Farmers face challenges that the rest of us hardly consider at all: the timing and amount of rain, the natural elements in their many forms, a changing climate, global competition in agricultural commodities & goods, constant pressure to make a viable living while also serving as good stewards of the land, and passing on the farm to the next generation. There is a great need for ethical leadership in addressing these challenges.
The Faith, Food & the Environment project calls for those involved in agricultural production to go beyond mere “bottom line” business decisions and examine a higher ethical approach to food production. This requires entering into a dialogue with the various stakeholders in farming, food production, environmental conservation and even nutrition standards.
This dedicated website about faith, farms and ethical food production, and the recent publication of The Vocation of the Agricultural Leader reflection, are part of a collaborative effort to push for a public dialogue. The specific objectives are:
- To affirm the noble and dignified vocation of farming.
- To retrieve the notion of vocation — that farming is not just an occupation, but a calling from our Creator to a relationship of “tilling and keeping the earth” (Gen. 2).
- To inspire the next generation of farmers and ranchers to see how their faith informs both their work in agriculture and their stewardship of God’s creation.
Workshops and Presentations
Catholic Rural Life has begun conducting workshops around the country on this important document and the challenges it seeks to address.
Here’s a news article about a Faith, Food & Environment workshop that took place in the Catholic Diocese of Salina, Kansas, earlier this year.
At this year’s National Farmers Union Convention, taking place this month in San Diego, CA, Jim Ennis, executive director of Catholic Rural Life, is presenting “The Vocation of the Agricultural Leader” reflection to interested NFU members.
While also on the West Coast, Ennis will join the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Fresno, CA, in a meeting with farmers and agricultural leaders. These occasions need to be repeated around the country with other faith denominations and the many kinds of agricultural leaders who wrestle with the contentious issues surrounding sustainable and ethical food production.
In late April, Ennis will travel to Texas for a workshop at a local church in the town of Big Spring. The Catholic Diocese of San Angelo is hosting this event; learn more here.
Contact Jim Ennis (Jim@CatholicRuralLife.org) if you would like him to present a talk or conduct a workshop at your event or for your group. He also welcomes your comments and reactions to “The Vocation of the Agricultural Leader” reflection, as well as other material found at this Faith, Food & Environment website.
Hard copies of The Vocation of the Agricultural Leader are available for purchase at the online store of Catholic Rural Life.