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Food & Faith: From Inspiration to Action

Learn how First Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Texas, went from reading about food and faith to starting a local food co-op.

In the hill country of Texas, a small group of people had a big idea.  It all started with a Wednesday night study of Earth Ministry’s book, “Food & Faith: Justice, Joy and Daily Bread”, at First Presbyterian Church in Kerrville.  As the group read about food co-ops, they kept asking, “Why not us?”   

The group researched and found a co-op that was two hours away.  But then one member of the group remembered an organic farmer in Fredericksburg, a farming community only 22 miles away.  So they invited Peggy Sechrist, a Quaker who raises organic beef and chicken, to come to Kerrville.  It was an instant match!  

To complete the co-op, Peggy used her contacts to find an organic fruit and vegetable farmer.  When she contacted Daniel Bacon, he was glad to send his extra produce to Kerrville instead of Austin, which is two hours away. 

The next step was to recruit members.  The minimum number to make the co-op viable for the farmers was 30-35 families.  The organizer’s group was small, only 4 or 5 people including a woman from Unity Church of the Hills, but they went to work recruiting from their churches and by word of mouth.  More than 40 families showed up to the next meeting with Peggy and Daniel and all of them signed up for a weekly delivery.  “We had no idea how easy it would be to get going,” said Barbara Noblin, member of First Presbyterian Church and part of the organizer’s group.   

It was a series of book studies that led First Presbyterian to connect social justice with the environment. “I see a real clear connection living a Christian life and taking care of what God’s given us,” said Barbara.  The next idea is to organize a field trip to the organic farms for hands-on experience and to teach the community about sustainable agriculture and local food.

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