My first-time home-grown tomatoes are ripening and taste as exquisite as rubies look. Their reward for my boutique horticultural effort is out of proportion — provident bounty of Earth — and I’m in love with those plants.
Yet if my crop failed I would turn to the supermarket. This signals the gulf between food-rich countries and places where food availability is unreliable and the people are hungry.
We live in privilege, selecting from organically grown, cosmetically attractive, hand-raised, grass-fed, low-fat produce to suit our preference, health, or wants. And we might choose locally produced over imported food for the sake of the planet. We have so much food we’ve created the problem of toxic food waste in our landfills even while we have families who are hungry. And we may have lost the sense of our dependence on Earth for our food.
Growing, cooking and eating food is fundamental to human survival. It is not surprising that we read of Jesus frequently sharing meals during his ministry and leaving his legacy in the form of a meal, the Eucharist. The occasion of these meals often held tension around the control of and access to food — such as the disciples plucking wheat on the Sabbath and Jesus eating with sinners — indicating how challenging we have always found it to share for the common good.
In the Lenten season of fasting for justice, reflection and discussion of the global goal of zero hunger in the world by 2030 has a context. We know that ridding the world of hunger is a multifaceted and Herculean task. Yet contributors, like Gillian Southey and Khadiyjah Jordan, attest to the hope that this is not beyond us. They tell of research and projects that are supporting communities in marginal places to grow reliable and nutritious food. They outline efforts made to reestablish crops and animals in places where conflict has undermined years of work. We learn how our Caritas donations are ploughed into horticultural and fishery improvements. And also about the advocacy for food justice in the world at home, in our region and across our world.
We thank all who have contributed to this 224th issue. Their reflection and research, writing and faith, art and craft have provided a thoughtful read.
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As is our custom our last word is of blessing.