The Value of Food

Food Art at St. John the DivineBy Jean Blish Siers *

Until April 3, 2016, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City continues a multi-media installation, “The Value of Food: Sustaining a Green Planet.” Tucked into the bays and chapels of this grand cathedral (Interesting fact: Although still technically under construction, it is the largest cathedral in the world!), the exhibit grapples with food insecurity, food waste, accessibility, and sustainability. The Cathedral has used the exhibit as a springboard for a variety of educational and cultural events throughout the community.

Food Art at St. John the DivineI also loved the Dutch artist Tom Otterness’ installations, nestled into the still-incomplete pillars throughout the sanctuary. Cartoony people clutch fruits and vegetables, as well as loaves and fishes. In several spots, they’re surrounded by dollar signs. To me, they represented the many ways that money keeps people from getting the food they need. It was made more striking by the gorgeous blue sunshine streaking through the soaring stained glass windows.

Food Art at St. John the DivineIf you get a chance before the exhibit ends, stop by. It’s encouraging to see food access getting an increasing amount of attention from all areas, and also exciting to see the growing involvement of faith communities in an issue that’s as old as Leviticus.

*Jean Blish Siers is SoSA’s Charlotte Area Gleaning Coordinator.


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In the event I, or a registered family member, suffers any illness or accident requiring emergency hospitalization, medication, or other medical assistance while participating in a gleaning event, permission is given for any medical treatment which is deemed necessary and reasonable under the circumstances. I fully understand and comprehend that reasonable care will be exercised by the adult staff for this gleaning event to protect the safety of those involved. I understand that the field supervisor’s instructions must be followed at all times, and that I am responsible for any damages caused to fields, farms, or equipment by me/my family members not following these instructions.

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I do not hold the board, members, or employees of the Society of St. Andrew (SoSA,) or any volunteers liable for injury, bodily harm, accidents, or death of myself/my child during events sponsored by the Society of St. Andrew. Neither will I hold the person(s) who owns and/or operates the property from which we glean, salvage, or to which we deliver food, liable for accidents, injury, or death during the gleanings or other SoSA events.

For a PDF print version of this waiver, click here.

How the Story of the 12 Baskets is Connected to SoSA’s Name

Matthew 14:16-21

But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!” They said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.” And He said, “Bring them here to Me.” Ordering the people to sit down on the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds, and they all ate and were satisfied. They picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve full baskets. There were about five thousand men who ate, besides women and children.

2 Kings 4:42-44

[…]the man of God […] said, “Give them to the people that they may eat.” His attendant said, “What, will I set this before a hundred men?” But he said, “Give them to the people that they may eat, for thus says the Lord, ‘They shall eat and have some left over.’” So he set it before them, and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the Lord.

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