Why Global Farm Sunday?
by Allison Pate, Faith Formation & Service Director
Last summer at the 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering in Houston, our congregation’s youth and adults had the chance to participate in an unforgettable experience designed to immerse them in what it’s like to be a smallholder farmer around the world. Today our middle and high school youth are facilitating the same experience here at Good Shepherd through a Thrivent Action Team grant.
Many farmers in the developing world are subsistence farmers – growing just enough food to feed their families. This is valuable but risky work. If a crop fails, subsistence farmers might not have the savings or income to buy food for themselves. Access to land, a variety of seeds, tools, clean water and training helps farmers produce enough crops to both feed themselves and sell some at market. They can also learn how to make sure that the prices they get at market are fair. ELCA World Hunger, our church’s ministry to end hunger and poverty, works with local organizations in more than 60 countries around the world to support sustainable development work in areas related to healthcare, income generation, food security, clean water and education — addressing hunger right at the root causes.
Our congregation’s support of Lutheran World Relief’s Partnership Bihar project is another way we’re involved in the story of Global Farms. Launched in 2016, the project is working to create food security and sufficient nutrition for 4,000 farming families. These families struggle to produce enough food and enough varieties of food to feed their families well throughout the year. There are little or no surplus crops to sell for cash to cover other needs, such as healthcare or education. The Bihar project is working to change all that through the empowerment of women, training of farming techniques, better livestock care, and farm planning for better nutrition. On Sunday, March 31, Sara Sutmiller shared pictures and stories about her recent trip to Bihar and the work that continues there.
Locally, our Community Garden is gearing up for another growing season. The produce from the Community Garden is donated to the Thurston County Food Bank to provide our community members with fresh food to eat. Again this year, CIELO will be using areas of the garden as a teaching tool as well as a resource for fresh produce. Congregation members are also welcome to plant and maintain a plot for their needs.
Loving God, bless farmers and their crops throughout the world. Help us equip communities around the world to turn hungry seasons into hopeful seasons. Amen.