Beyond Fair Trade: Seeking a Holistic Christian Food Ethic


Thomas Turner

Our culture has a problem with food. 15% of the US population are on food stamps while over 35% are obese and over 11 million people are struggling with eating disorders. Concurrent to these realities is the fact that 50% of the food goes to waste each year.

In response to issues like these and many others, Thomas Turner argues that Christians need to offer a counter-cultural model for how we should think about matters of food. Citing the growing use of fair trade coffee as an example, Turner argues that the church is starting to recognize the ethical implications of its purchasing habits. The problem, he argues, is that responses from Christians are isolated and not applied consistently across the church’s other purchasing and consumption habits.

As a corrective for this behaviour, Turner encourages the development of a holistic food ethic amongst Christians. He notes that a common example of such an ethic would include buying food that has been ethically treated and grown without the use of pesticides. Equally, though, he suggests that our views of the human body and how these views affect our consumption should also be taken into consideration.

While some people may not agree with some of the suggestions he offers, certainly his call for a holistic food ethic is an important one for the church to consider. Given some of the statistics shared by Turner and others, hopefully this will happen in the not too distant future.

Do you agree with Turner’s call for a holistic Christian food ethic? Why or why not?

Turner mentions ethical food purchases as one example of a holistic food ethic. What other practices do you think might also be included?

Source: Q Ideas

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