Where does my food come from?
Whether we grow our own, shop locally or take delivery from the supermarket; we take it for granted that food is available. Yet at the same time, I only have to look back to the panic buying of last spring to see how fragile our trust in the system can be. We trust, until our trust is tested.
Most of the food in our cupboards is grown or manufactured in the UK; hiding the complex nature of our food supply. Few of us have either the space or the talent to be self-sufficient. If that is true here in rural Suffolk, it is even more so in the city. Keeping a milking-cow in the garden would not go down well in suburbia. Food travels the globe. Tea and coffee don’t grow well here and I remember watching with amazement, a programme showing butter being shipped from Wales to a croissant bakery near Paris – I wonder how many of their French customers knew that.
We know that many suffer famine and that many of our own countrymen and women rely on food-banks or go hungry. We are apt to blame such problems on ‘the system’; ‘there is enough to go round, if only we shared it more fairly’. But shared or hoarded, local or traded, where does our food come from?
On the shores of Lake Galilee, 2000 years ago, Jesus was confronted by a large crowd. They had come for many reasons; to hear him speak, to be cured of sickness, to see miracles. Now they were hungry. As the day drew to a close Jesus, with what amounted to one small picnic-pack, fed the crowd, before quietly slipping away. The following day they set out to find him, doubtless looking for another free meal. Jesus disappointed them; there is, he said, much more to life than bread and fish.
Where does my food come from? My food comes from the soil of many places; from the many gifts of God in the miracle we call nature; from the hard work of men and women in diverse places, all created in God’s image, sons and daughters of God. Food, mine and yours, is a gift of God. As harvest approaches give thanks to God for this bounty; show gratitude by giving back to the natural world, and to the many people who work that we may live.
Rev Philip Payne
1 August 2021
The Notice Sheet for 1st August can be found here