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Action Steps | Sunday February 22, 2015

Taking Personal Action



Eating is a moral act.


Eating is a moral act. Anyone who eats participates in our agriculture system and the ethical dimensions of food production. We vote three times a day. With every meal we can choose to bless or spoil God’s creation. This week of Lent offers suggestions on how grocery shopping and eating habits can make a difference.

What we eat is one of our most ingrained habits – and that makes it difficult to change. There are numerous ways to show respect for creation when eating. The most obvious is to begin with a prayer of gratitude and take practical steps to reduce your negative impact. It boils down to eating less meat and more food that is grown organic and nearby (doesn’t have to be shipped very far). Realize that chemical fertilizers, transportation and packaging of food have a huge impact on the planet. Consider which steps you can take.  

If you can only do one thing…

Abstain from meat this week... or make meat only a side-dish. Pound for pound, livestock requires more water, land and energy than grains and vegetables. It takes 145 gallons of water to produce one loaf of bread, but up to 1500 gallons of water to produce a pound of hamburger. Waste disposal from factory-farming of animals pollutes water supplies. 800 million people suffer from hunger or malnutrition while the majority of corn and soy grown in the world feeds cattle, pigs and chickens for wealthy eaters. Eating lower on the food chain by eating less meat and more vegetables is a significant way to lower your impact on God’s creation. 

What and Where to Buy 

  • Try purchasing sustainable and organic food. It's grown without pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, or harmful additives. 
  •  If buying meat or dairy, choose animal products that have not been treated cruelly or grown in Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations.
  • Whenever possible buy food grown and processed closer to home. Transportation of food guzzles energy. Shop at a farmers market. 
  • Eat real food. Hint: shop the perimeter of the store. Most foods in the middle aisles of supermarkets are preprocessed and packaged.
  • Buy in bulk. To minimize landfill waste, support manufacturers who use minimal packaging. 
  • Like coffee? Drink only Fair Trade coffee/tea. Commit to giving farmers a fair price for their product and work.

    Cooking and Eating

  • Do without fast food and highly processed food for the week. If that’s not possible, before you bite into your burger, choose food that is grown and produced sustainably and ethically.
  • Lent=Fish. Select seafood that's good for you and the oceans. Download a consumer's guide to sustainable seafood.
  • Eat real food. Explore cooking with whole or less-processed food for your health and that of the planet.  If you eat fish, select seafood that is harvested sustainably and safely
  • Set up your own compost bin for non-animal products. In nature there is no such thing as waste; it should all break down to become part of the soil instead of thrown into a landfill. 
  • Check out the Slow Food movement. Bring balance to fast food and fast life.
  • Pause before eating. Be grateful for the bounty of creation and the many hands that helped bring food to your table. Food is one of the most explicit ways we interact with the natural world – with the land and the other species we share it with. 

Food Security

  • Participate in food production to the extent you can. Connect with the Earth and grow some of your own food. Learn from some of the numerous resources that are available for beginners how, with a little creativity, you can create a small organic vegetable garden. You will appreciate your food, having known it all its life. 
  • Learn more about ways to support a just food system and provide adequate food for all at Bread for the World.  Over 800 million people on the planet now suffer from hunger or malnutrition while the majority of corn and soy grown in the world feeds cattle, pigs, and chickens. In the United States, 14.6% of households struggle to put food on the table. Nearly one in four children is at risk of hunger. 

Our Ministry

Lent 4.5 is a seven-week faith formation program which inspires and informs Christian communities on how to use the traditional Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving to protect God’s creation, embrace Gospel justice and nurture spiritual fulfillment. It offers practical opportunities for people of faith to apply the values of Christian Simplicity to their everyday lives.

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