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St Andrews Uniting Church

Food Sustainability

As part of the Graduate Certificate for Sustainability, Stephanie worked with Sandra, Sarah, Marion, Peter, Sue and Richard selected a sustainability implementation project.

The quest: “To progress the St. Andrews church commitment to sustainability using food sustainability as the main vehicle”

Food sustainability was identified as a non-contentious, easy to communicate, relevant and meaningful approach. The preliminary vision was that of a church where sustainability is an integrated part of the culture, the congregation and its operations.

The team based its methodology on the U Theory (Senge et al, 2005), allowing sensitivity and care in its engagement process with this Faith-based community. The journey began with ‘Sensing’, observing and getting in touch with this church’s culture and story. An initial impression of the key stakeholders and change agents was formed. The move through ‘Presencing’, delivered shared reflections. These resulted in informative presentations that were part of a behavioural change workshop on food sustainability, conducted at the Church. This resulted in the identification of change agents amongst the key stakeholders. Finally,‘Realising’ manifest a rapid succession of tangible change programme events. The road towards institutionalising the changes was made easier by an overwhelming sense of purpose.

The workshop delivered several immediate outcomes: the creation of a Local Sustainable Food Resource booklet, the provision of a Sustainable Food Event Outlook Plan and a Fairtrade morning ‘prototype’ event.

The strategies applied are grouped around:

  • Culture: To align faith and food sustainability and allow the change to emerge from prayers, sermon, stories.
  • People: To increase eco-literacy (Fisher, 2006) through education and communication programmes simultaneously motivating engagement via a range of initiatives.
  • Processes: To establish a steering committee within the organisational and operational structure of the church and establish a range of possible key performance indicators for ongoing measurement of progress.

The prototype and initiatives have been measured both qualitatively and quantitatively. The positive results promote great confidence in the success of the sustainability change implementation.

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