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Summit should focus on agricultural ethics, moral system of food distribution

Commentary By  Joe Skoog ’13

A major issue in the realm of food is agricultural ethics.
Agricultural ethics is the approach to both farming and the environment in an ethical and moral way.

This is practiced through collective discussion and knowledge about conservation efforts in relation to our environment and farms.

This way of approaching our production of food through a pragmatic,or more logical lens is key to actually using the Ignatian principles of “Men for Others” and other social justice imperatives.

Using agricultural ethics can make sure workers on farms are treated fairly because they are in cooperation with their employers and communities.

Additionally, this system of fair wages, fair distribution and fair partnerships can go a long way to help our environment and those who produce the food we eat.

Consequently, this allows for better cultivation of soil and harvesting of crops because there is more emphasis placed upon the environment than on specific means of production.

This emphasis upon the environment would enable people to collectively engage in discourse about the issues that face the soil we use and the water we drink. This kind of ethics that values both the environment and the people who use it is in stark contrast to “shallow ecology,” or the idea that an environment is only worth saving if it has direct benefit to human profit or production.

This ethical framework with which to approach agriculture and the environment as a whole can even be seen in the Bible.

In the context of generosity, Proverbs 26 reads, “People curse the one who hoards grain, but they pray God’s blessing on the one who is willing to sell.”

This and many other verses throughout both the Old and New Testament show the importance of a dual respect of humans and of Earth.

Likewise, the Summit should focus first and foremost upon the ethics of agriculture.

Viewing both food and the production of it through an ethical lens is the most educational and productive way of solving problems.

This way, the Summit can be a truly rewarding experience that would be uniquely a catalyst of change.

Read more Summit-related articles in the 2011 Summit Special Section.

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