Farmer inspecting soil, Honduras. © Paul Jeffrey/EAA/WCC

Farmer inspecting soil, Honduras. © Paul Jeffrey/EAA/WCC

“Rejoice and share the sacred gift of food with all.”

That’s just one of the “Ten Commandments of Food” proposed by World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit as he called upon people to change their behavior and take action in both small and large ways.

Churches’ Week of Action on Food, an opportunity for Christians and others around the world to act together for food justice and food sovereignty, will be observed 9-16 October.

Tveit first shared “The Ten Commandments of Food” in January during a World Economic Forum session in Davos, Switzerland, as he talked about how food choices can become a catalyst for positive change. In June, Tveit again offered “food for thought” during a series of meetings with the World Food Programme (WFP). As WFP’s leadership decided to seek enhanced partnerships with religious groups, WCC was among the organizations attending meetings to discuss meaningful collaboration to end hunger.

The Ten Commandments of Food

I  Give thanks for the food you eat.

II. Eat food grown as close as possible to where you live.

III. Strive for all people to have knowledge about and access to affordable, nutritious food.

IV. Eat mindfully and in moderation.

V. Do not waste food.

VI. Be grateful to those who grow and prepare food for your table.

VII. Support fair wages for farmworkers, farmers and food workers.

VIII. Reduce the environmental damage of land, water and air from food production and the food system.

IX. Protect the biodiversity of seeds, soils, ecosystems and the cultures of food producers.

X. Rejoice and share the sacred gift of food with all.

A guide, “Advocacy tools for congregations”, accompanies the Ten Commandments of Food. It helps individuals and groups to look in-depth into each commandment and to read it through the lens of the Bible in the current context. The guide helps groups open up the discussions, to expose the challenges and opportunities, and to help communities to take specific steps to make a difference in people's lives.

Food deserves a sacred space

Fair and sustainable food production practices are often at the center of helping individuals and communities develop resiliency and combat poverty. WCC’s Food for Life Campaign places a particular emphasis on sustainable agricultural practices and the situation of small producers and their access to, and control over, natural resources such as land, water and seeds.

Almost one out of every nine people in the world are chronically undernourished, while about one out of every 12 suffers the ill health consequences of obesity, Tveit noted. “This cannot and need not continue.”

Feeding the hunger is a central part of Christian commitment, he added. “If we view food through the lens of justice, every plate of food reminds us of certain challenges and opportunities. It is important that we acknowledge the efforts, investments and very lives of living plants and creatures sacrificed to provide food on our tables.”

Food is sacred, as it is a gift of God to sustain our lives through sharing, celebration, gratitude, sacrifice and renewal, he concluded. “In our common home — the Earth — we have to work together to limit climate change and other barriers to food security, so that food can be made available to all today and in the years to come.”

The Ten Commandments of Food

Advocacy Tool for Congregations

Churches’ Week of Action for Food

Food for Life Campaign