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Food and faith issues explored in church lecture series

Christine BruhnW

Christine Bruhn will discuss "Using God's Gift of Knowledge" on Jan. 12. Courtesy photo

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From page A3 | January 08, 2014 |

Lutheran Church of the Incarnation will host three distinguished scholars presenting their views on food, our food system and how they intersect with the life of faith in free talks this month. Each will speak from their own scientific discipline, giving listeners a better sense of where our food comes from and the ethics of eating.

Each presentation is part of the church’s Adult Forum and will take place at 9:30 a.m. in the LCI Fellowship Hall, 1701 Russell Blvd. (corner of Russell and Arthur Street) in West Davis. More details can be found at lcidavis.org.

Scheduled are:

* “Using God’s Gift of Knowledge,” Sunday, Jan. 12, by Christine Bruhn, a Cooperative Extension specialist and a faculty member in the UC Davis department of food science and technology.

Living creatures share common genetic codes. This makes possible innovations that can result in more environmentally sustainable food production and better human health. Presentations in the November Adult Forum reviewed the concept of genetic modification and summarized the use of these techniques in U.S. agriculture.

A video from plant scientist Sally MacKenzie of the University of Nebraska noted that genetic modification is common in nature and described the goals of those scientists and philanthropic groups using the techniques to address nutritional deficiencies. This session will complete the video with a review of future applications in plant science.

Bruhn also will briefly describe animal applications including research at UCD that could reduce infant mortality.

“The gift of scientific understanding enables people to better meet the mission of caring for all creation,” a news release said.

* “How Will India Feed Itself?,” Sunday, Jan. 19,  by Ed Green, former professor of plant genetics at the University of Minnesota, and retired senior vice president of global research at Seminis, which specializes in vegetable crops.

This session will shift the Food & Faith focus to glimpse an eroding food picture on the Indian subcontinent and on Green’s experience assisting in the development of more productive indigenous vegetable crops better adapted to those local environments.

The goals are several, including improved sustainability, creating better opportunity for the young in rural India and increased ability to produce these highly perishable farm products essential in the daily diet of Indians. Supplies and prices of these products are strongly impacted by multiple issues: environmental, economic, population and more.

Christians are repeatedly guided in biblical teaching about food, feeding the poor, teaching and being reminded to do good to all (Galatians 6:1-10), all of which are matters of food and faith, a news release said.

* “Sharing Our Food and Faith Journeys,” Sunday, Jan. 26, by Dina Biscotti, who holds a Ph.D. in sociology and is a California policy organizer for the BlueGreen Alliance.

This collaborative, interactive session will provide a forum for discussing our personal food and faith journeys. The session will kick off with a presentation by Biscotti, who will describe her growing awareness of our food system from her doctoral research on university-industry agricultural biotechnology research collaborations, her ongoing engagement with cooperative/alternative food movements, and her recent participation in a world hunger ethics of eating workshop sponsored by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Participants will be asked to reflect on how they can engage with our food system in ways that align with their values and faith.

On Jan. 26, the church also will host a luncheon, free and open to all, to launch its two-year certification process to become a Green Faith congregation. The goal is to inspire, educate and mobilize people of diverse religious backgrounds for environmental leadership.

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