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    Program ID - bo033005

    God, Food & the Environment

    Last month, the Archbishop of Canterbury called on the Church of England to adopt ecologically sensitive policies regarding recycling and using organic foods for communion rituals.

    According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, more than 80 percent of Americans identify themselves as religious.

    Protestant, Jewish, Catholic and other groups are increasingly active around some of the biggest environmental and food justice issues out there, including sustainable agriculture, fair trade coffee and alternative energy.

    It's an interfaith movement that leverages institutional power to promote environmental stewardship, while helping educate members on living greener lifestyles.

    Join host Jerry Kay, publisher of the Environmental News Network as we talk with some of today's thought leaders on the connections between religion and sustainability.

    This Week's Guests:

    Rev. Sally Bingham — Director, The Regeneration Project”

    Reverend Bingham is the director of The Regeneration Project and a co-founder of California Interfaith Power & Light. She serves on the national board of the Environmental Defense Fund, is a priest in the Episcopal Diocese of California and the environmental minister at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.

    Reverend Bingham and her organization have received numerous green power and energy awards including from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency. In 2002, Mikhail Gorbachev presented The Regeneration Project with the international Global Energy Award.

    Anna Utech — Equal Exchange Interfaith Coffee Program

    "People sometimes feel overwhelmed by injustices, and this is something that helps them do something about it," said Anna in an interview last year.

    The Coffee Project is one of many such efforts led by Equal Exchange's Interfaith Program, which is designed to work specifically with congregations and other faith-based institutions. Equal Exchange takes orders for their coffee, tea, and cocoa products and delivers them directly to the churches.

    As reported in the LA Times, from 2001 to 2003, Interfaith Coffee Program sales in the United States increased 233 percent. More than 400,000 pounds were bought in 2003 by religious groups, and 2004 sales were far ahead of that pace.

    Brother David G. Andrews — Executive Director, National Catholic Rural Life Conference

    Brother David brings over 20 years of experience to his rural life work. He has presented over 100 workshops throughout the United States and Canada on a variety of rural life topics, produced videos on rural life, edited books on rural ministry, and taught rural ministry courses in several seminaries across the United States. Brother David completed his law degree from Loyola University in New Orleans in 1994.

    NCRLC, founded in 1923, is dedicated to supporting and empowering rural people, family farms and local businesses that promote sustainable community development. Issues they address include agriculture and food policy issues.

    Sara Spoonheim — Development Director, Faith in Place

    Sara is the Development Director for Faith in Place, a non-profit organization that gathers religious and spiritual people from throughout the Chicago region in dialogue, prayer, and action on issues of environmental sustainability. Their 250 members include Buddhist, Bahai, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Unitarian and Zoroastrian faithful.

    This year, Sara plans to open The Good Loaf, Chicago's only organic bakery, as a project of Faith in Place. With Chicago's best organic challah and communion bread (plus whole wheat farm bread, sour dough, rye, rosemary loaves and more), The Good Loaf will build support for sustainable agriculture within the religious community.

    Faith in Place also created and manages an Eco-Halal cooperative for Muslim consumers to purchase sustainably raised lamb, chicken, and beef.

    More information:

  • The Regeneration Project
  • Equal Exchange's Interfaith Coffee Program
  • National Catholic Rural Life Conference
  • Faith in Place

  • Resources for Journalists:

    Journalists who are interested in researching stories related to any Beyond Organic show topic are encouraged to contact Straus Communication for additional resources, including trend data, background materials, experts, statistics, images and more. The service is free.

    Please contact Michael Straus at 415-777-1170 x 302 or email for more information.



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