“Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground – everything that has breath of life in it – I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.
Genesis 1: 28-29
Creation. Dominion. Bounty. Community. Connection.
These are the lessons that I glean from these verses. As humans, we have been blessed by the bounty of the earth – the fruit of its air, waters, and soils. With this bounty, we have an obligation to share it not only with our human neighbors and loved ones, but with all of creation – all animals, creatures, plants, and living beings. This relationship of sharing depicted here, is one that is guided and maintained by humankind. We were given these resources to nurture, develop and expand for the purpose of sharing, for the purpose of nourishment, for the purpose of giving life.
Unfortunately, as many of us have witnessed and/or experienced, humans’ dominion over the land has led to a structurally flawed and systematically oppressive national food system, leaving many abused, powerless, sick, and hungry.
Though the frustrations are many, there is much good work being done in the effort to build, develop, and support the continuance of vibrant and resilient local food systems. Within this landscape of food and the inevitable questions of food justice and sovereignty, it is so important that we come back to the beginning. That we come back to creation, exercising dominion over it in ways that nurture rather than torture, and use the bounty of this system to build community through connection. Our food system is hungry for change, let us feed it.
“The ecological teaching of the Bible is simply inescapable: God made the world because He wanted it made. He thinks the world is good, and He loves it. It is His world; He has never relinquished title to it. And He has never revoked the conditions, bearing on His gift to us of the use of it, that oblige us to take excellent care of it. If God loves the world, then how might any person of faith be excused for not loving it or justified in destroying it?” – Wendell Berry