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As a result of the listening sessions and dialogues that led to these reflections, we call upon the standing committees of our Conference (the Committees on Domestic Policy, International Policy, and Migration) to continue educating the Catholic community, policy makers, and the larger society about the ethical dimensions of agriculture and to follow through on our recommendations and policies with new urgency and priority. The wide range of concerns raised in our listening sessions requires the Conference to continue integrating the issues of agriculture into the agendas of its various committees and structures. We believe that this strategy of integration and collaboration will ensure a sustained, comprehensive, and necessary approach to pastoral care, policy development, and advocacy on issues of food, agriculture, trade, and international assistance.
A Word of Hope
Fundamentally, food and agriculture are about life: life for the hungry and for all who depend on farmers and farmworkers for what we eat every day. But they are also about life for farmworkers who risk their health to pick our food, sometimes not knowing what pesticides are in the field. They are about life for subsistence farmers in Africa trying to feed a family and make a meager living. They are about a way of life for farm families in the United States who are unable to meet debt payments and face selling a farm that has been in the family for generations. These reflections call all of us to make the protection of life and dignity the foundation of our choices on agriculture.
We know these are not easy times, but as believers we have hope for the days ahead:
Through the eyes of faith, these tasks are not options, but obligations. The Catholic community is discovering with new urgency that our faith calls us to strengthen our presence and witness, our advocacy and action in defense of the human life and dignity of hungry people, farmers and farmworkers, and God’s creation.
Our Conference has called all Catholics to work to ensure A Place At The Table6 for all God’s children. Agriculture is at the heart of this moral challenge. As we have pointed out:
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