National Farm Worker Ministry encourages our supporters to participate in a tradition of the farm worker movement — hosting a sacrificial meal honoring the hands that harvest our food.
The basic idea is simple:
gather friends, family and faith communities
pray and reflect on farm workers’ lives. giving thanks for their labor and seeking justice with them.
eat a humble meal together, usually soup and bread.
Offer the money that you might have spent on a dinner out to support the farm worker struggle.
In this case, we hope that your collection will be donated to NFWM to support our ongoing work.
If scheduling a meal is not feasible this year, use the Harvest of Justice Prayers to honor farm workers in your regular worship or at other community gatherings. (Order Online)
We think you’ll be glad you’ve taken the opportunity to unite your lives with the lives of the men, women and children whose labor feeds us every day.
Setting a Time for the Feast
For some congregations, a simple luncheon after Sunday worship is the best way to get maximum participation. For others, a weekend evening allows people to focus just on the event at hand.
Often, tying the meal and/or program into an event that is already happening is an effective way to not duplicate “turn out” efforts. For example, if your church already plans other harvest-themed events or hosts a weekly meal, these might be good opportunities to weave in farm worker themes, rather than creating a separate event.
However, we recommend that the Harvest of Justice Season event be separate from any Thanksgiving Day celebrations, since the idea is to have a humble, simple, even sacrificial meal in the midst of the abundance that we enjoy.
Choosing a Structure for the Event
We recommend planning an event that is an hour to an hour and a half. Plan enough time for fellowship, eating, and a program centered on farm workers or the work of NFWM. Suggested activities could include:
- Prayer using the Harvest of Justice Prayer pamphlet
- View a dvd or powerpoint presentation about farm workers & NFWM:
“Farm Workers’ Lives and the Work of NFWM”, View the dvd online: Part I and Part II or as a Powerpoint (approx 15 minutes.) Or a dvd about farm workers (visit Learn More for a listing)
- Play a farm worker game/learning activity.
- Visit our Current Action Alerts and determine if there is an action, such as letter writing or postcards that attendees could participate in.
- Use our Worship Resources to prepare a short service honoring farm workers
- Have a guest speaker. If NFWM has a field office in your area, contact the office to request
Planning the Meal
We suggest a simple meal of soup and bread. The meal could be prepared together in advance or you could also hold the meal as a potluck. Here are several different simple soup recipes for your enjoyment.
Please use these website templates for simple placemats containing photos and quotes to remind people of the farm worker focus. The templates can be printed out on regular 8 ½ x 11 paper, and then enlarged 129% on a copier to 11 x 17. If you cut the corners off, you will have a meaningful and attractive looking placemat to place on the tables for your meals.
If you choose to use this meal to support the National Farm Worker Ministry financially, we suggest you let people know ahead of time that they will be encouraged to give a donation. You can either have a person at the door accepting the donations or place baskets on the tables or by the food clearly marked for donations. You can either ask people for a specific amount (e.g. $10 for an evening meal), ask people to simply contribute whatever they would have spent on a meal out or – to be sure not to exclude families, students and others – you can simply ask for a free will donation.
Have a wonderful time and thank you for hosting this event!
Harvest of Justice 2006
Gracious God, I most often come to my table blissfully ignoring the efforts that brought this bounty.I give thanks for the food and the hands that prepared it. But I do not as often give thanks for the hands that harvested it. I am blessed by hands that work so hard. Those hands call me to gratitude . . . to a mindfulness that the food I enjoy comes to me cheaply but comes from someone else at a greater price. Forgive me for overlooking this reality. Help me rise from my table, grateful and determined to work for justice for farm workers. Amen
We give thanks for farm workers, who teach us to pray in the midst of struggles, where God’s blessings abound, so that we raise our eyes and hearts to the heavens from where love and justice rain down. We give thanks for farm workers, who teach us to hope for a new day when all of God’s children can live together in peace, equality and solidarity, so that we work for the day when farm workers, growers, and corporations sit at the table together and bargain in good faith. We give thanks for farm workers, who teach us to share the earth’s goodness with all those around us at the table of plenty, so that we open our arms, hearts and homes to the most vulnerable in our society. Amen
Harvest of Justice 2005
2005 marks the 40th anniversary of the historic table grape strike, begun by farm workers in the Coachella Valley, CA. In April 1967, one and a half years after it began, the United Farm Workers signed the first ever farm worker contract with a grower.
