WBEZ | not for profit http://www.wbez.org/tags/not-profit Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Thou Shalt Not Toss Food: Enlisting Religious Groups To Fight Waste http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/thou-shalt-not-toss-food-enlisting-religious-groups-fight-waste-114546 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/plymouthchurchcompost-ea9f544a4e74bc4e151b8963d6f1d2ca443ea0d6-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res463210872" previewtitle="Brother William Valle of the Institute of the Incarnate Word in Chillum, Md., loads potatoes onto his cart at the Capitol Area Food Bank, in Washington, D.C. A new government initiative seeks to engage faith-based groups on food waste — for instance, by using their existing relationships with food banks to redirect excess food to the hungry."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Brother William Valle of the Institute of the Incarnate Word in Chillum, Md., loads potatoes onto his cart at the Capitol Area Food Bank, in Washington, D.C. A new government initiative seeks to engage faith-based groups on food waste — for instance, by using their existing relationships with food banks to redirect excess food to the hungry." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/15/foodbankpriest_custom-8709421c018f88560d9beede1aa5530b41bf921c-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="Brother William Valle of the Institute of the Incarnate Word in Chillum, Md., loads potatoes onto his cart at the Capitol Area Food Bank, in Washington, D.C. A new government initiative seeks to engage faith-based groups on food waste — for instance, by using their existing relationships with food banks to redirect excess food to the hungry. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images)" /></div><div><div><p>Separation of church and state? When it comes to fighting food waste, the U.S. government is looking to partner up with the faithful.</p></div></div></div><p>The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday launched the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.epa.gov/communityhealth/foodsteward">Food Steward&#39;s Pledge</a>, an initiative to engage religious groups of all faiths to help redirect the food that ends up in landfills to hungry mouths. It&#39;s one piece of the agency&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/09/16/440825159/its-time-to-get-serious-about-reducing-food-waste-feds-say">larger plan</a>&nbsp;to reduce food waste by 50 percent by 2030.</p><p>&quot;We can make leaps and bounds in this process if we tackle this problem more systemically and bring a broader number of stakeholders to the table,&quot; EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy tells us. By engaging religious communities, she says, &quot;we are tapping into incredibly motivated and dedicated people.&quot;</p><p>Food waste connects to the core values of many faith communities, particularly helping the poor and feeding the hungry, McCarthy notes.</p><p>As we&#39;ve&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/09/16/440825159/its-time-to-get-serious-about-reducing-food-waste-feds-say">reported</a>, more than 1,200 calories per American per day are wasted, according to U.S. government figures. Loss occurs on the farm, at the retail level and in homes. We consumers often toss out foods because they&#39;ve&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2012/12/26/167819082/dont-fear-that-expired-food">passed their sell-by date</a>&nbsp;&mdash; but are still just fine to eat &mdash; or because we buy more than we can eat before it goes bad.</p><div id="res463248692" previewtitle="Members of Parroquia's San José Latino ministry glean from the fields of Angelic Organic's farm in Caledonia, Ill."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Members of Parroquia's San José Latino ministry glean from the fields of Angelic Organic's farm in Caledonia, Ill." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/15/angelicorganic_wide-369fe8ec03bf954e7ff68fd5435dcc4fed83fec1-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 349px; width: 620px;" title="Members of Parroquia's San José Latino ministry glean from the fields of Angelic Organic's farm in Caledonia, Ill. (Courtesy of Parroquia San José)" /></div><div><div><p>As McCarthy notes, a lot of that is discarded but still edible and wholesome and could be used to feed some of the 48 million American who struggle to get enough to eat.</p></div></div></div><p>At the consumer level, changing behavior is key, says EPA Assistant Administrator Mathy Stanislaus, and faith-based groups can help make that happen in a variety of ways. For instance, when these organizations hold potlucks, the leftovers can go to the local food bank.</p><p>EPA says groups can also work with local grocers, schools and restaurants to direct food to food banks and shelters that would otherwise be wasted. They can hold seminars for the faithful and the broader local community to teach them how to menu plan and shop their own refrigerators first to avoid buying excess food, and how to compost the leftover scraps. EPA has developed a toolkit with lots more suggestions for groups that sign its &quot;Food Steward&#39;s Pledge.&quot;</p><p>&quot;Getting out the message &mdash; particular what individual families can do ... local community leaders are critical in doing that,&quot; Stanislaus tells us. And because faith-based leaders are often trusted advisers in their communities, &quot;we thought they were a natural ally.&quot;</p><p>Food waste is closely tied to another growing concern for many faith-based organizations: climate change, a problem that disproportionately affects the world&#39;s poor. Food waste is the single biggest material in U.S. landfills, according to the U.S. Agricultural Department. As this waste decomposes, it releases methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.