Hello! My name is Katie Furrow, and I am working as the Food, Hunger, and Gardens Associate for the Global Food Crisis Fund and the Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness through Brethren Volunteer Service. I am a recent graduate of Bridgewater College where I majored in Sociology with a minor in Peace Studies; in my senior year at Bridgewater, I was able to conduct a nine month long study on topics of hunger, food access, and community gardening, so I am very excited to spend my BVS term transforming the ideas I learned about into actions to benefit the community and the church.
During my time in Washington DC, I will be working closely with the Going to the Garden grant initiative to help congregations establish, maintain, and expand community gardens in their areas. It is our goal to use the gardens that have been established through the grant as educational tools to inform individuals in the gardens’ respective communities about issues surrounding hunger, food insecurity, and environmental stewardship. Hunger and food insecurity are major issues in nearly every community today. Nearly 1 in 8 individuals suffer from chronic hunger (www.feedthefuture.gov) meaning that this is a subject which can no longer be ignored; given these numbers, it is likely that we all know someone who is having to face hunger, whether or not we realize it.
It is important to understand the causes of hunger and what we can do about it within our own communities; therefore, it is our hope that these gardens can become a starting point to introduce individuals and communities at large to such topics. Also, given my proximity to the workings of the national government, I will be working on larger advocacy concerns related to food access and insecurity while trying to maintain a focus on the local impacts of these issues. The constant and growing presence of hunger, and its multitude of causes, means that many different approaches must be taken to resolve it, and by creating a space for education and discourse, we can begin to understand ways to resolve such concerns and to empower individuals and their communities to take action.
In the words of 1 John 3:18, we are called to love not “with words or speech but with actions and truth.” Together, we can show love to those who are hungry in a multitude of ways, whether it is through a local community garden, advocating on a national level, or something in between. Together, we can make a difference in this movement toward fair food access for everyone.