Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 2 (Summer 2016) - Page 97

VOLUME 11, NUMBER 2 A JOURNAL FOR THE THEOLOGY OF CULTURE neighbors, both next door and around the world, and it affects the farmers who raise our food. Healing our relationship with the food we eat and the land upon which it is raised does not repair our relationship with creation alone. It repairs our relationships with one another and enables us to better live out God’s Kingdom here on earth. This may seem like an overstatement, but with the majority of food in the United States coming from factory farms and CAFOs, local ecosystems have been replaced by one gigantic worldwide ecosystem. Suddenly tomatoes and strawberries are available in December, and winter squash and sweet potatoes in July. The lure and lie of the supermarket is its biodiversity. Save for that first Garden (Gn 2:8), no single ecosystem boasts the ability to supply humankind with this sort of variety. Unfortunately, the existence of a global food supply means we can trick ourselves into thinking it is natural to eat fresh tomatoes in the middle of winter, and winter squash in the dead of summer. Additionally, we have become accustomed to the idea that food, and meat especially, is not that expensive. The difficulty here is that the American food system, productive as it appears to be, has failed to factor in the great cost of that productivity on the land that supports it. “The costs are in loss of soil, in loss of farms and farmers, in soil and water pollution, in food pollution, in the decay of country towns and communities, and in the increasing vulnerability of the food supply system. The statistics of productivity alone cannot show these costs.”48 Scripture states that creation feels the pain of its broken relationship with humanity, groaning to “be set free from its bondage to corruption” (Rm 8:20). God placed humankind in creation, and because of freedom in Christ believers can “exercise dominion without being destructive.”49 Christfollowers more than anyone should live in right relationship with all of creation. Given the global impact of factory farming and industrial agriculture, this should be especially true of the food we eat. How Then Should We Eat? In light of this, how then should we eat? This is a challenging question given the current supermarket system for acquiring groceries and the fact that most 48. Berry, Home Economics, 128. 49. Schaeffer and Middelman, Pollution, 72. 94