CSAI-1: Ethical Eating: Food and Environmental Justice

The below quoted text is describes one Action Issue our congregation will vote on.  The source of this information comes from the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations web site.  For more information click to http://uua.org/socialjustice/issuesprocess/currentissues/index.shtml. - Marco

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Proposed CSAI-1 (2008-2012)

Issue: Religious organizations throughout the world have discussed the production, distribution, and use of food. Some people enjoy many food choices while others remain hungry. The food industry produces wealth, but small farmers and farm workers are often poor. Food production and transportation contribute to many environmental problems.

Background and Reasons for Study: This Congregational Study Action Issue is inspired by the work of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee with Equal Exchange and the involvement of our congregations with both human rights and environmental protection issues.

The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee and Equal Exchange work together so that small farmers can receive a fair price for coffee, tea, and cocoa. The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee supports economic justice and safe and sustainable agriculture.

Hunger is both a community problem and an international problem that can be approached in a variety of ways. There is a need for political advocacy in support of government programs that try to feed the hungry. There is a need also for involvement with service programs that deliver food to individuals and families—for example, Meals on Wheels programs.

Significance to Unitarian Universalism: Unitarian Universalists have a vision of environmental justice. One of our principles acknowledges "the interdependent web." Others affirm the importance of human rights. Together our principles form one holistic statement that helps to define liberal religion.

Possible Study Topics

  • There are different religious teachings concerning the production, distribution, and use of food. Why is food so important in religion?
  • There are environmental concerns and concerns about animal rights and human rights. What moral guidelines, if any, should govern food production?
  • Some people have too much food and some have too little. How should congregations address issues like poverty and hunger, nutrition education, and health promotion?
  • What guidelines, if any, govern the purchase and use of food and beverages in your congregation? Do you pause for a blessing when you serve food?

Possible Actions

  • Support sustainable agriculture and farmers' markets. Encourage organic community gardening.
  • Volunteer in support of community food pantries, Meals on Wheels programs, and similar projects that address the problem of hunger.
  • Become an advocate for social and economic justice. Support labor unions, farmers' cooperatives, "fair trade" associations, and other organizations that help the farmers and other workers who produce and distribute food in the global market.

Related Prior Social Witness Statements

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To all visitors attending our potlucks.


Our potluck movies nights are welcome to all. If you are a visitor and wishing to attend a movie potluck night then please call Betty A. at 231-4840 area code 614.


On Tuesday evening November 13th Paul Matherny, co-chair, of Citizens Intent on Reform of Corporate Accountability, led a discussion at UUCE about the pervasive influence of corporations on our government. Along with UUCE members there were some people who attended having seen the flyer.

Paul told us about his history as an activist. He has done peer to peer campaigning against the 2004 Issue 1 defining marriage only between a man and a woman. Paul successfully fought for a local issue to control noise and pollution from railroad trains in his neighborhood. And recently Paul experienced the protester “cage” and arrest as a peace protester.

Questions and comments were elicited and there was a vigorous exchange. Jim Crowley shared a great metaphor that the government was operating like a bribed referee between business interests and the citizens interests. The failure of corporate media to report diverse news and to operate more like one homogeneous echo chamber was agreed upon as a fundamental problem. The growing disparity of income between the few wealthy and the many struggling was pointed out by Sue Crowley as the origin of most current conflicts. Stan Bradley shared his local activism in calling attention to negligent voter disenfranchisement in the Nov. 6th election in Fairfield Co.

Paul suggested that the benefit of becoming informed about national and international situations was to understand the context of local issues. And with this knowledge design citizen actions to shape a just and sustainable community. Paul has offered to share his library of documentary DVDs with the UUCE fellowship. He suggested that we consider having a follow-up group perhaps on a monthly basis where we “think globally and act locally.”

Submitted by Becca Calhoun, UUCE President

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