FRESH contacted us and asked us to help spread the word about their movie to churches. Funny thing is- we already had the idea and so now we’re doing it. We have no contractual agreement or obligations to promote the movie- but we think every Christian in America should see it- seriously.)