More than twenty years ago I met Brother David Andrews, then the executive director of National Catholic Rural Life organization. I loved the group’s slogan, “Eating is a Moral Act.” One of the several handouts the group produced depicted a farmer’s worn out gloved hands wrapped in barbed wire, a brilliant portrait of hopelessness, by Bill Schaefer. Today, nothing much has changed. Small and mid-sized family farmers and ranchers are still no more than indentured servants to the food monopoly and rural communities continue to decline. Our nation is fully dependent upon big corporations that source food globally.
However, it also feels like a real movement might finally be building for a more just, clean, and safe food system, especially with so many young people now collaborating to fight the abusive corporate power and demanding the economy serve the people, rather than the people serving the economy. There is a lot more discussion now around stewardship, husbandry, and regenerative agriculture, which only many, many more people on the land can deliver. Maybe it just had to get a lot worse before it could get better?
Brother Dave passed a few years ago, and he is greatly missed. But his important work lives through his many friends and acquaintances, as we keep his mission of fairness and justice always foremost in our minds.
The “Eating is a Moral Act” card follows:
See my 2001 article – Eating is a Moral Act.