When will there be a harvest for the world?

October 10, 2018

By Angelique Walker-Smith

In 1976, the Isley Brothers released a R&B hit that poses this question: “When will there be a harvest for the world?” Jasper Isley has said that the song asks, “when will there be a time that people have an equal share of what’s going on, and when will they have equity in their lives?”

This month’s Pan-African devotionals consider these questions in relation to equitable land ownership—the acquisition and use of the land for nutritional food for all people. Land acquisition and the distribution of land is also a primary determinant of wealth.

At the turn of the 20th century, formerly enslaved people of African descent and their heirs owned 15 million acres of land, primarily in the South, mostly used for farming. Today, they own a little more than 1 million acres. This dramatic loss of land by African Americans helps us understand why white households have a net worth 13 times the net worth of African-American households today. And it also helps explain why African Americans are disproportionately affected by hunger.

Rev. Jennifer Bailey reminds us that land loss and hunger are also found in the urban food deserts in the African-American community, where many people have inadequate access to nutritional food. Rather, in low-income communities of color, where people have limited modes of transportation, there is often a surplus of convenience stores, liquor stores, and fast-food restaurants.

African nations have also lost their rich fertile lands to corporations, says Father Aniedi Okure. This has resulted in the loss of homes and source of livelihood for many. He points out that the Land Matrix Initiative (LMI) for 2016 documents African land deals involving more than 62 million hectares of land. This is enough land to contain more than 500 million single family homes.

Rev. James Blassingame says all of us have a responsibility to preserve the land by “tilling and keeping the earth” (Genesis 2:15) and that we are called to “justly share the gifts of God’s creation for all—today and for future generations.”

Government leaders and policies have an important role to play in this. They help dictate the flow of food supplies and wealth resources from the land. We are called to action to engage them in that role!

Rev. Tyler Milner says Nehemiah showed us a way to do this. Nehemiah wrote a letter to his government leader and ended up partnering with the government to re-claim and rebuild the land of the Israelite people.

During this season of Bread for the World Sunday, you can help us move toward reclaiming and rebuilding the land for all by voting in the midterm elections and by writing letters to our leaders in support of an equitable farm bill.

Angelique Walker-Smith is senior associate for Pan-African and Orthodox Church engagement at Bread for the World.

Land acquisition and the distribution of land is also a primary determinant of wealth.

from our Resource Library

For Education

  • Election Resources

    One of the best times to raise the issues of hunger and poverty is during election campaigns. Engage candidates in your state/district on hunger and poverty using our elections resources.
  • U.S. Hunger and Poverty State Fact Sheets

    These fact sheets provide a snapshot of hunger and poverty in the United States and in each state plus Washington, D.C. 

  • Conflict and Fragility Are Hunger Issues

    Conflict is a main driver of the recent increase in hunger around the world and of forced migration. Hunger also contributes to conflict.

For Faith

  • The Bible on Health as a Hunger Issue

    “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in faith.” These words from Colossians 2:6 remind us of the faith that is active in love for our neighbors.

    The Bible on...

  • Unity Declaration on Racism and Poverty

    A diverse body of Christian leaders calls on the churches and Congress to focus on the integral connection.

    Dear Members of Congress,

    As the president and Congress are preparing their plans for this year, almost 100 church leaders—from all the families of U.S. Christianity—are...

  • In Times Like These … A Pan-African Christian Devotional for Public Policy Engagement

    This devotional guide invites deepened relationship with and among Pan-Af­rican people and elected leaders in the mission to end hunger and poverty.

For Advocacy


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