Originally posted on the Global Circle blog.
I think of myself as a foodie. Maybe not a spend-25%-of-my-salary-on-pickled-lamb-tongue omnivore—not even someone who would choose pickled lamb tongue off the menu—but someone who buys organic, goes to the farmer’s market on Sundays, and appreciates not only how my food tastes, but how it was grown, made, packaged and sold. I also read enough to know that the story of how my food got to my plate is hardly straightforward, shaped by a tangled web of political, economic, and cultural forces. (Global ones, too: just see where your salad comes from.) Read More
Farm Bill debates are picking up in Washington, so now is the time to reach out to members of Congress and share our vision for a just Farm Bill. People committed to AJWS’s work in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago have been organizing other AJWS supporters and activists to participate in meetings with congressional representatives. These meetings are a rare and exciting opportunity to speak directly with elected officials to ensure that our voices heard. Benjamin Singer shared he thoughts about his meeting with senators in Chicago…
Rabbinical students from AJWS's Rabbinical Students' Delegation to Mexico lobby on Capitol Hill.
Originally posted on The Jew and the Carrot.
This is the story of a fishpond.
Not just any old fishpond, but a fishpond in Muchucuxcah (Pronounce the x like a sh), Mexico, four hours west of Cancun.
I was in Muchucuxcah for ten days in January with American Jewish World Service’s Rabbinical Students Delegation. We were there to learn about global poverty, to see quality development work firsthand and to work on said fishpond. Read More
Originally posted on The Jew and the Carrot.
“This just makes common sense, and—I think—it makes Jewish sense.”
That is how Timi Gerson of the American Jewish World Service (AJWS), closed the House of Representatives policy briefing organized by the Jewish Working Group for a Just Farm Bill.
Volunteer Summer participants advocate for a just Farm Bill in Congress
When I applied for AJWS’s Volunteer Summer program in Uganda, I knew that my stay in Ramogi Village would be temporary: seven weeks of volunteering, cultural exchange, education and travel. I never predicted that the experience would permanently impact the way I live my life—then, as a regular college student, and now as a proud Jewish global citizen.
On Monday, February 27th, I joined over 40 AJWS alumni to lobby Congress to reform the 2012 U.S. Farm Bill and create a more flexible and sustainable approach to international food aid.
Pursue's event "Chewing on Food Justice: The Farm Bill and You" - New York City, February 2012
Originally published on Pursue: Action for a Just World.
If you are of a certain age (let’s say born between 1970 and 1985), I suspect there’s a better than average chance that your introduction to the American lawmaking process came courtesy of an animated and singing piece of legislation. This plucky bill overcame his fear of Death by Committee and his long, long trip to Capitol City to get signed into law, while in the process demystifying the legislative process for a generation of young viewers.
If you’ve been following recent discussion over the 2012 Farm Bill, you might notice a few things that differ from the Schoolhouse Rock account. Our paper protagonist never contended with sinister lobbyists or smoky back room deals–not to mention concerned citizens who want bills to reflect their faith and values. Fortunately, no such omissions were made at last Monday’s Chewing on Food Justice: The Farm Bill and You event, where the Pursue team assembled an impressive coterie of experts on the Farm Bill to educate and inspire the assembled crowd. Read More
Contradictions are popping up a lot around here lately: By now, you’ve likely heard AJWS say “U.S. food aid saves lives but it’s also causing more hunger.” We’re often uncomfortable with contradictions like these, and instead, crave clear messages that we can embrace: hunger is bad. Aid is good. Too bad things can’t be that simple.
It turns out that food aid has been a complicated topic all the way back to biblical times, when the imprisoned patriarch Joseph was charged with devising a plan for avoiding a hunger crisis in Egypt. He decided to hoard food during the “seven years of plenty” and distribute it to hungry Egyptians during the “seven years of famine”—the world’s earliest example of in-kind food aid. Read More
Through its description of the devastating famine in ancient Egypt, Parshat Vayigash suggests two models that can inform our response to hunger today. By this point in the biblical narrative, Joseph, Pharaoh’s trusted vizier, has been reunited with his brothers in Egypt. The rest of his family, however, is still suffering from terrible famine in Canaan. Pharaoh’s solution to the family’s plight is to invite the whole clan to move to Egypt, where he will support them in this time of need. Read More
In modern-day America, Thanksgiving is not usually about thanks. It is about food.
Families come for the turkey, the pumpkin pie, the cranberry sauce and the company. If there is a time for reflection, it takes second billing to football, chatting and dessert.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But what if we made our Thanksgiving meal an opportunity to give real thanks – or, even better, to give back?
What if, in addition to enjoying full plates of food, we placed a single empty plate on our table to remind ourselves of the millions of people who cannot feast like us? What if, in addition to swapping family stories and jokes, we took a moment to remember stories like that of Jonas Deronzil, a Haitian farmer who struggled to feed his family after cheap rice imported from America with the best of intentions undercut his profits and put his livelihood at risk? Read More
AJWS has been saying for a while that shipping surplus U.S. food thousands of miles to developing countries is about as useless in ending global hunger as, well, sending them our old T-shirts.
According to this article in Foreign Policy Magazine, here’s a great acronym for the leftovers people send to the poor under the guise of helping: SWEDOW (“stuff we don’t want”).
Charles Kenny makes it clear and compelling why casting our SWEDOW on the Global South isn’t going to foster sustainable change—it just clears out our closets and the coffers of U.S. farming surplus to make room for the next useless T-shirt or bumper crop. Read More