Saturday, March 14, 2009

Minister of Food?

I had a bug put in my ear this past week that "someone" -- maybe someone with all sorts of free time, nudge-nudge, wink-wink -- would like to help coordinate a bulk food buying program a la Angel Food Ministries at our church.

Surprisingly, given my foodiness...I'm not so much interested in this. I can't get all worked up about Angel Food Ministries; I don't see that much of a savings for consumers, I don't care for its underlying theological subtext, and it's not a program that partners/helps local farmers and growers, something that is a compelling interest of mine. I know it's not all about me...but it's hard for me to promote food that we generally don't buy at our house. It's like saying, "Well, we enjoy fresh, organic, locally grown food at our place...but here's some bulk-ordered stuff from Food-R-Us for the rest of you people over there that I'm sure is good enough for you." Or maybe I'm being too scrupulous. But -- I don't see the wisdom of taking on a project that is only going to save people the kind of money they'd probably save simply by shopping more judiciously in their own hometown supermarkets, without improving upon the quality of food offered by same; know what I mean?

One of my church friends who loves to garden and can talked about having a canning/freezing day at church where the people who know how to do it can teach newbies how to preserve food themselves so they can buy fresh produce in bulk and save. I think this would be more up my alley. Or teaching people how to make meatless meals once in awhile, although I think my enrollment for such a class would be right around zero. I'd also be game to re-encourage our parish to share garden extras, excess eggs from the backyard chicken coop, and so on; that worked out pretty well last year although we did have problems with parishoners bringing in non-food junk for our giveaway table, and with one stereotypical bossy Church Lady telling another parishoner -- someone who I'm sure needs all the food help she can get -- that she was "taking too much" and needed to put some back. (Fellow Traveler overheard this conversation and, to her credit, went back to the second woman with the retrieved produce in hand and said, "Just take this. You know what you can use at your house.")

I don't know about becoming Minister of Food. I'm angsty enough thinking about my bread and soup contributions for our Lenten supper.


Beth said...

I don't think you really need to/should be involved in Angel Food either. the canning day sounds more up yoour alley, or maybe a project working with the farmers in your area. Maybe a congretion-sponsored farmers market or CSA group could work, especially if you could help with the paperwork for accepting food stamps.

PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

Go with your gut. Bad pun, I know, but I mean it. Besides, it sounds too much like the job you left.

Anonymous said...

Angel Food Ministries have come under a cloud in this area because of suspicion of financial mismanagement. I bought the pack of 10 frozen meals and am ashamed to admit I threw food away but The food was absolutly awful,unedible and I threw out the last 4 because I could not bring myself to offer such bad food to anyone. I have heard mixed comments on the other food offerings, all of which are too large for one person.
Cheers. Naomi

Beth said...

I'm pretty anti-Angel Food Ministries! The stuff might be cheap (it IS cheaper than our local grocery stores) but it's filled with fat and preservatives so it certainly isn't nutritious! If I were in your position, the decision would be simple: I'd help teach the home canning course!

Sadly, I think the Angel Food would be the more popular choice for people.

southernbooklover said...

All of the reasons you mentioned are reason enough to not volunteer for the Angel Food Ministry. As someone already mentioned, that organization has been in the news a lot because of mismanagement. Mismanagement is just that, even if the supposed beneficiaries are "poor" folks. One of my co-workers wants to get food from them and she's not "poor" at all - she just wants a lot of food at a cheap price.

There are better ways to help feed the hungry and help struggling families put healthy food on the table. Thank you for taking a stand and following your moral compass.

Here's a link to an article in today's Atlanta paper about the latest AF drama:

The Simpleton said...

What they all said. Every day there's worse news about Angel Food and its founders.

My favorite inspirational book for thinking about food ministry is "Take This Bread" by Sara Miles, who started a food pantry at St. Gregory of Nyssa in San Francisco, which includes a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits. My dream would be to combine that vision with produce from local farmers and a community garden where hungry people and not-so-hungry people (or "people hungry for justice" as the song says) work alongside each other.

It's a big job, but I'm working on trying to put it together.