</p><div id="res463212011" previewtitle="The compost/recycle system at Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis, Minn. According to Creation Justice Ministries, it's just one example of the various projects churches have implemented to reduce waste."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="The compost/recycle system at Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis, Minn. According to Creation Justice Ministries, it's just one example of the various projects churches have implemented to reduce waste." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/15/plymouthchurchcompost-ea9f544a4e74bc4e151b8963d6f1d2ca443ea0d6-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="The compost/recycle system at Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis, Minn. According to Creation Justice Ministries, it's just one example of the various projects churches have implemented to reduce waste. (Courtesy of Plymouth Congregational Church)" /></div><div><div><p>Last summer, Pope Francis made headlines around the globe when he issued a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/06/18/415429852/pope-francis-climate-change-a-principal-challenge-for-humanity">papal encyclical</a>&nbsp;urging action on climate change. That call helped energize new conversations throughout the Catholic church on environmental issues &mdash; including food waste, says Cecilia Calvo, who coordinates the environmental justice program for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. She says more Catholics are asking, &quot;Rather than contributing to a culture of waste, how can we be conscious of our choices?&quot;</p></div></div></div><p>Many other faith-based groups already have programs targeting food waste.</p><p>For example, in the past year, the&nbsp;<a href="http://creationcare.org/">Evangelical Environmental Network,</a>&nbsp;a policy and advocacy group, launched its own &quot;Joseph&#39;s Pledge&quot; program: It teaches churches how to minimize food waste through actions like donating to food banks, planting community gardens and composting. (The program&#39;s name refers to the biblical Joseph, who helped guide ancient Egypt through seven years of famine.) About 200 churches have signed up so far, EEN President Mitch Hescox tells us. The goal is to reach 1,000.</p><p>&quot;Evangelicals are primarily conservative politically,&quot; Hescox notes. &quot;They want to take action by themselves. And this is one step they can do themselves to help people to address the problem. And it&#39;s a win-win. &quot;</p><div id="res463216657" previewtitle="A compost station for organic waste created by fifth graders at the Jewish Community Day School of Rhode Island in Providence."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="A compost station for organic waste created by fifth graders at the Jewish Community Day School of Rhode Island in Providence." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/15/hazoncompost_edited_custom-14c86fbaedefb9fea44ae18b328be261f889024b-s400-c85.jpg" style="height: 229px; width: 310px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="A compost station for organic waste created by fifth graders at the Jewish Community Day School of Rhode Island in Providence. (Courtesy of Hazon)" /></div><div><div><p>Shantha Ready Alonso, executive director of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.creationjustice.org/">Creation Justice Ministries</a>, an environmental justice group spun out of the National Council of Churches, says the 100,000 congregations in her organization&#39;s network, representing 45 million people, have a variety of programs to address food waste.</p></div></div></div><p>She points to the&nbsp;<a href="http://ferncliff.org/">Ferncliff Camp and Conference Center</a>&nbsp;in Little Rock, Ark. Run by the Presbyterian Church, she says it&#39;s a model program where 100 percent of food scraps get composted. She says some churches grow food in on-site gardens and direct it to the needy. And she notes that churches and individuals with gardens are also encouraged to donate to&nbsp;<a href="http://ampleharvest.org/">Ample Harvest</a>, a nonprofit that connects gardeners to local food pantries.</p><p>&quot;Good stewardship is part of our DNA,&quot; she tells us. &quot;And the idea that 1 in [7] people in America are going hungry and yet we are wasting [so much] food is awful.&quot;</p><p><a href="http://hazon.org/">Hazon</a>, a Jewish environmental organization, already has several programs focused on food and sustainability, says Becca Linden, the group&#39;s associate program director. But &quot;this will be the year we make food waste a priority,&quot; she says.</p><p>Among other actions, she says Hazon will screen the food waste documentary&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/11/18/456489490/in-just-eat-it-filmmakers-feast-for-6-months-on-discarded-food">Just Eat It</a>, publish a compost guide and raise awareness that expiration dates don&#39;t necessarily mean food is no longer fit to eat.</p><p>Meanwhile, Muslims around the world have been calling attention to the food&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-28168162">waste that occurs during Ramadan</a>, a period when fasting is followed by feasting that can result in over-purchasing of food. The Quran says Muslims should &quot;eat and drink: but waste not by excess, for Allah loveth not the wasters.&quot; In the U.S., the group&nbsp;<a href="http://www.greenmuslims.org/">Green Muslims</a>&nbsp;is trying to spread awareness of Islam&#39;s environmental teachings. For instance, the group offers a&nbsp;<a href="http://greenmuslims.org/DCGM%20Green%20Iftar%20Guide.pdf">guide</a>&nbsp;to hosting a zero-waste&nbsp;iftar.</p><p>Of course, action on food waste transcends Abrahamic religions. One example:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.whiteponyexpress.org/">White Pony Express</a>, a program in Contra Costa County, Calif., that rescues food from farms and farmers markets, grocers, restaurants and caterers. It was founded by the leader of Sufism Reoriented, an American spiritual order.