Land and Food

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Land and Food is a new contribution from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace published in the year 2015, the year of the encyclical Laudato si’, the Universal EXPO in Milan Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life, and the adoption of the new United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

We are witnessing a renewed interest in the threefold issue of land, agriculture and hunger. These important questions are at the core of the Holy Father’s concern - in 2013, he addressed FAO urging to “enable everyone to benefit from the fruits of the earth” - , and they require an interdisciplinary vision, an “integral” approach, rooted in valid ethical points of reference.

In this spirit, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace prepared the reflections articulated around the intertwined issues of Land and Food, using inputs from specialized agencies of the International Community, academic and civil society contributions, the teaching of Popes as well as data gathered by the Church from every continent.

The first part of the book assesses the current challenges, among which are the non-realization of the right to food, the consequences of malnutrition, the too often unsustainable and irresponsible use of natural resources, the various forms of violence and criminality, the responsibility of some economic actors, and the issues of land or fisheries tenure which are still delicate in several areas of the world.

The second part proposes, within the necessary frame of the new evangelization, the teachings of the Church on Creation and its traditional engagement towards food producers and the hungry. Thus, some important principles of the Social Teaching of the Church are presented and deepened. In fact, they constitute the needed ethical framework for improving the situation in the view of the common good of the whole human family.

The last part of Land and Food clarifies some concepts such as “charity” and “family farming” as they are often misinterpreted; exhorts to adopt bioethically coherent behavior; condemns false solutions such as the trap of Neo-Malthusianism or the blind confidence in technology; and proposes eleven action-oriented guidelines, including the important challenge of the education of youth, business-leaders, politicians and investors.  

 

This book was conceived to enlighten reflections and guide actions, both now and in the future. It is enriched by historical points of reference as a demonstration that current problems might have multi-decennial and structural causes, and is inspired by the light of the Gospel, neither being confined to technical-political constraints, nor exploring peculiar spatiotemporal contexts. The purpose of Land and Food is to offer principles for reflection, criteria for judgment, and practical orientations.

The book, of 144 pages, was released in November 2015. It can be acquired through the Libreria Editrice Vaticana, via online retailers or emailing : commerciale@lev.va. For additional information, please contact : pcjustpax@justpeace.va.