Publicity for the book was given an early boost by BBC presenter Clare Balding, who invited ARC’s Secretary General Martin Palmer to talk about it on her Radio 2 Sunday morning programme in May. She said of Faith in Food: ‘If you care about what you put on your plate, this is a book to savour.’
You can read a press release about the book, which has a foreword by HRH The Prince of Wales, and see some of the stunning images and artwork here.
We compiled the book, which focuses on the six major faiths: Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam and Sikhism, in response to requests from delegates at Faith in Food events in New York, Delhi and London.
People said they found some of the issues around the sourcing of faithfully produced food quite daunting: global hunger and poverty, land management, GM crops, climate change and farm-animal welfare. And then they simply did not know what they could do to make a difference as an individual, as a faith group and as a community.
With that mandate we contacted experts – some we knew, some were strangers – to ask if they would write an article for Faith in Food. These included Joyce D’Silva from Compassion in World Farming, Michael Gidney at the Fairtrade Foundation, Helen Browning of the Soil Association, Patrick Holden, founder of the Sustainable Food Trust, Barbara Frost at WaterAid, Nigel Savage from Hazon and Sister Pat Daly of the Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment.
We also asked specially selected authors to write about the role of food within their faith. We were pleasantly surprised that all these extremely busy people agreed to help us – as did a number of photographers – for no fee.
‘I never realised I could eat my way to a better world’
Inspiring stories came from all over the world – from Christian urban gardeners in Philadelphia, USA, to the Buddhist monks who rescue farm animals in Nepal. We highlighted a Soil Association’s Food For Life Partnership school in Somerset, England, which grows its own fruit and vegetables and runs cookery classes for pupils and their parents. And we featured the gardening and tree-nursery projects run by our faith partners in sub-Saharan Africa.
In addition to these fun yet information stories, we set out Calls to Action, inviting readers to make small changes to how they eat, grow and buy food and suggesting how those changes could be incorporated into their acts of worship and celebration.
Reactions to the book have been extremely positive – Sister Sharon Havelak of the Sisters of St Francis of Sylvania in Ohio, USA, wrote a blog about it. Her friends and colleagues Sister Jeremias Stinson and Sister Grace Ellen Urban, who grow food for the homeless all year round, were featured in the book. At the end of her blog, in which she describes Faith in Food as ‘challenging… attractive… and succinct’, Sister Sharon said: ‘I’ve never realised I could eat my way to a better world.’
Faith in Food – changing the world one meal at a time, price £14.99, is available from Bene Factum Publishing, bookshops and online retailers.
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