When we go to Tesco, Londis, Lidl or Waitrose (there are other supermarkets available in some parts of East Anglia) there is much that we could buy – how do we choose? Commonly, our choices are based on price, and as we are becoming more aware of the nutritional value, this is also becoming a more important part of our decision making.
If we wish to follow Pope Francis’ call to live more sustainably, we won’t only be concerned about our own health, but also the health of the planet that gives us our food.
The charity Christian Ecology Link suggests we use the acronym LOAF to help us remember how to eat in a way that is kinder to the earth and its people.
L is for local. You might be eating food from your garden or allotment, or a little further from home. By paying attention to the fruit and vegetables that are in season, you can enjoy some of the best British cuisine. Look at the labels, does the food your are picking come from Suffolk or Norfolk? Does it carry the Union Flag or Red Tractor symbols?
O is for organic. Does your food avoid chemicals that may be contributing to climate change? CAFOD works to help people across the world harvest a better crop, by nourishing the soil from which their plants grow, rather than relying on chemical fertilisers that strip the soil of its nutrients.
A stands for animal friendly. One of the best ways that we can each help mitigate the worst effects of climate change is by reducing the amount of meat that we eat. Farming animals for consumption is a relatively intensive use of our resources, especially land. A vegan diet would certainly help, but reducing the amount of meat we eat helps too – and this has the added benefit of helping us afford meat reared in more friendly conditions.
F is for Fairtrade. CAFOD is one of the founders of the Fairtrade Foundation which protects local small scale farmers in the southern hemisphere from having their prices squeezed by grocery conglomorates, thereby supporting their livelihoods.
So, when you go shopping in the market or supermarket, why not use your Loaf – remember to look for local, organic, animal friendly and fairtrade food for your table.
When we pray “give us our daily bread”, may we also be thankful for the food provided and hands that made the food, and may we give back to the earth what is has shared with us.