It is integral to human development to use the resources of the earth, and it is integral to human dignity to exercise ingenuity in doing so. The processes of technological development, however, can sometimes obscure the fundamental reality that God is He who provides our daily bread. “For in Him we live, move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Food reveals our complete dependence upon the earth for our lives; food production and agricultural development do not displace the presence of God, but allow us to participate in God’s care for us.
Agricultural leaders can help larger society forces to evaluate the agricultural goods and services we will need to achieve common goals related to hunger, nutrition, human health, poverty, equity, livelihoods, and environmental sustainability. We are encouraged by the unique international effort that led to an International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (2009). Their synthesis report made clear that in the changing world we now live in, “It will be important to assess the potential environmental, health and social impacts of any technology, and to implement the appropriate regulatory frameworks.”
Given the growing social and economic disparities among the world’s farmers, it is right to ask if agricultural science and technology as an institution is a cause to that. This requires a forthright examination. Who will lead agricultural science and technology to have an impact on development of rural communities (including and respecting indigenous peoples)? Such a re-imagining of our food chain demands the mature efforts of leaders working in deliberate co-operation with all of the members of the production process, including farm managers, food processors, distributors, and financial institutions.
Technologies can serve our values or work against them; hence, we need to carefully choose technologies and direct our research endeavors to build human community, increase economic opportunity, and protect God’s creation.
So to reflect: How might understanding my work as one co-operating in God’s provident care shape my approach to my daily tasks?
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