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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Labor Day Weekend of Prayer, Fasting and Action for Fair Food

Labor Day Weekend of Prayer, Fasting and Action for Fair Food

 WendysThis Labor Day Weekend, the PC(USA) through the Presbyterian Hunger Program/Campaign for Fair Food and the Human Trafficking Roundtable invite you to a time of prayer, fasting and action for Fair Food.  These “sermon seeds and the resources below have been prepared to assist you in this spiritual undertaking.
For generations the Florida tomato fields have been characterized by sub-poverty wages, lack of rights and human rights abuses including cases of modern slavery.  But a new day has dawned in the Florida fields thanks to the tireless work of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and people of faith and conscience across the country.  The Fair Food Program is ensuring new rights, dramatically improving workers’ wages and is restructuring the tomato industry to ensure farmworkers’ human rights and corporate responsibility.  But Wendy’s and the supermarket industry have yet to support this proven program.
On this Labor Day weekend, we encourage Presbyterians in the southeastern United States to focus upon Publix Supermarket and Presbyterians elsewhere in the country to focus upon Wendy’s.

You are invited to
  •  Pray for Fair Food.  Pray for farmworkers laboring in the fields, for the continued flourishing of the Fair Food Program, for more corporate buyers to join the Program, for the work of the Fair Food Standards Council that oversees the program, for our mission partners the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, and for the church as it bears witness. Prayer and Worship Resources.
  •  Fast for Fair Food.  Fasting is a spiritually and socially transforming practice.  You are welcome to fast as you are able – a day or two; a meal or more; or from other activities that are non-food related (abstain for example from texting for a period of time).  Use this time to learn more about the Campaign for Fair Food and the church’s work together with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.  Reflect upon the contribution made by farmworkers to our food system.  Consider the ways in which we are connected to farmworkers, corporate leaders and producers of food.  Learn more about the Fair Food Program and how it is a model for addressing and preventing slavery in the fields and in corporate supply chains.  Learn more about how Wendy’s has responded and how Publix has responded to our calls to join the Fair Food Program. Read Fasting Resources, prepared for the Fast for Fair Food in 2012, fasting “101” and an essay on fasting as a spiritually and socially transforming practice.
  •  Act for Fair Food.  Sometime this weekend (perhaps after church on Sunday!, take action at either Wendy’s or Publix.  Drop off a manager’s letter, send an email, place a phone call!  Click here for Wendy’s take action.  Click here for Publix take action.  Hold a peaceful witness outside the store.  Write an op-ed to your local newspaper, lifting up the new day that has dawned in the Florida tomato fields because of the Fair Food Program.  And then drop us a line and let us know what you did – and send a photo if that’s possible too!

Additional Labor Day Sunday resources from Interfaith Action, the Immokalee-based group that coordinates nationwide religious support for the CIW.

 Quick Background
The PC(USA) has been a partner in the Campaign for Fair Food since its earliest days more than a decade ago.  Spearheaded by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, the Campaign brings farmworkers and consumers together to advance human rights for farmworkers and transparency and accountability in the Florida tomato industry.  Florida supplies over 90 percent of the nation’s winter domestic tomato between the months of October – May.
 The Campaign has given birth to the Fair Food Program, a collaborative, comprehensive and sustainable program among the farmworkers who harvest tomatoes, the vast majority of Florida tomato growers who produce the tomatoes, eleven massive retailers in fast-food, foodservice and supermarkets who sell these tomatoes.
 The Fair Food Program is monitored by the Fair Food Standards Council and impacts 100,000 farmworkers every season.  The Program and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers have been widely lauded for advancing farmworkers’ human rights.

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Our Coffees Tell A Story - New Coffee from Equal Exchange

Flower Flower Our Coffes Tell a Story Butterfly New story coffees
A proud mother in Uganda sends all her children to school. In Peru, farmers come together and build their own successful business. A Nicaraguan woman now owns her own coffee farm. Share stories of love, power and hope with your community in a whole new way.
  • Everyone will be delighted with these beautiful, new coffees!
  • Each colorful can tells a powerful story and contains a delicious blend.
  • Perfect for gifts, fundraising and enjoying at home…
  • Oliva Kishero

    Oliva Kishero

    Map of Uganda Oliva is a coffee farmer, a proud mother of seven, an entrepreneur, and a leader of women. She's come a long way. When Oliva joined her coffee co-op, no other women were members. She then helped other women join and even started a women's group with a small savings and loan program. With income from farming and side projects, she has sent all of her children to boarding school. Her motivation? Helping other women build a better future for their children. "It is out of my heart," she says.

    Honoring proud mothers and families everywhere.

  • A Mighty Morning in Peru, Cooperativa Nor Andino Florizel Da Cunia Quevedo

    Florizel Da Cunia Quevedo

    Map of Peru When farmers organize, they become more powerful. Fifteen years ago in the mountains of Peru, a small group of isolated coffee farmers joined together and formed a co-op. Today, Cooperativa Nor Andino has 7,000 members with access to pre-harvest credit, training on organic farming, and health services. Together they own a state-of-the-art processing mill, and they have diversified their farms to include sugar, fruit, and cacao. Working together, the farmers of Cooperativa Nor Andino start their mornings strong.

    Start your morning strong with this tasty blend.

  • Many Hands, One Harvest in Nicaragua, Tierra Nueva Co-op Esmeralda Mora Martinez

    Esmeralda Mora Martinez

    Map of Nicaragua In a region where most women don't own land or businesses, the coffee farmers of Tierra Nueva are joining hands to change women's lives. Through the co-op, women participate in leadership training to learn new skills and gain confidence. Tierra Nueva has also used coffee income to form a credit union that gives loans specifically to women. As more women become farm owners, they build better futures through each coffee harvest.

