Green Sanctuary Team Updates

Coming soon:

  • Green Sanctuary service on April 30.  Come at 9 or 11 a.m. to celebrate Mother Earth, with music and thoughtful reflection.
  • Bike or walk part or all of your journey to church in May, and join the GS team for a breakfast celebration on Sunday, May 21.
  • Movie night: “Farming Was My Life” with a taste of local food and a panel discussion including Adam Saunders from Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture,  and other Missouri family farmers, on Tuesday, May 30, from 6 to 8 p.m.
  • Mark your calendar for Down By the Riverside June 3 and 4. Like last year, not a campout, but dinner on Saturday, and breakfast and a service on Sunday at the former Katfish Katy’s campground.

The GS team is working hard toward certification! You are welcome to get involved as a team member or on individual projects! Our next meeting is at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 9 at the home of Suzanne Griffin, 4506 Revere Court.

The process requires a series of events in the areas of worship and celebration, religious education, sustainable living actions and an environmental justice project.

The centerpiece of the Green Sanctuary certification process is our environmental justice project. We will be teaming up with the Missouri Rural Crisis Center (MRCC), formed in the 1980s to save Missouri family farms from industrializing and consolidating agriculture and the policies that promote those forces.

MRCC is working to keep small family farms in business, in contrast to Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), which can allow up to 17,499 hogs within 2,000 feet of a neighbor’s home and unlimited numbers of animals within 100 feet of a stream. A Class 1A CAFO (17,500 hogs) can generate as much waste as the city of St. Louis! This volume of manure is not beneficial to the neighborhood! Air emissions from ponds and from spraying can cause nausea, headaches, vomiting, diarrhea and pulmonary edema, and pollute the water for the entire community.

Communities in Missouri’s Class 3 (agricultural) counties have only one way to protect themselves – county health ordinances. This technique has kept CAFO numbers in Missouri around 500, while our neighbor to the north, Iowa, has 11,000! Twenty Missouri counties so far have passed health ordinances, but every year since 2003, our legislature has tried to push through bills making it more difficult for counties to have a say in their own health and environmental regulations.

We are working with MRCC to raise awareness of this issue and to continue to fight for our rural communities and small family farmers who want to protect Missouri’s water quality. This issue is termed “Local Control,” and allows counties to vote for restrictions on pollution. It does not allow them to have less stringent regulations than the state.

What can you do?

  • Learn more! Visit the MRCC website.
  • Come to our movie night and discussion on May 30! See details above.
  • Sign the local control petition online.
  • Think about the source of your food, in this case, pork products. Consider small local providers like Patchwork Family Farms or Sullivan Farms.