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Food is so central to life – not only because all living creatures, including people, need regular nourishment, but also because it can shape our landscapes, our lifestyles and our economy.

Perhaps it is not surprising that food is highly significant in the Christian Bible.  Stories about plants, diet, animals, grains, fruits and refreshments abound.  Hebrew festivals focus on food and drink.  Bethlehem is literally the ‘town of bread’. The Eucharist and the Lord’s Prayer recognise the connections between food and God incarnate.

Caring sustainably for the land, feeding the hungry, sharing of food hospitality are all Christian duties.  Our festivals of Rogation, Harvest and Easter revolve around meals.  Food really is a matter of faith.

So churches which serve their wider communities need to take food more seriously today.

Devon, especially in rural areas has a firm food and agricultural economy, yet farmers face real uncertainties.  The land is threatened by over-development, loss of species and habitat.  The loss of top soil in some areas is immense and endangers long-term food production.

In today’s world there are many food challenges.  How to address food poverty – including obesity and diabetes? How to secure food supplies in the post-Brexit culture?  How to reduce food waste?  How to better support local farmers or producers and fair-traded products?

A recent survey in Exeter Diocese indicated that more than 100 churches and Mission Communities include food in some way in their local ministry – at Harvest, supporting food banks, planting fruit trees, using kitchens for learning and cooking, or growing food on church land.

There are signs of hope and change. Support for the farming community has always been a priority for rural churches. The growth of community-led food projects and re-planting of local, native tree orchards are two examples.  There are emerging food networks such as Food Plymouth, Exeter Food Network and Ilfracombe Food Network. Much good quality food is rescued through activities set up and sustained by local churches.

For further information and contacts see:

Devon Food Strategy

Food Plymouth

Exeter Food Network

Devon Communities Together

Devon & Cornwall Food Action (DCFA)

Local Food growing and selling e.g.

Food Banks e.g.

Food and Farming Policy, Projects, Experimentation
Webpage icon Changing Food Cultures:Challenges and Opportunities for Uk Agriculture
Webpage icon NFU Response to Government post Brexit consultation
Webpage icon Focus on Farming from DCRF
Webpage icon Overview of Global Water & Fisheries Issues
Webpage icon Food Strategy
Webpage icon Natural Capital
Webpage icon Soil Matters
Webpage icon Public Money for Public Goods
Webpage icon Agriculture: Brexit VISION to 2040
Webpage icon Just Food? Food & Farming for a Sustainable Future
Webpage icon Food Ethics and Future Food
Webpage icon Dispersed Rural Food Banks