Ethics of Eating

On July 19, American Public Media’s Speaking of Faith hosted Barbara Kingsolver, author of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, on the Ethics of Eating. This issue of the moral implications of our eating culture is something with which I have been greatly concerned for several year, during which time I have been collecting resources to not only explain but also live a more moral life in our everyday decisions. So this interview and Kingsolver’s most recent work is a welcome addition in raising awareness to this issue. For Animal, Vegetable, Miracle Kingsolver and her family left Tuscon to resettle in southwest Virginia and lived a year raising their own food. Certainly it took some sacrifices, but as Kingsolver said, “it became really a long exercise in gratitude.” As she and her family undertook this project, she reflects on the implications for personal health and spirituality, economic and social justice here and abroad, and an awareness of our role in these areas. You can listen to Ethics of Eating to learn more about how the Kingsolver’s chose a sustainable diet.

Listening to Barbara Kingsolver’s interview called to mind some of the things I wrote in a previous post on Polan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Also, as Kingsolver pointed out, we have a lack of strong regional traditions, which is something with which I found helpful insights from Slow Food. All of these call us to take action, simple action, by changing the most basic thing in our lives: how we eat.

The title chosen for the program is also the name of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference’s Ethics of Eating program, which connects the specific demands of eating and our Catholic faith. NCRLC reminder that eating is a moral act calls us to be conscious to our food choices and to make some efforts to live justly.

One issue connected with this that calls us to activism right now is the Senate’s debate of the 2007 Farm Bill. This bill impacts not only American farmers but also we as food consumers who see at the grocery store shelf an artificially low price subsidized by our tax dollars not to mention farmers and our brothers and sisters around the world, who cannot compete in a global market when their produce isn’t subsidized. I would really encourage you to learn about these issues and to contact your Senators about the Farm Bill to let them know your opinion.

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