2013 Eco-Justice Workshops

Because God intends for Creation to provide sustenance for all living things, our food systems are inseparably linked to and an integral part of God’s Earth. In the recent past, our dominate food systems have focused on increasing crop production through industrial practices that are dependent on fossil fuels. These very practices are often at odds with Creation, threatening the health of the earth and the natural diversity with which we have been blessed. The Eco-Justice Workshops focused on ways that environmental stewardship, energy ethics, and agroecology can aid in the shift toward sustainable food production for all.


An Author’s Reflections on Continental Divide: Wildlife, People and the Border Wall

Krista Schlyer is a photographer and writer who has been working for five years to document the impacts of immigration and border policy on the wildlife, people and ecosystems of the US-Mexico borderlands. She will show photographs and discuss her experiences on the border, including readings from her new book, released in October 2012 by Texas A&M University Press.

Speaker: Krista Schlyer; Moderator & Faith Speaker: Rev. Mari Castellanos, United Church of Christ


The Chemicals in our Lives: Toxic Exposures and Environmental Health

Chemicals are used in everyday modern conveniences such as in our cookware, food, furniture, and personal care products. Many of these chemicals are known to cause harm to the health of people, but federal regulations have not kept up with the pace of their use. Farm workers, minorities, and children are often the most impacted by these chemical exposures. Learn about which chemicals are of most concern to vulnerable populations and how you can be an agent of change for the well-being of God’s people and planet.

Speakers: Liz Hitchcock, Safer Chemicals Healthy Families ; Kristin S. Schafer, Pesticide Action Network North America; Shantha Ready Alonso, National Council of Churches Poverty Initiative; Moderator: Cassandra Carmichael, National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Program


Connecting the Dots: Climate & Food Justice

How can we help our congregations, friends and neighbors “connect the dots” between addressing climate change and promoting food justice? Sample fun, participatory tools with some faith-based educator-advocates that can help explain the impact of climate change on food production, rural livelihoods and hunger, and how, by transforming agricultural practices, we can help mitigate and adapt to climate change. We’ll look at these issues as they affect developing nations and the U.S. Workshop

Hosts: Church World Service & Center of Concern


Faithful Eating and Building Local Food Economies

Explore what faithful and compassionate eating looks like as individuals, families, congregations, and communities. We will facilitate spirited conversation and provide tools for incorporating more fully the spiritual, ecological and social justice aspects of purchasing, preparing and enjoying food – as well as for advocating for local food economies that meet residents’ needs.


Food Sovereignty: Land, Water, Seeds
(Co-hosted by Global Economic Justice and Africa Faith & Justice Network)

The well-being of hundreds of millions of people depends on a democratic food system where all farmers can access a diverse seed source, clean water, and land. Yet corporations have bitten off more and more of the global food system—land, water, seeds, and inputs—and shape farm policy at every level. This undermines food democracy, a critical part of food sovereignty. Progress in changing the power dynamic and democratizing our global food system depends on the uniting of movements and the involvement of everyone, especially young people. We will look at how building local-global alliances and grassroots organizing have brought together young adults and diverse stakeholders to begin creating change in the food system, often directly challenging corporate practices.

Speakers: Sara Mersha, Grassroots International ; Valery Nodem, Presbyterian Hunger Program, PCUSA; Blain Snipstal, Young Adult Program of La Via Campesina; Moderator: Andrew Kang Bartlett, Presbyterian Hunger Program


Global Food Fight: An Agro-Ecological or Industrial Agricultural Future?
(Co-Hosted by Global Economic Justice and Africa Faith & Justice Network)

Or both? Is humanity at a critical fork in the road? How do the stomachs of a growing population get filled? Given the enormous environmental impact of food and farming, which approaches are sustainable? Agrifood corporations claim they will feed the world; agro-ecological farmers claim that only their approaches are sustainable and provide real food security. And who gets to decide? Hear from people who have been working in the field on these questions and discuss how we can help shape the decisions moving forward.

Speakers: Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, Pesticides Action Network North America; Ricado Jacobs, Surplus People’s Project-South Africa; Moderator: Chloe Schwabe, Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach


Harvesting a Healthy Farm Bill: What’s at Stake?

The U.S. Farm Bill not only affects our nation’s farms, but rather is the single most important piece of legislation pertaining to food. The decisions we make and the policies we promote in the Farm Bill affect every level of the food system: from conservation and crop choices, to energy production and use, Food Stamps, and rural development. Last year, Congress extended the 2008 Farm Bill for a year delaying needed reform for several food and farm policies. We still have much to do to update and continue support for the Farm Bill so that it promotes a healthy, sustainable, and just food system that ensures enough for everyone.

Speakers: Ferd Hoefner & Martha Noble, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition; Ellen Vollinger, Food Research and Action Center; Moderator: Christine Melendez Ashley, Bread for the World


Navigating the Energy Frontier: Discerning Biofuels & Other Sources of Alternative Energy

Our society has begun developing and using non-fossil fuel energy sources that promise less pollution and decentralized generation. However, there are also challenges associated with sustainable implementation of renewable energy sources and distributed technology systems. Learn about the benefits and consequences that each kind of alternative energy has on God’s Earth.

Speakers: Union of Concerned Scientists, Clean Vehicles Division; Kristin Sundell, Action Aid; Rev. Dr. Earl D. Trent, Jr., Florida Avenue Baptist Church and Board Chair, Church World Service; Moderator: Tyler Edgar, National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Program


A Raucous Reaping: Extractive Industries, Energy Ethics, and Land Use

We depend on fossil fuel energy to run our homes, transportation, and houses of worship. Yet many of the processes required to extract these resources force an unequal burden on many of God’s people and corners of Creation. Panelists will explain the major impacts that mountaintop removal of coal, hydraulic fracturing of natural gas, and domestic oil exploration have on our communities, farms, and the environment.

Speakers: Rev. Terry Gallagher, United Church of Christ; Robin Blakeman, Presbyterian Church (USA); Paul Lubold, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Moderator: Tyler Edgar, National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Program


Contributing Sponsors & Partner Organizations