    From their hands to yours, enjoy this delicious harvest.

  • Bounty for All in El Salvador, Las Colinas Co-op Members of Las Colinas

    Members of Las Colinas

    Map of El Salvador In a country once torn apart by civil war, the farmers of Las Colinas have grown coffee against all odds. In 1980, government land reform gave many poor Salvadorans their own land. But without technical assistance or access to bank credit, most of these farmers went bankrupt. And yet the farmers of Las Colinas co-op persevered. They learned how to run a business. They learned how to farm successfully. Now they farm collectively on land once owned by one wealthy plantation owner. And, they all share in the bounty of the coffee harvest.

    Share in the bounty with every cup.

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Action Alert: House Proposes Devastating Cuts to SNAP; Hunger Programs

Action Alert: House Proposes Devastating Cuts to SNAP; Hunger programs

On August 1st, despite your protests to keep Nutrition in the Farm Bill and to protect SNAP from cuts, and after failing to pass a bill that cut $20 billion from SNAP, the House of Representatives doubled the malice by introducing a SNAP bill with $40 billion in cuts to the most effective anti-hunger program at the federal level (SNAP = Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program). With these $40 billion in cuts, the PC(USA) Office of Public Witness strongly opposed this legislation.  This will leave many people hungry, with nowhere left to turn but to already overstressed food pantries and soup kitchens. This legislation is expected to come up for a vote in early September when the House returns to Washington from its August recess.  Join us in resolutely opposing these cuts to nutrition programs.
According to Bread for the World, “the previous proposal of cutting $20 billion from SNAP is equivalent to eliminating half of all the charitable food distribution by churches and food banks over a 10-year period. The legislation that is currently under discussion would double that, substantially increasing the suffering of 47 million Americans who depend on SNAP to keep hunger at bay.” The earlier proposed $20 billion SNAP cut would drop at least 2 million people from the program, reduce benefits for more than 800,000 families, and leave 210,000 children without access to free school meals. Cuts to food aid programs not only cost lives and health but they also hinder our collective and common strength to reach millions of people in need. These cuts must not pass the House of Representatives.
As the Farm Bill continues through the conference committee process, where Senate and House members will come together to hammer out a compromise bill, it is extremely important that they continue to hear from you, their constituents, urging them to support a better Farm Bill.  As Presbyterians, we support amendments that will increase access to healthy food for all people, focus on proper stewardship of the environment, build up and support rural communities, and limit crop subsidies to agribusiness.
Click here to send a message to your your Representative and ask him/her to support a faithful Farm Bill
Keep Advocating!
Thanks for your continuing advocacy for a better Farm Bill, and to prevent cuts to SNAP.  As this bill advances, it will probably go to a conference committee with the Senate, where disagreements, in theory, will be reconciled.  The House and Senate differences over SNAP funding will be a key part of the discussion.  The conference committee will then report out the compromise bill and send it back to both House and Senate for another vote. The future of the Farm Bill in the House of Representatives is unclear. However, what is clear is that we must continue to push for a Farm Bill ensures access to food for hungry people, provides an ample safety net targeted to those small and mid-sized farmers who most need it, builds up rural communities and their economies, and protects the integrity of God’s creation through robust conservation programs and sustainable agriculture. 
For more information on the Farm Bill and PC(USA) advocacy, please visit our Farm Bill blog posts
To link directly to this email’s content, please link to this blog post.

Action Alert PCUSA Office of Public Witness

Third Thursdays for Israel-Palestine: Meet with your Member

This August, tell your Members of Congress in person that peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians need to be founded on justice.

In recent days, there has been a lot of attention on the launch of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. While many have lauded this development, core concerns will need to be addressed in order for there to be a just and sustainable resolution of the conflict. Without these foundations of justice, negotiations could be used as a pretense for ignoring ongoing injustices.

Reports indicate, for example, that Israel is set to approve as many as several thousand housing units over the coming months in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. In late June, the Israeli Knesset (parliament) began consideration of the Prawer Plan, which would expel more than 30,000 Palestinian Bedouins from the Negev desert region and confiscate much of their land.

These kinds of actions work directly against a vision of sustainable and just peace. Rather than seeing this as inevitable, the U.S. government would do well to heed the action taken by the European Union which announced in mid-July that member nations would not do business with Israeli entities in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem.

If the U.S. were to follow suit, it would send a clear signal that the settlements are illegal and are not to be used as a negotiating tactic against the Palestinians. A just resolution of the conflict will require:
* A commitment to respect human rights;
* An end to the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem;
* A shared Jerusalem;
* An end to discriminatory confiscation and distribution of land and water resources and the dismantling of the illegal separation   wall; and
* Justice and security for Palestinian refugees.

The prophet Jeremiah decried those who say "'peace, peace, when there is no peace" (6:14). The biblical vision of peace rests on the solid foundation of justice and right relationships. Indeed, Jeremiah urges the people to seek "the good way": "Thus says the Lord: Stand at the crossroads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way lies; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls" (6:16).

To see that peace is founded on a solid foundation of justice and right relationships, the 216th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) affirmed:

The security of Israel is inexorably dependent on making peace with their Palestinian neighbors, by negotiating and reaching a just and equitable resolution to the conflict that respects international law, human rights, the sanctity of life, and dignity of persons, land property, safety of home, freedom of movement, the rights of refugees to return to their homeland, the right of people to determine their political future, and to live in peace and prosperity.

Meet with your members to ensure that the rights of all Israelis and Palestinians will be protected to achieve true and lasting peace!

The August recess (August 5 through September 6) is a great time to visit local offices of your representative and senators. They need to hear from you and other constituents that you strongly support peace between Israelis and Palestinians, but that this peace must be based on a foundation of justice.

Tips for making in-district visits

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