999 FOOD

999 FOOD – Emergency Food Aid in the Thames Valley – A Snapshot

image003Why is emergency food aid provision growing rapidly in one of the most prosperous regions of the UK? The Thames Valley is the home of dreaming spires and pretty Cotswold villages; of shiny shopping centres, designer outlets and the most expensive schools and restaurants in the country. Yet many are hungry.

999 Food celebrates the fact that Christians of all denominations are working to mitigate the immediate effects of food poverty. It looks at seven projects in detail, exploring how they work, who uses food banks and why. This publication addresses the issues of structural injustice that underpin the need for emergency food aid, and calls for advocacy, campaigning and Christian reflection, alongside action. In short, to feed the hungry, but also to ask why the hungry have no food.

Download PDF of 999 Food report

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Help Write Oxford’s Good Food Charter

From the Good Food Oxford (Sustainable Food Network):

“Are you interested in the future of food in Oxford? Good Food Oxford, the city’s new sustainable food network, is putting together a vision for a food system that is fair, healthy, sustainable… and tasty! The Oxford Good Food Charter will be launched during Low Carbon Oxford’s week of talks, celebrations and events in June 2014, and will guide the network’s future priorities.

We want to get your input on what’s important in creating a food system Oxford can be proud of – this will feed directly into the first draft of the Good Food Charter. An open workshop will take place on 19 March – all are welcome, no expertise is necessary, just an interest in food and the environment and a desire to get stuck into some conversation! Come along to have your say and share ideas. See you then! RSVP to let us know you’re coming.

Location: Oxford Hub, above Turl Street Kitchen
Day: Wednesday 19 March
Time: 6-7.30pm”

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Good Food South Oxfordshire Workshop

A workshop for producers, suppliers, food buyers, consumers and organisational representatives keen to grow an exciting new food project for South Oxfordshire.

Date: Thursday 6th March 2014

Time: either 2.00 – 4.30pm or 5.30 – 8.00 pm

Venue: Fison Barn, Earth Trust Centre, Little Wittenham, Oxfordshire, OX14 4QZ

We will explore participants’ vision for a practical project in our region that will promote good, healthy, local food, the interests of businesses and the environment.

Refreshments will be provided between the two sessions with time for informal networking.

For a full programme or any enquiries please contact Philip Pritchard on 01865 409403 or [email protected]

RSVP to state which session you would like to attend and if you have any special dietary requirements. Thank you!

This event is being organised by the Earth Trust in partnership with the South Oxfordshire Sustainability (SOS), a network of Community Action Groups.

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Reflection on the Theology of Food

At a recent Earthing Faith gathering Liz Baker, Director & Community Leader at The Well at Willen, shared a reflection on the Theology of Food:

Sleeping with bread’ here is a story from this rather lovely book by Denis, Shelia and Matthew Linn:

“During the bombing raids of World War II, thousands of children were orphaned and left to starve. The fortunate ones were rescued and placed in refugee camps where they received food and good care. But many of these children who had lost so much could not sleep at night. They feared waking up to find themselves once again homeless and without food. Nothing seemed to reassure them. Finally, someone hit on the idea of giving each child a piece of bread to hold at bedtime. Holding their bread, these children could finally sleep in peace. All through the night the bread reminded them, “Today I ate and I will eat again tomorrow”.

This story fully illustrates the idea of daily food, daily bread as a sacrament, the means by which we live seen as an offering of grace from creations table. We eat, we drink, we live, our food supports every action we take, every decision we make, every thought we posses.

In the gospels we find Jesus constantly eating and drinking with friends, with sinners and tax collectors, he is charged with being a glutton and a drunkard and, in most of the resurrection stories about Jesus he identifies himself, proves himself with food. By breaking bread as on the road to Emmaus and by offering the cooked fish to the disciples on the beach.

So I like to place before you the simple truth that every time we break bread, in our church services, with friends or neighbours at our dinner table, at a barbeque on the beach or in the park, every time we share toast & coffee, tea and biscuits with our friends, family and colleagues, these simple actions create for us if we let them a commonplace Eucharist, we share the bounty of God’s table, and so we re-enact our sacraments everyday of the week no matter who we are.

The Eucharist for Christians is the ultimate expression of this and through it we can explain the theology of food. For in each Eucharist we take bread and wine, every day elements part of our earthly need to be fed, to eat and to drink and transform them into holy things representing the body and blood of Christ.

We represent the divine through the ordinary, through the things of creation which are a living, loving part of the web of life, the fabric of the universe, and when we understand this then it becomes apparent that every time we eat we are always in the presence of God the creator, at his table.

