Banana plantation workers dipped a brush into a bucket of liquid and painted something on each bunch being packed for shipping. “What’s that?” I asked our tour guide in Honduras. “Pesticide,” he said. “They can’t risk having an entire cargo ship of bananas getting an insect infestation before it reaches its destination.”

Right on the spot, I pledged to start looking for chemical-free, locally sourced produce when I shopped.

Shortly after that trip in 2009, though, my efforts to clean up how I ate stalled. It’s easy to fall back into old shopping habits.

A workshop this summer, Food Faith Climate: Connecting the Dots, helped me get re-started. This time, I have a broader, more compelling perspective. It’s not just about me and keeping my body healthy. It’s about God and keeping Creation healthy.

As we learned at the workshop, solutions to the climate crisis can be found at the end of our forks. We talked about how our food system contributes to climate change; studied what our faith traditions say about the way we produce food; completed a self-questionnaire on how climate-friendly our diet is — or isn’t; and created a plan to make better choices for the climate.

In short, we moved from talk to action.

Since the workshop, I go shopping armed with information on the “Clean Fifteen” produce items as opposed to the “Dirty Dozen.” I can quickly access information on the carbon footprint for producing meat and dairy items. I shop frequently at farmers markets and stores that offer locally sourced items. I have learned how easy it is to have “Meatless Mondays” and where to find recipes for great-tasting meals without meat. I have studied the website for the Iowa Food Cooperative and will be joining soon, after seeing how easy it is to buy local products.

And of special importance in our family, which likes fish and seafood, I know a reliable place to find out how to choose fish wisely (montereybayaquarium.org has a comprehensive guide).

Thanks to the workshop, I am sticking with my small acts to help the big picture.

Nancy Stockdale

Iowa Central District United Methodist Women, President

Nancy was inspired to seek out chemical-free food by an encounter in Honduras years ago, but stalled out in her efforts shortly thereafter. But after she attended the Food, Faith, Climate workshop in Julys this year she found the inspiration and knowledge she needed to get back on track.

At the Food, Faith, Climate workshops we examine how our food practices contribute to climate change, and how our faith traditions call us to respond with practical solutions. Participants assess their own food practices at home and discover that the ethical choices are also the pleasurable choices as they make a plan for more climate friendly food practices. Tasty climate friendly snacks provided.

Thanks to the Board of Church and Society of the Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church these workshops are free and open to the public for people of all faiths, or no particular faith.  Please come and spread the word! Registration required.

REGISTER for the following Food, Faith, Climate workshops here.

Grundy Center

September 10, 1 – 3pm, United Methodist Church, 707 6th St. Optional organic lunch at 12noon by free will donation.

Washington, IA

October 8, 2 – 4pm, United Methodist Church, 206 W 2nd St.

Cedar Rapids

November 11, 9:30 – 11:30am, St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, 1340 3rd Ave SE.