</p><p>Cecilia Calvo of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops says there&#39;s a growing recognition that protecting the environment is everyone&#39;s moral duty. As Calvo notes, the question for many has become: &quot;What does it mean to care for our common home?&quot;</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/01/18/463109192/thou-shalt-not-toss-food-enlisting-religious-groups-to-fight-waste?ft=nprml&amp;f=463109192" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Thu, 21 Jan 2016 09:56:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/thou-shalt-not-toss-food-enlisting-religious-groups-fight-waste-114546 Why the public should fund the arts, after all http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-12-09/why-public-should-fund-arts-after-all-94772 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-December/2011-12-12/artswave.jpg" alt="" /><p><div class="entry"><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-12/artswave.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 364px; height: 306px; " title="">A few weeks ago I had a fascinating conversation with Margy Waller, a special advisor to <a href="http://www.theartswave.org/">Cincinnati’s ArtsWave</a>, which leads the nation in evidence-based approaches to advocating for arts funding. Ms. Waller had reached out to correct my misunderstanding (and therefore <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-21/three-words-you-dont-generally-hear-critic-i-was-wrong-94145">misreporting</a>) of ArtsWave’s efforts, noting that the argument is not that the public should fund the arts to promote economic recovery but that it should fund the arts to promote neighborhood vibrancy. This nuance turns out to make all the difference.</p><p>Here’s the ArtsWave insight: people are ready enough to agree with the notion that the arts are good for the economy. But if you probe deeper, and ask what top three things we should do to improve the economy, no one answers “subsidize the arts.” So apparently the argument that the arts are an economic engine (true or false) is unpersuasive, which is what really matters.</p><p>But the ArtsWave research also uncovered the fact that if you ask people what would improve their neighborhood the most, the arts come up time and time again. Why? Because artists’ residences are known to herald an improvement in real-estate values; because arts audiences mean feet on the street and therefore greater public safety; because arts venues are known to spawn coffee shops and restaurants and other places of urban liveliness.</p><p>Therefore, the argument for public funding needs to be focused not on the art but on the public benefits of art-making.&nbsp; This simultaneously ends the unwinnable argument about whether x or y is valid art or a useful expenditure of public funds and reminds people of what they believe anyway, that investment in arts-related infrastructure benefits everyone—not in some airy-fairy, soul-stirring, life-improving sense but in the grossest day-to-day experience of quality of life.</p><p>Thus an appeal to provide tax breaks to bring artists to a particular area would be framed not as a subsidy to these all-important art-making beings (read: overprivileged white people who ought to get jobs) but as a way to offset (maybe even reverse) the damage to property values wrought by foreclosures. The subsidy is to the value of private property (something that can be monetized) rather than to the value of art (something that cannot).</p><p>As instrumental and cold-blooded as this approach may seem, Ms. Waller makes the powerful point that vibrancy is what people love about the arts—and that weaving the arts into the fabric of other social needs and activities enables people to appreciate the arts “not as consumers but as citizens.”</p><p>That last point is particularly striking. Asked what citizens should do to respond to 9/11, then-President Bush had nothing more to offer than, “Go shopping.” Anything that enables us to respond to public concerns in a public spirit; anything that combats the notion that government is the problem and privatization the solution; anything that reminds us that we’re a republic if we can keep it; anything that illustrates we don’t have to buy something to value it—any of these is a consummation devoutly to be wished.</p><p><a href="http://www.samefacts.com/2004/01/uncategorized/bayesian-campaigning/">As a wise person once noted, the important thing is not to have BEEN right, but to BE right</a>. I've been wrong in my blanket condemnation of public funding for the arts, because I thought of it exclusively in the frame established by its opponents: as subsidies to artists to create what might or might not actually be valuable. Once the framing shifts to “vibrancy,”* and to concrete benefits to the broader society, public arts support suddenly makes sense. No one else may care, but it will be a relief to me to stop being the only left-wing theater critic in the country opposed to public funding for the arts.</p><p>I still believe the NEA itself is a lost cause and that energy spent defending it would be better spent squeezing support for the arts out of HUD, Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac and local housing authorities. But that’s a matter of strategy. As a matter of principle, I'm grateful to have discovered a valid way to defend taxpayer support to something that matters so much to me.</p><p>—————–</p><p>*Yes, “vibrancy” can be a euphemism for “gentrification,” or at least its prodroma.&nbsp; But if we plan for vibrancy (instead of simply hoping that lightening strikes in this ‘hood or that), we can also plan to prevent displacement. And without displacement, “gentrification” is just another word for “safe streets, amenities and public services”—for everyone, rich or poor.</p></div></p> Tue, 13 Dec 2011 03:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-12-09/why-public-should-fund-arts-after-all-94772