The smell of toast is wafting up the stairs. Lovely. Today we have mixed fruit jam for 45p, and I got a reduced price ‘premium, brown, medium-sliced loaf’ (from a big brand family bakers) for 52p. My eye has become more trained, looking for affordable produce. I scan chiller cabinets and shelves carefully, in the hope of finding something. I couldn’t ignore the 35p bag of carrots, which Simon is now turning into a variation of his homemade carrot soup. I left the Co-op feeling rich with 35p in my pound-a-day purse. Out of that, I’ll pay for a little salt and pepper to season the soup; we need to hold back on the chili consumption!
CAFOD’s calendar reflection today asks us to consider the line in the Lord’s prayer: “Give us today our daily bread. It asks:
“How often do we really think about the words of this prayer and what they mean? When I pray this prayer, I do not ask for “my” bread, but rather it is for “us” all to share. And the gift we each ask to be given is renewed daily so there is no need to take more than we need, or to store up food and hoard it for ourselves, preventing others from getting what they need.”
I was thinking about what ‘sufficient’ means to families around the world. Some are trying to put less on their plate and others don’t know how they will make what they have go round.
We ate well yesterday, because we shopped at Veronica’s. The bread and veg bake we bought from my sister, together with rice, and leftover cabbage, was tasty. The porridge and rice are sufficient to see us through to the end of day seven and CAFOD family fast day. We haven’t needed to apply portion control; there is sufficient.
Rice, wheat, oats and root veg have formed the basis of our meals this week. I have been trying to make a note of where the goods were produced. As we’ve hunted for the cheapest items, part of me has wondered: did the producers get a fair price?
Our bread came from a big UK owned company that must create much needed employment for hundreds of people. The company have a map showing their UK bakeries and they list some of the bread products they produce: Farmhouse, White, Rolls, Wholemeal, Rye, Tiger Loaf, Wraps, Thins, Naan, Pitta Pockets, Danish…can’t you just smell it! A litany of daily bread. Apparently one of their bakeries produces over 8 million bread rolls a day!
Simon loves growing veg. We only have a small plot but he managed to coax courgettes, onions, tomatoes and apples out of soil with the help of compost, feed and water. We wouldn’t survive on what we grow, like Simon’s grandma in Ireland, who lived to a great old age and kept cows and chickens. Her water came from a well and her turf was cut from the bog. She cooked over the fire and traded for other provisions with neighbours or bought at market in Athlone when the cattle were walked there to be sold. She also reared a big family, in a two roomed cottage in Clonmacnoise, County Offaly.
We have water supplies, warehouses, grain stores, fridges and many more means to grow, preserve and store produce or access to markets via road systems. If I had to grow my own food, I would need help what with the bad back, the lack of knowledge and lack of green fingers. If someone asked me to look after a CAFOD chicken or goat, I would not know where to begin. Fortunately, CAFOD works with communities around the world to help families learn the skills they need to farm and keep animals to sustain livelihoods.
Even when we buy local, someone has to consider the best ways of managing this for the good of us all and future generations. How can world leaders at the G8 get to grips with portion control and restore the balance of power in our food system? At the moment, it is tipped towards global companies rather than small scale farmers who need vital support. Global companies take too much control over portions of land, to grow cattle fodder, palm oil for fuel or ever bigger quantities of produce to satisfy our wants rather than needs.
We urgently need to find daily food for the 870 million people who go to bed hungry. But looking at how much food we have access to, it’s clearly not a lack of food that is the problem. It’s a lack of balance. How can we make sure that everyone has sufficient – that everyone has their daily bread?
I am signing off for now, to make a family hunger cloth. I will invite all my loved ones to take a fish and share a loaf as part of our contribution to the Hungry for change Take it! Share it! Multiply it! card signing and message writing action.
I am hungry for change. Now I need to pass on that message.