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Churches Week of Action on Food

The Churches Week of Action on Food is an opportunity for Christians all over the world to act and speak out together on food justice issues. It is a time to raise awareness about food production and distribution systems, examine our own food consumption, and call for policy changes that will ensure the right to food for everyone. Our faith calls us to feed the hungry and care for Creation – this we can do as individuals, as churches, and as global citizens.

In 2013, the week of action will be held from 13-20 October and incorporates the International Day for Rural Women (October 15), World Food Day (October 16) and the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (October 17).

Our focus this year will be on seeds. Access and control over natural resources, including seeds, is an essential aspect of supporting small-scale food producers, sustainable agriculture and, ultimately, addressing hunger.

Resources for Action and Worship

Seeds for Life: Scaling Up Agro-Biodiversity


Seeds of Success


2013 Liturgy


Text (EN, FR, ES)

Seeds for Life Prayer


Gospel of Salvation in a Continent of Hunger

Text (EN)

Action Guide


2011/2012 Liturgy



Seedmap.org Web Portal


La Via Campesina: Our Seeds, Our Future


Our Coming Food Crisis, New York Time Opinion Piece, Published: July 21, 2013


How farmers are saving seeds and building a Canadian collection


Putting the Cartel before the Horse...and Farm, Seeds, Soil and Peasants etc: Who Will Control the Agricultural Inputs? ETC Group, 2013


NGOs working on seed issues


Food for Life 2013 video


Seeds of Freedom video


Seeds of Death video


The World According to Monsanto video


You too can be a Seed Saver! A Guide to Seed Saving.


Is Africa about to lose the right to her seeds?


Modernising African Agriculture: Who benefits? Civil Society statement on the G8, AGRA and the African Union's CAADP


Understanding the impact of genetically modified crops in Africa, African Centre for Biosafety (Handbook)


Harmonization of Africa’s Seeds Laws: A Recipe for Disaster, Players Motives and Dynamics


Civil Society Statement on COMESA Seed Trade Laws


From Seed, to Stove, to Mouth: Food Sovereignty and Solidarity in Greece, by Jon Wiltshire


Seed Heritage of the People for the Good of Humanity, From the Women Seed Forum in South Korea


A Declaration of Seed Sovereignty: A living document for New Mexico


Colombia farmers’ uprising puts the spotlight on seeds, GRAIN


The United Republic of Soybeans: Take Two


Seeding the Future Galleries, From Gaia Foundation


Sowing Autonomy, Gender and seed politics in semi-arid India


Our Seed, Our Sovereignty – Seed Law Victory in Indonesia, Indonesian Human Rights Committee for Social Justice


TED Talks

Roger Thurow: The Hungry Farmer - My Moment of Great Disruption

Joel Salatin: Thinking About Soil

Roger Doiron: A Subversive Plot





Books to Read

66 Square Feet: A Delicious Life, by Marie Viljoen

Blessing the Hands that Feed Us: What Eating Closer to Home Can Teach Us About Food, Community, and Our Place on Earth, by Vicki Robin

First Food: A Taste of India’s Biodiversity, by Sunita Narain and Vibha Varshney

From the Ground Up: A Food Grower's Education in Life, Love, and the Movement That's Changing the Nation, by Jeanne Nolan with Foreword by Alice Waters

Gaining Ground: A Story of Farmers’ Markets, Local Food, and Saving the Family Farm, by Forest Pritchard with Foreword by Joel Salatin

Soil and Sacrament: A Spiritual Memoir of Food and Faith, by Fred Bahnson

What has Nature Ever Done for Us? How Money Really Grows on Trees, by Tony Juniper with Foreword by HRH The Prince of Wales

More Action Ideas

  • Set aside a church service on 16 October to focus on the importance of seeds. The liturgy can be used in its entirety or adapted for your context.

  • Prepare a meal for your family using vegetables or fruit from traditional, local seed varieties. A new recipe will be uploaded each day throughout the month long countdown to World Food Day on the Food for Life Facebook page You can add your own family recipes there too!

  • Gather your local traditional farmers and gardeners to build a seed bank in your local library by ‘checking-in’ your most successful breeds and ‘checking-out’ the champions among fellow breeders. For inspiration, see the partnership between Basalt Public Library and the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute and learn how it’s done.

  • Organize a church group to study local plants and indigenous seeds and then write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper to reinforce the need to safeguard these varieties.

  • Prepare a meal for your family using heirloom varieties and discuss the nutrient value of wild species versus their domesticated varieties. Would you believe that Peruvian Purple potatoes have 171milligrams of phytonutrients compared to the Yukon Gold variety (5.45mg) or the standard white potato (1.03mg)? (source)

  • Consider hosting a screening of Seeds of Freedom

  • Schedule a study group to read the articles on Seeds and Peasant Sovereignty in the 2013 Right to Food and Nutrition Watch, which will be launched on October 16.

  • Plan awareness-raising events on World Food Day to support local food markets that return fair prices for small-scale agricultural and food workers and promote a broader use of agricultural biodiversity. Better yet, lobby policy makers and businesses to create a stable demand for local and seasonal produce through school meal programmes and hospitals (such as the Programa de Aquisicao de Alimentos (PAA), as referred to on page 36 of the EAA report Nourishing the World Sustainably: Scaling up AgroEcology


These ideas for actions have been suggested by our members. Use ideas that work best in your context, be creative in adapting them or making up your own! Send in your suggestions to ccampeau@e-alliance.ch

Examples of 2012 Events – Churches' Week of Action on Food

The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance asked its members’ how they were going to act for food justice and sustainable consumption of food. Many thanks to all of you for all your actions which have helped to highlight food justice around the world. Here are some examples of what our members and friends did:

West African Religious Leaders gathered in Lomé, Togo, for meetings with national and regional political leaders in addition to a one-day symposium on food and climate change. The leaders called for investment in smallscale agroecological farming and the building of food reserves in events organized by the Fellowship of Christian Councils and Churches in West Africa.

