An Alternative Harvest Festival

An Alternative Harvest Festival

Have you been to a Harvest Festival yet? It’s that time of year when many communities hold services to celebrate the harvest, and to recognise the hard work of all those who grow and transport our food. Increasingly, harvest services are used to remind us that there are still people in our own country who go hungry, and families who do not have access to nutritious food at an affordable price. Harvest festivals do more than provide us with an opportunity to say thank you to God for our food; they also provide us with an opportunity to share what we have with others. Thankfulness and generosity are key values in the Christian tradition.

Perhaps you’re not one for harvest festivals or feel uncomfortable about the idea of a church service. Well, here are some suggestions for an alternative harvest festival.

The first is to have a chat with someone who actually produces food - one of our local farmers, perhaps. The modern world tends to separate out producers from consumers, which in turn generates problems of mutual understanding. These problems can only be overcome by mutual conversation. What does it feel like to be a farmer in our country at this time? What are the joys and challenges? How do they see their role? How do they see the future?

Sometimes life as a farmer is particularly challenging. You might want to find out about the work of FCN, the Farming Community Network. This organisation does excellent work to support farmers and their families. Go to their website to find out more!  Perhaps you might choose to support the work of FCN in a way which is appropriate for you.

Finally, you might be someone who enjoys facing up to the really big questions facing our world, such as global warming and the urgent need for us to live more sustainably. How does the “environmental agenda” connect in with the production of food, in this country and around the world?  This is, of course, a huge question. But let me invite you to look at a recent report from the Global Commission on Adaptation. The report is entitled: Adapt Now: A Global Call for Leadership on Climate Resilience, and it includes practical suggestions as to how we can tackle the challenge of global Food Security.

Whether a traditional harvest festival or an alternative one - this is a good time of year to think more deeply about the production of our food.

Fr Jason