The Lord said in Galatians, “… for you reap whatever you sow.” If we sow greed, what do we reap? If we sow exploitation, what do we reap?
The Algonquin leader Big Thunder said, “That which we put into the ground, Mother Earth returns to us.” If we sow courage, what is returned to us? If we sow non-violent solidarity, what is re-turned to us?
On this day, some forty years hence, we give thanks for the courage of those first farm workers who stepped out on to the picket line to face strikebreakers with bats and chains. We celebrate the men and women of faith who stood shoulder to shoulder with the grape workers. We give thanks for those times when we have seen justice returned to the farm worker. We give thanks that the hope sown forty years ago is alive still today. Hallelujah and Amen
Harvest of Justice 2004
Generous God, we are blessed with such an abundance and variety of food to choose from, and for this we are very grateful. At the same time, we are aware of the abuse of workers in the agricultural industry. Help us to do all we can to transform their plight, working with them for justice and fairness, so that they and their families may share in what they bring to our table. Amen.
God of Love and tender mercy, bless not only the food we are about to share, but also the farmworkers. Bless especially those held against their will, who labor in fear to bring the gifts of Earth to this table. Heal the wounds inflicted on them with an outpouring of your love. Transform the hearts of those who enslave to see in every human being a person of dignity and worth. Transform us too, O God, to be your bearers of justice, that we may all be free. Amen.
O God of freedom, like Moses before us we pray, “Let my people go.” Let all people go to the fullness of life that you have promised. Let those with power learn to exercise it justly. Let those who harvest this food be fed as we are fed. Nourish us well with this food. May it strengthen us for the journey ahead so that we may break the chains of slavery, yielding a rich harvest of justice. Like Moses, may we help your people find freedom.
Harvest of Justice Table Prayer 2003
Gracious God, we join our hands in prayer giving thanks for the food on our table. We give you thanks for life and all that we receive from your hands. Keep us mindful of the hands that prepared these gifts and especially the hands of farmworkers who have made this bounty possible. Open our hearts to the awesome opportunities of life your love presents. May this food sustain us as we join you, our sisters and brothers in creating a humane and just world. We pray in your holy name. Amen.
Harvest of Justice 2002
God of the Harvest, we are grateful for the food set before us, blessing from our good Earth and the work of human hands. Our minds are often slow to remember the men, women and even children who bring us the miracle of the harvest, as our hearts are slow to act when these same people are denied their fair share. Bring a harvest of love into our hearts to make your dream for a just world a reality in our day. Amen.
Generous God, Giver of Life, at your banquet of life, all are welcome. This meal is a reminder of the immigrants living in our midst who provide us with services but often are hidden in the shadows, invisible. Grant us the gift of a welcoming heart and mind that dispels the shadows bringing us all into your marvelous light. Amen.
Giver of breath and bread, we give thanks for the food that graces our table and the labor of farm workers whose hands pick, lift, pack and carry the vegetables and fruits we enjoy. As this food nourishes our bodies, may our spirits receive the energy to seek with them the justice they so rightfully deserve. Amen.
Bountiful God, may this meal which we are about to eat become a means of sharing life, of giving to one another, of expressing belongingness. Comfort those who experience separation, alienation, rejection. Send them some sign of your Love, even through us as we seek to follow Jesus and act as He did: welcoming the stranger, receiving gratefully from outcasts and outlaws, and honoring everyone’s right to sit at the table. We ask your blessing on them and us and this food as we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Harvest of Justice 2001
O God bless this food we are about to receive. Give bread to those who hunger, and hunger for justice to those of us who have bread. (Nicaraguan)
Prayer 27: Harvest of Justice Table Prayer 2001
Provident God, for the food that graces our table, we thank you. The movements of farm workers who bend, stoop, climb, lift, and carry the food we are about to eat, raise questions about our own willingness to move. We need your strength and confidence, O God, to welcome the challenge of moving beyond charity toward justice, to make your dream for a just world a reality in our day. Amen.
O God of the Harvest, despite the prosperity of this good earth, there are children in our fields, children who work to help their families, children who are exposed to pesticides, children whose parent cannot support them from the wages they earn. Bring a harvest of love in my heart so that I may work for justice in my world, justice for the children in the fields. Amen.
Harvest of Justice 2000
All loving God, too often we don’t pay attention, we don’t stop to think that, even in this day and age, injustice remains an invisible ingredient in much of the food we eat.
Shake us awake, O God, open our eyes to see our power and obligation as consumers to help put things right. Justice demands it. Love demands it. Amen