The American Author Wendell Berry puts it this way:

“We cannot live harmlessly at our own expense; we depend on other creatures and survive by their deaths. To live, we must daily break the body and shed the blood of Creation”

Once we begin to realise this we can look upon eating and drinking as something holy, something sacred and something to be shared with friends and with strangers. For just as the Eucharist is part of our corporate worship, so our daily food is part of our life as community, not just as individuals. Our eating and drinking become part of our corporate life, part of the things we share; we cannot be selfish or greedy.

The point is, when we break the body & shed the blood of creation and do this knowingly, lovingly, skilfully, reverently, it becomes a sacrament it cannot be anything else; when we do it ignorantly, greedily, clumsily, destructively, it is a desecration.

This ultimately leads us a more caring attitude, to where our food comes from, to the welfare of the people who produce it and the animals and the plants that feed us.

When you come to think of your food as sacred and your table as the daily altar then each meal becomes a gift of love, a gift of life and a gift of wholeness. A gift from creation and a gift from God himself to nourish and feed humanity, but this can only work when we begin to see the whole of creation as a sacrament. When we see it all as the body and blood of our Lord spread before us daily, given by God, freely, in love to nourish and comfort us always.


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Autumn Guide – Harvest


The last of our Food Matters seasonal guides includes ways in which you and your church can make the celebrate a Harvest thanksgiving with your community, a reflection on Harvest from a farmer’s perspective, a look at the question of food banks and how we address food poverty in the UK, and prayers for a harvest service.

You can download it as a PDF here: Food Matters Harvest

To order free printed copies complete the order form.

If you’d like more information about ReadiFood, whose coordinator, Alison Peyton, is pictured in our harvest leaflet, contact [email protected] or go to


Food Matters Autumn Guide – Harvest

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Beyond Foodbanks – Wed 25th Sept

‘Beyond Foodbanks’ is part of a series of Justice Forums in the Diocese of Oxford. Working in partnership with Church Action on Poverty we are hosting one of their national round table events entitled ‘Beyond Foodbanks’.

There has been an explosion of food poverty in the UK in recent rimes, caused by changes to the benefit system, unemployment, low and falling incomes, and rising food and fuel prices. Over 500,000 people are now reliant on food aid and Christians are heavily involved in food banks, opening at a rate of three new ones per week.

This event aims to explore the issue of food poverty:

  • What are its underlying structural causes?
  • How do food banks help?
  • Are there dangers in their replication?
  • What does it feel like to be dependent on food aid?
  • What other innovative and imaginative solutions to food poverty are possible>

When?: Wednesday September 25th, 10am to 2pm (finishing with lunch at 1pm, with time for networking)

Where?: St Clement’s Family Centre, Cross Street, Oxford, OX4 1DA.


  • Jeanette Longfield, Coordinator, Sustain, the alliance for better food and farming
  • Hannah Lambie Mumford, Food poverty researcher, University of Sheffield
  • Liz Dowler, Professor of Food & Social Policy, University of Warwick
  • Dr Jill Hopkinson, National Rural Officer for the Church of England

Recommended background reading: ‘walking the breadline, the scandal of food poverty in 21st century britain’ by Niall Cooper and Sarah Dumpleton, May 2013, Church Action on Poverty & OXFAM.

All welcome, but prior booking is necessary, and early booking is recommended as places are limited.

Book by contacting Alison Webster using [email protected] or 01865 208213.

Please share this invitation with your congregations and colleagues and anyone you think may be interested.

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Summer Guide – First Fruits

The third of our Food Matters seasonal guides includes ways in which you and your church can make the themes of Lammas a part of your life and worship, a reflection on “Give us this day our daily bread”, a look at the impact of climate change on wheat, and a prayer exercise involving contemplative bread making.

View the guide online below – or download it as a PDF: Food Matters Summer Guide.PDF

To order free printed copies complete the order form.



Food Matters Summer Guide – First Fruits

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Celebrating Lammas: Breadmaking day – 31 July 2013

Organised by the Diocese of Oxford as part of the Food Matters project

Celebrating Lammas

Flour mill visit & contemplative breadmaking session

This a day will be an opportunity to explore the agricultural festival of Lammas and the spiritual and physical themes surrounding bread.

Beginning with a tour of Wessex Mill (Mill Street, Wantage OX12 9AB) at 11am.

Followed by lunch at St John’s Church (Grove, OX12 7LQ) and an afternoon contemplative breadmaking session with Revd Mike Rayner (Director of the British Heart Foundation Health Promotion Research Group at the University of Oxford, and ordained priest in the Church of England)

Finishing by 3pm.

Register using the form below

The day is limited to 10 people attending!

£10 per person contribution on day

Please bring your own packed lunch – tea and coffee provided.

Problems with form below? Click here