June 11, 2017

What is a Food Swamp?

A new phrase is showing up around the discussions of food deserts. Food Swamp.

Food Swamps are communities that are flooded with unhealthy, highly processed, low-nutrient food combined with no access to healthier food within walking distance.

To get a better understanding of the difference watch this short film from The Perennial Plate


Faith communities that reside in area that are known to be food deserts or food swaps have an opportunity to make huge nutritional difference in their neighborhoods. Starting or supporting community gardens or hosting farmers markets or CSA drop offs can dramatically increase access to fresh wholesome food to your community.


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November 16, 2016

Plan a “no waste” Thanksgiving

Did you know that nearly half of all food in the United States is thrown away before it is consumed? The way we produce, use, and waste food creates nearly one-third of U.S. carbon emissions. Per-capita food waste has grown by about 50 percent since 1974, and yet there are 50 million people in the United States who don’t have enough to eat on a regular basis. So this holiday season, get in the habit of buying only what you plan to eat. Check out this great Thanksgiving Food Planning Calculator to help you plan exactly how much food you need to buy.


Quick Facts:

  • Approximately 40 percent of food in the U.S. goes to waste. Food and Agriculture Organization
  • Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tons — gets lost or wasted. Food and Agriculture Organization
  • Every year, consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food (222 million tons) as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tons). Food and Agriculture Organization
  • Food waste that goes to the landfill breaks down anaerobically and produces methane; methane is 21 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas. (Environmental Protection Agency)
  • In 2008, the EPA estimated that food waste cost roughly $1.3 billion to dispose of in landfills. (Journal of Consumer Affairs)
  • In 2010, 48.8 million Americans lived in food-insecure households. Economic Research Service
  • Americans are throwing out the equivalent of $165 billion each year. Natural Resources Defense Council
  • According to an estimate by Feeding America, more than 6 billion pounds of fresh produce go unharvested or unsold each year. Natural Resources Defense Council
  • Reducing food waste by 20 percent would provide enough food to feed 25 million people. Natural Resources Defenses Council


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November 10, 2016

Have a Climate Friendly Thanksgiving

This year, celebrate the holidays in a way that honors Creation, keeps your family healthy, and minimizes your carbon footprint. Interfaith Power & Light has compiled these ideas for creating a climate-friendly, healthy Thanksgiving feast.

Get some tips on what you can do to green your holiday meals.

  • Host a cool harvest potluck
  • Eat less meat
  • Choose organic and humanely raised
  • Eat locally grown
  • Reduce packaging
  • Leave fewer leftovers

Learn  more on our Thanksgiving tips page

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October 16, 2016

Celebrating World Food Day



Today is World Food Day. It is a day to come together and declare that we will end world hunger. World Food Day celebrates the creation of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on October 16, 1945 in Quebec, Canada. First established in 1979, World Food Day has since then been observed in almost every country by millions of people.

In a world of plenty, 805 million people, one in nine worldwide, live with chronic hunger. The costs of hunger and malnutrition fall heavily on the most vulnerable. Even in the U.S., one of the richest countries in the world, one in seven Americans – 14.3 percent – does not have enough to eat.

This year FAO ‘s theme for World Food Day is focusing on how climate change is effecting our food and agriculture.



One of the biggest issues related to climate change is food security. The world’s poorest – many of whom are farmers, fishers and pastoralists – are being hit hardest by higher temperatures and an increasing frequency in weather-related disasters.

At the same time, the global population is growing steadily and is expected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050. To meet such a heavy demand, agriculture and food systems will need to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change and become more resilient, productive and sustainable. This is the only way that we can ensure the well being of ecosystems and rural populations and reduce emissions.

Growing food in a sustainable way means adopting practices that produce more with less in the same area of land and use natural resources wisely. It also means reducing food losses before the final product or retail stage through a number of initiatives including better harvesting, storage, packing, transport, infrastructure, market mechanisms, as well as institutional and legal frameworks.

Want to take part in the fight to end hunger and help farmers be resilient to climate change?

  • Join one of the hunger walks or hunger banquets across the nation
  • Start a food drive
  • Host a Cool Harvest Potluck and educate other about hunger and food issues
  • Discuss with your faith community about starting a community garden
  • Set aside space in your congregation to become a CSA drop off or farmers market site
  • Support state and national policies that support small farmers, reduce antibiotic resistance, and feed the most vulnerable.
  • Look into how at home and in your faith communities you can reduce food waste
  • Reduce your carbon footprint by reducing the amount of meat you consume




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October 14, 2016

2015 Cool Congregations Challenge Winner – First United Methodist Church




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First United Methodist Church of Omaha Nebraska wanted to educate the congregation on everyone’s own complicity in global warming. How to get congregants to look at their own lifestyles and become aware of our impact on the environment.

They decided to help the congregation become aware of how much greenhouse gas was produced by food waste that is in the landfills. They worked with a company that has a vermiculure process (worms) to compost food waste in Omaha. Many bulletin inserts, meeting, presentations, and posters in the narthex later, they started to sign families up to begin bringing their compostable bags of food to church on Sunday. The goal was 50 families.

Their eco group was blown away by the 65 families that signed up to bring their food wastes to church. Their pastors invited the Kim Morrow Nebraska IPL director to preach and had a children’s message with real red wigglers to explain to kids (and adults) the process. The kids were both grossed out and all wanted to touch the worms. They also had a forum for all the adult and youth Sunday school classes about environmental stewardship. All of this on their first Sunday of collecting food waste! Now, seven months later, up to 80 families are participating and filling the 500 gallon drum weekly with food waste.

Their church’s eco team wanted a project that would educate about the need to change our lifestyles to be more sustainable. The need to be accountable for our own individual and community responsibility for green house gas production. Food waste was the means to an end. People, who signed up to bring in their bags of food waste, were amazed at how much food was thrown away each week. One 80+ year old was being helped with the ten pound of food waste she brought one week (she collects from all of her condo neighborhood) and she said, “This is such a fun way to make the world a better place.”   They have had two other area churches ask for their process and plans for this composting project.

First United Methodist Church entered this project into the Cool Congregations Challenge and WON $1,000. If you have a great project going on at your congregation enter it into the 2016 challenge an you could win your congregation $1,000!

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