Report Finds Faith Organizations Building Community, Improving Health Through Healthy Foods
The report, Faith and Food: Action Strategies for Healthy Eating, found that churches, synagogues and other faith organizations throughout
“Faith communities are important supporters of healthy eating because of their strong presence in neighborhoods and their commitment to the well-being of community members,” said
IATP joined forces with Blue Cross’ Prevention Minnesota initiative, which works to improve the health of Minnesotans by combating the root causes of cancer and heart disease, of which unhealthy eating is a leading factor. Physical inactivity and unhealthy eating combined contribute to obesity, cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Together, they are the second leading cause of preventable death and disease in
“With two-thirds of Americans overweight or obese, we need many solutions to stop this alarming trend,” said Dr.
Case studies in the report include:
- St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in
Bolivar, Mo., manages three gardens and three orchards from which they harvest and provide both fresh and preserved fruits and vegetables for anyone who wants them.
- Guardian Angels Catholic Church in
Oakdale, Minn., manages a volunteer-based community garden that provides fruits and vegetables for local food shelves.
- Taqwa Eco-Food, a food cooperative in
Chicago, Ill., works to meet the needs of people wanting to purchase local meats raised and processed within the principles of Islam.
Baptist Churchand Bethlehem Baptist Church of Columbia, S.C., runs the “Dash of Faith” cooking program to help church cooks prepare healthier foods.
- Sixteen Interfaith Communities in
Eugene, Ore., connect urban residents with local farmers and community-supported agriculture (CSA) farms in which residents purchase shares and receive deliveries of harvested fruits and vegetables.
- St. Paul Jewish Community Center in
St. Paul, Minn., arranges for members to purchase shares in a local CSA farm that uses farming practices based on Jewish beliefs.
- Plymouth Congregational Church and Stevens Square Community Organization of
Minneapolis, Minn., operate a community garden, food shelf and farmers market at the church.
- Central Presbyterian Church in downtown
St. Paul, Minn., provides a weekly healthy community lunch program for members and the surrounding community.
- Upper Sand Mountain Parish of northeastern
Alabamaoperates a food pantry, community and church gardens, cannery and healthy eating education program.
- Body and Soul healthy eating program throughout the U.S. helps African-American congregations improve eating among their members.
- The Hindu Temple of
Minnesotain Maple Grove, Minn., organizes a weekend healthy lunch program for both members and non-members.
IATP is working to identify and expand opportunities for faith communities to support local foods, sustainable agriculture and healthy eating. They invite others to share the efforts of their own faith community to improve access to healthy food by visiting www.iatp.org/faith and adding their stories to complement the case studies highlighted in this report.
The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy works locally and globally at the intersection of policy and practice to ensure fair and sustainable food, farm and trade systems. www.iatp.org.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of
SOURCE Blue Cross and Blue Shield of