April 29, 2020 - Food

When I woke up this morning food was on my mind. No, it was not on my mind because I was famished or hungry. Food was on my mind for several reasons. First, I am thankful that my wife loves to cook and prepare food and during this coronavirus we have splurged. Desserts have become a regular every week, yet I have not gained any weight. She loves to cook and will prepare whatever we ask her to prepare. The one thing that is a sin to her is the wasting of food. When our daughters were younger, they would hide their food when they had gotten enough to eat because they did not want to hear their mom say, "Don't waste that food. Children all over this world are starving." Sometimes I would think about hiding mine from her also.

I think the reason food was on my mind this morning is because I grew up on the farm and I realize we raised most of the food we ate. It was not an easy process, but we did it. With 11 people in one household, you did not have to worry about anything being leftover or wasted. Chickens in the yard were always in danger of being on the kitchen table at some point. Hogs in the pasture were destined for the gallows in November. Sugar cane in the fields was destined for shipping to our homemade cane mill and transformed into molasses. The milk cow was fed plenty of hay for the production of butter, clabber and milk. The garden was meticulously prepared in spring for the purpose of yielding enough vegetables to carry us through the winter months. Wild game was considered an extra for either of the meals. Don't squirm if you haven't had to eat them, for you may have to start soon, if the meat market does not rebound quickly. Aw, those were the good old days when everybody ate until their hearts were content, but there was no waste.

What is troubling to us during this pandemic is the nonsensical things that are being done regarding food. There are states where people line up daily to receive food because of need, yet farmers are plowing food into the earth and destroying crops. The customers who would usually be purchasers of the food are now closed and the farmers have no choice but to crush fruit, plow vegetables back into the ground, and pour thousands of gallons of milk down the drains. Millions of pounds of food are being wasted because of a demand collapse caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Doesn't this sound absurd, knowing that there are children right here in America who are hungry. Doesn't it almost make you angry knowing that other countries like Haiti, Zimbabwe, Liberia, Central African Republic, Yemen, and others are some of the hungriest countries?

We now hear that a plan is being put in place by USDA to redistribute food to food banks, faith organizations and other nonprofits. Has the timing of this plan come too late like everything else we are having to deal with regarding covid-19? One report states, "For weeks, we have called for immediate federal purchases to help our fresh fruit and vegetable producers mitigate these losses, but the purchases coming now may be too late in the season for Florida farmers." (Business Insider) The poultry and meat producers are now even being impacted to the point of closure.

Leviticus 19: 9 reads as follows, "When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop. It is the same with your grape crop-do not strip every last bunch of grapes from the vines, and do not pick up the grapes that fall to the ground. Leave them for the poor and the foreigners living among you. I am the Lord your God."  I can't wrap my mind around what is happening when there is such an abundance of food, yet we destroy it rather than giving to the poor.

We know that God disapproves of wastefulness. After Jesus had fed over 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish, he said these words to his disciples: "Now gather the leftovers, so that nothing is wasted." 

Even if the pandemic had not come, reports state that waste cost the country $218 billion a year. One hundred fifty billion pounds of food goes to waste yearly.

Not a sermon, just a thought!

Robert Earl Slade, Pastor