Nourish Others and Ourselves & Sustain the Earth

rainbow2UUCE mission statement states that “Empowered by love, we transform ourselves and serve our world.” The Earth EqUUity Food planning group has kept this front and center as we worked together to develop this church-wide justice project. We invite you on a learning journey with us – raising awareness, changing personal habits, making improvements in the operation of our church building, deepening our spiritual practice, increasing our connections, and making a difference in our community.

We continue to strive to connect social justice and environmental justice as it relates to food. We acknowledge that certain situations call for exceptions to the ideal.

To contact the EE Food group email  EEFood@uueugene.org.

Earth Equity Food Committee: Joni, Nadja, Berry, Judy

 

Produce Plus

 

We are pleased to announce that UUCE is a Produce Plus site with Food for Lane County (FFLC), providing high-quality, fresh produce to income-qualified people. Our site is open the first and third Tuesday from 3:00 to 6:00 PM at the east entrance to the church.

FFLC reports that access to fresh produce is the single largest unmet need of people wanting food assistance. Through this program, produce is provided free of charge to income-qualified individuals and families. The income requirement is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty level. (See the chart below.) This is a higher income allowance than for a food box, in recognition that people of all income brackets can struggle with food insecurity. 94% of Produce Plus participants say they eat more fruits and vegetables and 84% report having more food at each meal.

Feed the Need!

We are continuing our support of the city of Eugene’s Community Court program. This program holds weekly Community Court at the downtown Eugene Public Library, aiming to reduce nuisance complaints and to address quality of life offenses in the downtown area. People cited into Community Court and anyone receiving a needs assessment for other community services is eligible to receive a free sack lunch. Walk-ins are welcome.

UUCE has joined with the City of Eugene and other faith-based organizations to provide these lunches, each congregation providing 45 lunches on a once a month basis.  We are collaborating with Religious Education Spirit Jam to involve kids with this project.

This project engages all generations in our congregation, with enthusiastic participation during Spirit Jam. The kids are read a story related to food scarcity, then they decorate lunch bags and add chips, dessert, and bottled water. Adult volunteers and families bring donations of peanut butter, and other needed items. We’ve also had volunteers make sandwiches and deliver the lunches the second Friday of the month.

We are accepting specific food donations from the UUCE congregation. If you would like to donate or volunteer please email EEFood@uueugene.org.

Touchstone Tuesday Potluck Collaboration

Come join with us in bringing a healthy dish or two to share at the UUCE Touchstone Tuesday Potlucks (first Tuesday of each month). We often sponsor themed potlucks and sometimes offer live music! We gather in a gratitude circle at 6 o’clock and are usually done by 7 pm.  By sharing a meal and conversation, we create, enjoy and celebrate beloved community. We also have the opportunity to participate in dishwashing or table clearing meditations.

Everyone is welcome whether they are able to contribute food or not. Please invite your friends with children.

 

Earth Day Plant Seeds & Starts Event

Plan ahead! On Earth Day we sponsor a plant share event. We provide some plants, seeds, starts, soil, pots, and expertise to help church members grow their own flowers and food. Please feel free to bring any starts you’d like to share with others! A number of experienced gardener congregants will be on hand to provide assistance and advice.

 

 

 

Year Two Summary, Actions, and Activities

Year Two focused on providing food to people through the community court program and broadening support for the monthly potlucks. It built on our educational efforts in Year One to connect social justice and environmental justice in relationship to food. We invite you to check out the resources listed below, that were located from our efforts to become more aware of “food equity” issues. Please, participate at your convenience!

Invitations for Ethical Eating and Local Food Resources Activities

Complete as many as you would like and are able! Families can do these together or individuals can do them alone.

Walk the Talk

  • Learn about local farmer’s markets and Community Supported Agriculture at lanefood.org and explore their on-line “Locally Grown” guide. Have fun shopping at local farms and farmer’s markets.
  • Buy “ugly food” (great food that is merely shaped differently, thereby usually wasted based upon cosmetic reasons).
  • Explore another option of shopping local food markets through an on-line service, LaneLocalFoods.com.
  • Attend “That’s My Farmer”.
  • Reduce the amount of animal products you eat. Whatever your eating habits are, if able, try making three additional meals per week plant-based.
  • Grow some of your own food. Whether it be an herb in your kitchen, something in a container outside, or huge productive beds, enjoy!
  • Add plants to your garden that are friendly pollinators for birds, bees, and butterflies. Get ideas at your local nurseries and multiple websites.
  • If eating out, try to choose restaurants that serve locally grown and organic foods and/or have an environmental or social justice component.
  • Purchase fair-trade coffee and chocolate. It’s available at UUCE every Sunday.

Learning On Your Own

Spiritual Practices

  • eefood-gardening“Spend time in the dirt”
  • Share food that you grew or cooked.
  • Express gratitude for not only the food you eat, but also to farmers who grow it.
  • Help prepare a meal.

Working Together

  • Volunteer for Food for Lane County with other members of UUCE on food rescue nights: Fourth Thursday of every month from 6:30 – 8:30pm.
  • Volunteer to work at the Youth Farm garden.

Sharing and Celebrating Together

  • Bring a healthy dish to share at Tuesday potlucks at UUCE, every first Tuesday starting at 5:30 pm. This is an opportunity to meet new friends and share a meal.

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Invitations for Water and Waste Activities

Complete as many as you would like and are able! Families can do these together or individuals can do them alone.

Walk the Talk: Practical ways to reduce your waste

  • Use reusable water bottles and other beverage containers.
  • Bring your own containers for leftovers at restaurants.
  • To reduce the amount of water used to produce your food, choose to eat beans, tofu, or other non-animal protein sources instead of animals/meat at two or more meals a week.
  • Time the length of your showers, and reduce the time by 20%.
  • Track how much food you waste during a week, and if there is any, reduce the amount the following week by purchasing less, planning, and dating leftovers in the fridge. Continue to track and reduce.

Learning On Your Own

Spiritual Practices

  • Thank the person who made your meal.
  • Express gratitude regarding something about your day or situation at the beginning of a meal.