World church leader offers ‘Ten Commandments of Food’

January 28, 2016
Bags of nonperishable food items line the warehouse shelves of the Lancaster County Council of Church’s food pantry also known as the “Food Hub.” Joseph Terranova for Bread for the World.

By Bread Staff

A prominent church leader recently provided “Ten Commandments of Food,” a list for Christians and other consumers of food (i.e., all of us) on how food choices can become a catalyst for positive change.

Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, who provided the list, is the general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC). Many denominations that are part of Bread for the World are also members of the WCC. Tveit is a member of the (Lutheran) Church of Norway.

Tveit’s ten commandments of food are:

  1. You shall give thanks for the food you eat.
  2. You shall provide food for those who have no food.
  3. You shall eat mindfully and in moderation.
  4. You shall be grateful to those who grow and prepare food for your table.
  5. You shall not waste food.
  6. You shall reduce the ecological footprint of food production and supply.
  7. You shall protect the biodiversity of the sources of food.
  8. You shall support fair wages for farmers' efforts.
  9. You shall strive for all people to have access to affordable and nutritious food.
  10. You shall rejoice and share the sacred gift of food with all.

Tveit provided his ten “commandments” at a Jan. 21 meeting on food that gathered business and political leaders in advance of the World Economic Forum. The World Economic Forum, held at the end of January every year in the posh ski resort in Davos, Switzerland, gathers the world’s most powerful and wealthiest leaders, from Bill Gates to Bill Clinton, to speak about the state of the world’s economy.

Organizations with a social and economic justice focus, such as the WCC, have in recent years become more vocal around the World Economic Forum on issues of poverty and hunger as a counterbalance to the forum, which some view as exclusive and elite.

“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,” reflected Tveit after the event.

Tveit added: “Food is sacred, as it is a gift of God to sustain our lives through sharing, celebration, gratitude, sacrifice and renewal. 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.”

Photo: Bags of nonperishable food items line the warehouse shelves of the Lancaster County Council of Church’s food pantry also known as the “Food Hub.” Joseph Terranova for Bread for the World.

“Food is sacred, as it is a gift of God to sustain our lives through sharing, celebration, gratitude, sacrifice and renewal."

Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit

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