Gearing up in the new year

Our faithful followers of this website on Faith, Food and the Environment no doubt know that we promised the release of “The Vocation of the Agricultural Leader” by this time. As noted in a previous posting, we created a section on this website titled Reflections which provides some of the text and content of the forthcoming document.

The delay in the release of the “official” or final document is due to a longer than expected review by our various partners. (Click here for a listing of our project Organizers.) Please bear with us as we await final comments to the nearly completed document.

Once “The Vocation of the Agricultural Leader” is published, the next step is to organize a series of events or meetings to further discuss and act on our call for sustainable changes to how food is produced while maintaining the integrity of creation. We have in mind a set of resources that will propose a “future of agriculture” that is based on sustainable practices that also regenerate the number of family farms and the health of the soil.

In the meantime, we can only point you to other web-based resources to whet your appetite and keep you informed on a number of fronts.

One such information resource is FoodTank. You can sign up for their emails where they often provide interesting lists of organizations, books and other resources that are striving to improve the global food system. For instance, as 2015 ended and the new year began, FoodTank selected 16 stories that they felt represented exciting trends for 2016. (You’ll see links for more details about each of the stories they have identified.)

FoodTank promises to continue covering important food issues in 2016, especially in their deep concern for equity and sustainability in the food system to drive positive change.

The other site I would like to mention is the web-based resource called The Economics of Ecosystems & Biodiversity (or TEEB for short). This international collaboration has a specific ‘TEEB for Agriculture & Food’ research project that has brought together economists, business leaders, agriculturalists and experts in biodiversity and ecosystems to provide a comprehensive economic evaluation of the ‘eco-agri-food systems’ complex.

The TEEB researchers are examining whether the economic environment in which farmers operate is distorted by significant externalities, both negative and positive, and a lack of awareness of dependency on natural capital. A “double-whammy” of economic invisibility of impacts from both ecosystems and agri-food systems is a root cause of increased fragility and lower resilience to shocks in both ecological and human systems.

There is a great deal to think about or, as some might say, to chew on. But this complex of factors – natural environments, human institutions, physical capital, societal relationships – must be considered in dynamic interactions for the health and dignity of all people and the integrity and good of the planet.

For our small part, we want to be part of that dialogue for a new agriculture that sustains all living things.