Fast for Change: 7 Days to Tend the Earth

Emily Cain offers a reflection on why you might want to get involved in a unique initiative of the Canadian Food Grains Bank. Emily works for the Food Grains Bank, and has been attending saint benedict’s table for the past few months.


have always been interested in food.  Eating it of course – but also cooking it, thinking about it, talking about it, and reading about it.  A few years ago on my birthday my dad gave me a book called The Supper of the Lamb.  It is an unorthodox cookbook written by Robert Capon, (an author who seems to come up a lot more regularly since I began attending saint benedict’s table a few months back).  I devoured the book – I think what kept me so enthralled with the recipes was how Capon captured the power that food has in our lives.  I wonder if part of the power of food comes from it being mysterious and tangible at the same time; that we are shaped by what and how we eat in a very real and whole sense.

Recently, my thinking and talking about food has expanded.  I have been working on Fast for Change, a program that gathers Canadians together to pray and reflect on hunger and overconsumption around the world.  What we eat ties us to land and labour.  And while we all eat, fewer of us are connected to our food as direct producers.  Fast for Change calls us to act in solidarity with people who are hungry by being mindful about how our daily actions affect global food production.

Thinking about food production calls us to wonder at the mysteries of creation and the wonderful way that God sustains us.  Food is a daily reminder of our physicality, and yet so often, in coming together to eat we are fed in less tangible ways as well.

I want to invite you to expand your thinking about food along with me.  Fast for Change is an intentional way to start thinking about how we interact with food production.  In thinking about our physical food, I think we will also be fed spiritually.

7 Days to Tend the Earth is a booklet to help shape our reflections on food production by taking us through the God-given essentials for producing food:  soil, seeds, water, energy, plants and animals, human knowledge, and rest.  Each chapter offers a daily reflection using scripture, prayer, art, and suggestions for small changes.  The seventh day, which focuses on rest, invites people to fast.  Many have chosen to set aside October 16th, which is World Food Day, for their fast.

If you are interested in participating in Fast for Change, booklets will be available at saint benedict’s table over the next few weeks. If you do pick up a booklet, I encourage you to stand up and be counted by registering online.  If you want your fast to fall on World Food Day begin reading through 7 Days to Tend the Earth on Thanksgiving Sunday, October 10th.  A feast is a great way to start the conversation.

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