Eco-Justice Ministries
   Eco-Justice: "the well-being of all humankind on a thriving Earth"

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Eco-Curriculum Review for the title
Food and Faith

This is the full report format.

Short Description:   In a rare collection of voices, the authors of Food and Faith prompt us to explore the meaning of our meals. Together with a helpful study guide,Food and Faith points to promising directions both individuals and communities can take to bring about a healthier and more equitable world through the food we eat.
Long Description:   The rich bounty and sacred gift of food is explored in Michael Schut’s anthology and accompanying Study Guide, entitled, Food and Faith: justice, joy and daily bread. An array of inter-connected themes expressed through a diversity of notable authors including Wendell Berry, M.F.K. Fisher, Thomas Moore, Eric Schlosser, Vandana Shiva, David Suzuki and Gary Snyder celebrate the sacramental nature of food, its tantalizing flavors, and its nurturing qualities to help strengthen human relationships and build community. From caring for the land to worker and animal rights, the collection of essays candidly share the politics and economics of food, its production and what’s happening to God’s creation between the farms and our tables. As we take to heart and health the Biblical views of creation, the more sustainable food choices we make and the actions we take can help to heal creation. Likewise, the community building study guide enables individuals, families and groups to more intentionally purchase, prepare and prayerfully enjoy their food. As we practice a more just peace through our food choices and actions, we also move closer toward alleviating world hunger.

Bibliographic & Purchasing Information
Author:   Michael Schut, editor
Publisher:   Earth Ministry
Publication date:   2006 Website for this resource:
We know of 2 sources for purchasing this resource.
Source #1:  
Address Alternatives for Simple Living
0038 Deer Path Rd
PO Box 3804
Dillon, CO   80435-3804  
Phone 800-821-6153   970-468-2375 Fax 970-513-6883  
Website E-mail  
Price $15.00  Order # FOOD 
Source #2:  
Address Earth Ministry
6512 23rd Ave NW
Suite 317
Seattle, WA   98117-9923  
Phone 206-632-2426   Fax  
Website E-mail  
Price $14.95; $12.95/book for multi-copy orders  Order #  

Target Audience & Course Sessions
Age levels Preschool    Primary    Jr. High     Sr. High     Adult
The reviewer specifies:   Reinforces critical thinking and academic skills
NOTE: Our reviewer may have checked a wider age range than specified in the curriculum itself.
Optimum class size An optimum group size is between six and eight people. When the study sessions are with larger groups, meet together for opening prayer/meditation and closing prayers; and then work in smaller sized groups for the discussion period. 
Normal number/length of sessions If the curriculum's normal lesson plan is followed, there will be 4 to 6 class sessions each lasting about 50 to 60 minutes
Are suggestions included for expanding/contracting the series? Four or six week sessions, and Theme Focused Session options are provided;  
In the judgement of the reviewer:
 using these materials, or even just one session from them, a reasonable, coherent and self-contained class can be offered in a single session of about an hour.
 using these materials, a class can be offered that runs for at least two sessions.
Are learners expected to do homework? Essay titles and page numbers from the anthology are provided in the side-bar of each session to read before the next session meets; and there are small “doable” action steps connected to each topic. For high school classroom use, the essays and study guide activities reinforce language arts and social science curriculum skills; plus, put faith and civic participation into action.  
Target audience:
 Interfaith - addressed people of many faiths
 Judeo-Christian - addressed to Jews & Christians
 Christian - addressed explicitly to Christians
 Not explicity faith-based - not much religious content
Note: The reviewer says that this curriculum is especially appropriate for members of the denomination or agency that developed it (Earth Ministry). For example, it may explore a denominational policy statement. The reviewer also believes that it is possible for groups outside that tradition to make good use these materials.

Materials provided
Materials include:
 Leader's guide
 Student book
 Discussion questions
 Class activities - arts & crafts
 Class activities - group participation 
 Reading materials
 Presentation or lecture notes
 Prayer or worship resources

Other supportive materials provided: Food and Faith is an anthology with accompanying Study Guide for groups and individuals.
Other materials required:none specified
Description of the Leader's Guide:The Food and Faith Study Guide is an accessible and inspiring accompaniment to the anthology. The prayers, meditations, readings, discussions and actions for each session provide hope and tangible hands-on opportunities that move from the spiritual reflections, realities and concerns expressed within the diverse essays, to offer empowering and doable actions of faith in action and community. The guide provides meaningful descriptions of how to use the materials –course goals; course organization; guidelines for participation; meeting format; and course overviews. Each meeting session includes a list of anthology essays to read before the meeting; a facilitator overview; opening prayer and meditations; group readings; group discussions; action steps and closing prayer; plus,essay readings for the next session; and activity extension suggestions. Also included at the end of the study guide are appendices with organization and resource information.
Description of the Student's Book:There is no guide, or no description was provided

Materials review & Assessment of usability
Are all necessary materials provided in an accessible format? The reviewer did not provide a response  
Is the leader's guide comprehensive? Yes - materials are very well laid out and comprehensive  
Are class sessions clearly outlined? Yes - materials are very well laid out and comprehensive  
Will it be helpful to have a teacher with above-average expertise in the subject matter? Not Necessary to have teacher expertise  
Preparation time required by the leader:
Subjectively rated as heavy, medium or light
Light – to enrich each session the leader may include additional resources and/or videos suggested in the Food and Faith Appendix B; plus, time-permitting, investigate the eco-justice organizations listed and their resources available via the Internet. 

