Sustainable Food and Land Use
“Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk in it: I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you.” ~Isaiah 42:5-6a
What we call ’conventional’ agriculture has only been the convention since the 1950s. As our agriculture has shifted, our cities have sprawled out, using productive farmland for low-density housing, that also requires more resources to sustain.
We have replaced human labor and ancient practices of crop rotation and soil management with fossil-fuel derived chemical fertilizers and pesticides, many of which are exceedingly toxic. Our chemical dependence will run dry as we deplete our oil and natural gas. Industrial farming also comes with a great financial cost–to the natural fertility of the soil and to the people who work on it. Each year in the United States over 200,000 farm workers are accidentally poisoned with pesticides. Constant regular exposure to these chemicals makes farming one of our nation’s most dangerous occupations.
We encourage congregations to incorporate good practices at their own facilities including native plant landscaping, and incorporation of gardens and food growing projects wherever they can. Several partner congregations are now exploring farms as part of their ministry.
Many of our faith traditions say something about our relationship to the land, how we eat, what we eat, how to grow food and how to give thanks for it. All of them say that we are charged with the love of our brothers and sisters. We cannot ask people to poison themselves to supply our needs, but essentially we ask that indirectly whenever we purchase conventionally grown food. Economic supply chains are also chains of morality that bind us to our brothers and sisters around the world. We need to know that the people who grow our food are able to live the kinds of lives we want for ourselves. At Faith in Place we know our farmers and we love them! We can help you get acquainted with them too.
Learn about our religious responsibility to understand more about where our food comes from and how it’s grown, and to shift to local, humane and sustainable sources. We also have a new project in which we collect the human stories of migration in congregations, and link them to the migration of local fauna like birds and butterflies. We offer opportunities for congregation groups to get out into nature and to help with local conservation efforts in order to welcome our local migrants when they return.
Faith in Place partners with fifteen or more congregations each winter, from November through March, to organize one-time Winter Farmers Markets. These markets bring local, sustainable goods like eggs, meat, cheese, honey and seasonal produce to communities in the Chicago area, and they provide a source of income for farmers in the off-season. Sign up to receive email updates about market locations and offerings prior to each one. In addition to our Winter Farmers Markets, Faith in Place encourages congregations to become a drop-off site for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. See the related links below to connect your congregation with a CSA farmer.
Grow Your Own
Through our youth program and through our ability to network with other organizations, Faith in Place has helped to establish gardens at several congregations, helping members to grow food for their own consumption, or for donation to their local food pantry.
Advocate For Sound Agricultural and Land Use Policy
Call us to learn more about current advocacy activity on land use and agricultural policy at the regional, state and federal levels.
FamilyFarmed CSA match-making program - FamilyFarmed.org matches potential host sites with Chicago-area CSA programs.
Local Harvest - Provides a full description of our Winter Farmers Markets, as well as other local food information and resources.