Read this exciting report of the events andactipons taken by religious leaders in West Africa during the Week of Action, PDF - (EN)

Visit FECCIWA’s website: fecciwa.org

The Commission on Justice, Peace and Creation and Urban Rural Mission of the National Council of Churches in India launched a national campaign on “Food Justice for Life” to call for just production, just consumption and just distribution along with practicing and promoting socially and environmentally sustainable agriculture.

Visit NCCI’s website: www.nccindia.in

The Presbyterian Church (USA) highlighted key advocacy actions for solidarity with farmworkers, protection for family farmers in the Trans-Pacific trade agreement, a raise for the tipped minimum wage of $2.13 for restaurant workers, and a protest of US policies promoting corn ethanol, diverting food for fuel. These and many more actions across the US are highlighted at: www.usfoodsovereigntyalliance.org/world-food-week-of-action-2012

Visit the Presbyterian Church (USA) website: www.pcusa.org

Church World Service and member organizations of the Regional Program for Food Security and Sovereignty (PRESSAN, El Programa Regional para la Seguridad y Soberanía Alimentaria) held a regional food security forum on 16 October in Guatemala City to highlight development strategies that are helping some of the poorest families in Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua produce their own sustainable solutions to the region’s chronic food insecurity and malnutrition.

Visit the Church World Service website: www.churchworldservice.org

Canadian Foodgrains Bank promoted worship and action through its network, as well as a guided tour and panel discussion of the Just Food Art Exhibit: The Right to Food from a Faith Perspective. The exhibit aimed to inform and motivate communities about the injustice of abundant food for some and the goal of ending hunger.

Visit Canadian Foodgrains Bank website: www.foodgrainsbank.ca

Canadian Lutheran World Relief promoted a new online game, Meal or No Meal, to raise awareness about hunger among youth. Visit CLWF’s website: www.clwr.org

The Christian Council of Nigeria organized an ecumenical service, while member churches are focusing on food in their sermons and teachings through the week

The Finnish Lutheran Evangelical Mission organized a series of events in and around Helsinki in cooperation with the Economic Justice Network of the Fellowship of Christian Councils in Southern Africa, including raising the issues of food, trade and justice at a mission conference for youth. Visit FELM’s website: www.suomenlahetysseura.fi

The National Council of Churches in the Philippines invited its members to celebrate the Churches’ week of action. The NCCP, as member of the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance has been actively participating in the Churches’ Week of Action on Food since it was launched. Annually, the NCCP joins other churches and organizations worldwide to educate and advocate for food security especially for those who produce the world’s food.


Tearfund launched a video animation and a briefing paper to explain how we need innovative sources of funding for smallholder farmers and herders to adapt to climate change. This could come from a levy on the shipping industry which could raise at least $10bn for adaptation, whilst also reducing emissions from shipping.Watch the short video clip here www.tearfund.org/hunger and visit Tearfund’s website: www.tearfund.org for further information.

Christian Aid told the story of an organic granny, who is a key figure in a community project to grow organic food in Dominican Republic. Visit Christian Aid’s website: www.christianaid.org.uk/whatwedo/partnerfocus/an-organic-granny.aspx

The Economic Justice Network of the Fellowship of Christian Councils in Southern Africa organized a worship service and awareness raising events with different churches as part of celebrations of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty 17th October including the International Day for Rural Women on 15th October, and World Food Day on the 16th October. They also organised a gathering of small scale farmers in an area committed to share experiences to enable them grow their businesses. Visit EJN’s website: www.ejn.org.za/index.php/component/content/article/61-current-feature-cluster/639-ejn-and-foccisa-nccs-global-week-of-action-on-food-security

Caritas Internationalis set up a fund to fight poverty by supporting small-scale agriculture. The project enables women who have survived war and the worst violence to take control of their lives and improve their families’ lives by starting. Visit Caritas Internationalis website: www.caritas.org/activities/climate_change/WorldFoodDay12.html

His Holiness Pope Benedict VI, commemorated World Food Day and greeted with particular satisfaction the choice to dedicate this Day to the reflection on the topic ‘Agricultural Cooperatives Feed the World: www.zenit.org/article-35744


New research and policy papers have been released by several organizations:

The international alliance of Catholic development agencies, CIDSE, released the report “Agriculture: from Problem to Solution: Achieving the Right to Food in a Climate-Constrained World” which argues that more sustainable food systems which operate at a smaller scale are needed to feed the world in the face of a changing and erratic climate. Visit CIDSE’s website: www.cidse.org

A Church of Sweden report, “Cash in the hand” emphasizes the need for a rights based social protection as a method of eradicating poverty and hunger.

Visit Church of Sweden’s website: www.svenskakyrkan.se/default.aspx

The EAA’s report, “Nourishing the World: Scaling up Agroecology” calls for increased investment in sustainable agricultural practices that support smallscale farmers and local communities as well as benefit the environment and natural resource base. Visit the EAA’s website: www.e-alliance.ch

More information, photos and resources can also be found on our Facebook page.

For examples of actions in 2011 click here

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