Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 2 (Summer 2016) - Page 98

ATONEMENT, AGRICULTURE, AND ANIMAL FEEDING - Kirkpatrick Americans live in cities.50 One step might be to choose organic produce and meat rather than conventional; however, industry and capitalism have coopted this term, raised the price of their product, and generally continue to raise produce and livestock using the same industrial agricultural model and tightly packed CAFOs as their over-fertilized and medicated conventional brethren, simply sans chemicals.51 Another option would be to participate in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). This allows one to purchase a share in a local farm, which both connects one to the local food chain and reestablishes the relationship between the consumer and the farmer that has been lost in the last century. Those who participate in CSAs eat seasonally from small, local farms, and many offer meat options along with their produce offerings. Many CSAs accept food stamps and/or offer discounted pricing to families with lower incomes, making nutritious food more affordable to those who need it. It is not enough to ask what we should eat. The question must extend to how—how should we eat? How should we prepare and share that which we have been given? In 1 Corinthians, Paul rebukes the church in Corinth for the way they have abused the Lord’s Supper. Instead of an open table where all believers are equal and all can share in what everyone has brought, they turned the Lord’s Supper into a place of division (1 Cor 11:17–34). Our tables, too, have become divided or even forgotten. They have become a gathering place for stacks of mail, cast of jackets, book bags, and briefcases rather than a place where family and friends gather together to share food and invest in one another through conversation and quality time. We must stop believing that words like “cheap” and “fast” communicate anything resembling quality food, and that it spells anything but long-term disaster for our food supply. This does not mean that, in order for humankind to repair their relationship with the land and the food that comes from it, everyone must suddenly become a gourmet chef. It does, however, invite us to slow down and truly look at both the short and long-term consequences of our food choices. Would one be so inclined to grab a quick meal from a fast food or even a chain restaurant if one knew that doing so meant long-term damage to both one’s own body and the earth that would take centuries to repair? We 50. Although I am discussing American consumers, it is worth noting that our choices at the grocery store have a global impact. To eat out of season requires that produce be grown not only around the United States, but around the world in order to meet our out-of-season grocery wants and desires. 51. Cf. Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, specifically ch. 9, entitled “Big Organic,” pp.134–184, for an in-depth discussion of the change in the term “organic.” 95