Content focus
Is this curriculum explicitly focused on environmental awareness or action? Yes, as one of several emphases  
Does this curriculum deal with a specific environmental issue or problem? Yes, the anthology and study guide encompass and promote more sustainable food practices in planting, production, worker and animal rights, food purchasing, preparation; and celebration of the sacramentality of food in community; Plus, Food and Faith deals with advocating for sustainability and eco-justice through the ecological, economical and political decisions we make.  
How is the scope of the environmental impact positioned?  Impact on specific human communities
 Impact on humans in general
 Impact on humans and non-human parts of creation
 Impact on non-human parts of creation only  
Does the curriculum address questions of social or economic justice in relation to environmental issues? Yes - as a major theme  
Does the curriculum provide detailed content in a particular academic area?   For example, is there significant content in biology, physics, sociology, economics, etc.?
Biblical & theological content are covered below
In Food and Faith, multiple disciplines intersect through the anthology of essays for the gift of food, its sacramentality, sustainability and eco-justice sake.  
Biblical/theological content
Does the curriculum have explicit biblical or theological content? Yes, as a major emphasis  
How are the Biblical materials used? Individual texts are presented as meaningful ('proof texts')
Several texts are developed to show a larger biblical theme
Texts are placed in a historical or cultural context
Texts are presented as authoritative
Students are invited to comment/reflect on the meaning or authority of texts
Biblical texts are of equal importance to other scriptures/readings  
The checked statements reflect how ethical guidelines are grounded The Bible tells us how we should live/act
A theological tradition or other authority tells us how we should live/act
We should make decisions about how to live/act based on defined ethical norms
Caring for creation is an assumed norm  
The curriculum views humanity's role in creation as:
The checked lines are clearly affirmed
Domination - God created the Earth for human use; there are no real restrictions on what we can or should do.
Stewardship - "The Earth is the Lord's"" and humans are in a position of managing the creation according to God's will.
Partner - Humans are part of the web of creation, and participate in it as one species among many.
Intruder - Humans are separate from nature, and inherently destructive.
In evaluating changes to "solve" environmental problems, does the curriculum tend toward an approach that is: Confessional - I/we need to change
Confrontational - Some other person, policy or institutions needs to change
Combination - a mix of confessional and confrontational

Content approach
Which of these are a primary target outcome of the curriculum?  Increase awareness or concern about the environment in general
 Increase awareness of concern about a specific environmental issue
 Acquiring factual knowledge about an issue
 Changing or deepening personal beliefs
 Change in self-awareness or self-identity
 Changes in personal behaviors or lifestyle choices
 Influence on institutional (church or other) practices
 Increased political advocacy
 No change, or goal not clear
Range of perspectives offered:   A single perspective is offered
  Compares 2 or more perspectives
  A diversity of perspectives presented

Subjective Reviewer Feedback
In general, would you use this program with your congregation/organization? Why or why not?
We are using this anthology and Michael Schut´s Simpler Living, Compassionate Life and Money and Faith books within our Simpler Living Ministry programs.
What specific feedback do you have after reviewing these materials? What did you like? What did you not like?
What I personally like about Food and Faith is how it integrates all the themes, prayers, essays, actions and resources into a doable guide of opportunities to prayerfully put my faith into action through the intentional choices I make; and then share these opportunities with family, friends and faith community. When I’m grocery shopping, do I chose to buy fresh food items, or not? Is the food grown organically or more sustainably? How is the food packaged? How far has this food traveled from farm to table; and is this a “fair trade” item? Some old food habits are hard to break .... Gratefully, many choices are easier now that we’re buying and sharing with a neighbor a Community Sustainable (CSA) organically grown and local fruit and vegetable basket every two weeks. It´s more economical also; and we´re minimizing waste by collecting and mulching our compost as well. Our only homegrown crops so far are herbs and tomatoes!
What questions did you have after reviewing the materials?
The reviewer did not answer this question
What, if any, concerns do you have about the use or implementation of this curriculum?
I have no concerns about using this curriculum. The Food and Faith anthology and study guide are a prayer and a gift of God´s love in Christ!
What content, if any, does this program seem to be missing? What would you like this program to cover which it does not?
The reviewer did not answer this question
Have you ever used this program in the past, or heard of others who have used it? What if any response was received?
We have used Food and Faith essays and portions of the study guide in book studies, forums and meetings; and are continuing to integrate it into our Simpler Living program; and adapt learning opportunities for children and youth groups.

Eco-Justice Ministries   *   400 S Williams St, Denver, CO   80209   *   Home Page:
Eco-Justice Ministries ended all programming on July 31, 2020. This site is an archive of writings and resources.
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