For I Was Hungry & You Gave Me Food: Pastoral Reflection - Part 1


As Catholic bishops, pastors, and teachers, we seek to address agriculture through the lens of our faith because so much is at stake in moral and human terms. Food sustains life itself; it is not just another product. Providing food for all is a Gospel imperative, not just another policy choice. For many, farming is a way of life, not just another business or industry. Agriculture is the way farmers, ranchers, and farmworkers provide a decent life for their families and help feed a hungry world. It is not just another economic activity.

Agriculture is different because it touches all our lives, wherever we live or whatever we do. It is about how we feed our own families, and the whole human family. It is about how we treat those who put food on our table and those who do not have enough food. It is about what is happening to food and farming, rural communities and villages, in the face of increasing concentration, new technology, and growing globalization in agriculture. For believers, and especially for Catholics, who turn to the Scripture and church teaching for guidance, these questions and choices in the world of agriculture have fundamental ethical and human dimensions.

Too many in our Church and nation do not know the world of agriculture. For some, agriculture is a distant reality, little seen and less understood. When we go to the supermarket, we rarely think about where our food comes from, who produces it, who harvests it, or what it takes to process, package, and distribute it. When many of us think about agriculture at all, we worry about the economic cost of groceries and not the environmental cost to our land or the human cost to farmers, farmworkers, and rural communities in the United States and around the world.