Sustainable, Just and Healthy Food Campaign

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100 congregations are invited to make a pledge!


Farmers MarketJoin congregations across Silicon Valley in making a pledge to better connect our food choices with our values. Faith institutions are becoming the front lines of health and sustainability movements, for many reasons.  We are communities of people that care deeply about each other and about our responsibilities as stewards of the earth.  We gather regularly for celebrations, meetings and rituals which involve food. We can become the force that turns around the obesity epidemic and creates the cultural shift needed to make our food system more sustainable.

We all want the food served at our congregations to be aligned with our values, but every congregation is in a different stage of working on this alignment.  The pledge list below includes something for everyone, from beginning awareness programs, to detailed food policies.  Our goal is to engage 100 Silicon Valley congregations in a pledge, to collectively move all of us toward more environmentally sustainable, socially just and healthier food choices.

Choose one pledge from each of the four categories:  snacks/drinks, meals, education, and personal choices.  Success stories will be highlighted throughout the year on our webpage and in our newsletter.

If you have questions, contact us at

To Join the SiVIC
Sustainable, Just and Healthy Food Campaign

Download a printable copy of the Food_Pledge (pdf), fill it out and click “Submit Form” in the upper right corner or attach it to an e-mail message to


Categories: Snacks and Drinks | Event Meals | Education | Personal Choices

CHOOSE ONE: Snacks and drinks served at meetings and events

  • Serve fair trade, organic coffee and tea at all meals and events.*
  • Aim for healthier snacks!  Serve baked goods that are lower in fat and sugar, and are free of trans-fats (also called hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils). Create your own Guide to Healthy Celebrations and Recipes to be used throughout the congregation.
  • Engage your youth group/program in developing a healthy snack policy that eliminates soda and candy, avoids individually packaged foods with high waste, and highlights low-sugar, nutritious choices.
  • Join the Rethink Your Drink campaign.  Eliminate sodas and other sugary drinks, and instead provide water, or unsweetened iced tea, when providing beverages for events. Promote use of personal water bottles instead of bottled water.
  • Always include fresh fruit and vegetable options for snacks.
  • Create your own healthful snack and/or drink pledge
  • *     Check this box if you are interested in participating in a reduced price group purchase of fair trade coffee and tea.

CHOOSE ONE:  Meals served at congregational events, either cooked on site, catered or potluck

  • Increase purchases of organic/pesticide-free, local and seasonal produce.  Aim to go organic with the “dirty dozen” fruits and vegetables—those that have the highest pesticide residues.
  • Provide at least one vegetarian option at all congregational meals.
  • Choose sustainable seafood by using the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch guide
  • Choose pastured and grass-fed meat, if possible from local sources.
  • Offer whole grain options at meals, such as whole wheat bread rather than white bread, and brown rice, millet, couscous, barley, buckwheat or quinoa rather than white rice.
  • Create your own healthful and sustainable meal pledge.

CHOOSE ONE:  Educational program on healthy, sustainable and just food choices—for the full congregation or a sub-group.

  • Invite a speaker on healthy and sustainable food choices.
  • Invite a speaker on fair labor issues for restaurant workers. Ten million restaurant workers suffer under poverty wages and poor working conditions.
  • Invite a speaker to address farm worker labor issues.
  • Invite a speaker on the challenges of accessing healthy food in “food deserts”, places where people usually buy food from corner stores, gas stations, and food carts because there isn’t a real grocery store in their neighborhood.
  • Host a healthy cooking class.
  • Hold a children’s educational program on healthy food, and include a visit to a farm.
  • Hold a presentation on CalFRESH (the California name for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly food stamps), and provide assistance for low-income congregants to apply for benefits.
  • Create your own educational program pledge.

CHOOSE ONE:  Support change in personal choices made by congregants

  • Share information about purchasing food from local sources– farmers’ markets and CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture)– in your newsletter, bulletin board, info table.
  • Encourage members to garden at home or in a community plot.
  • Become a host site for a CSA.
  • Promote individual pledges to “Go Vegetarian 1 Day a Week”.
  • Create your own pledge that supports change in personal choices.


Snacks and drinks served at meetings and events

  • Support fair trade Coffee:
    Chuck Haas of St. Joseph’s will connect people to group purchase plans.
  • Suggestions for healthy snacks:
    • Avoid or Limit: doughnuts, cookies and potato chips, cakes with shortening-based frostings, nondairy creamers.  When baking at home for community events, avoid stick margarine, shortening, and cake mixes. Checking labels for sugar, trans-fats (hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils), calories, and saturated fats can help show which foods to avoid.
    • Snacks such as nuts, seeds, oranges, apples, bananas, vegetables and humus, whole grain crackers and cheese, dark chocolate, or whole grain pretzels would be healthier options.
  • Suggestions for healthy drinks:
    • Avoid or Limit: soda, high sugar juices, high calorie coffee drinks, nondairy creamers, and energy drinks.
    • Drinks such as water, low-fat milk, coffee and tea (with limited sugar and low-fat milk), full fruit juices, smoothies made with fruit. Remember, many juices are high in sugar, even though they are made with fruit.
  • Suggestions for kids’ drinks:
    • 100% juice, low-fat milk, water. Sugar beverages should be avoided, or reduced sugar versions should be provided.

Meals served at congregational events, either cooked on site, catered or potluck

  • Organic Choices to focus on:
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Guide
  • Healthy Choices for Fats: Choose healthy fats, limit saturated fat, and avoid trans-fats. Avoid partially hydrogenated oils and replace butter or margarine with olive, canola, soybean, peanut, corn, or flaxseed oil. Also consume foods high in healthy fats, such as: nuts, seeds, fish, and avocados; rather than red meats, butter, fats that are solid at room temperature, and full fat dairy products.  Harvard Nutrition Source: Fats.
  • Healthy Choices for Carbohydrates: Choose whole grain or unprocessed products rather than refined flours or grains. Look for “100% whole grain” or “100% whole wheat” on the packaging.   Identifying Whole Grain Products
  • Healthy Choices for Proteins: Choose healthy proteins such as poultry, fish, quinoa, beans, soy, and nuts. If you choose red meats (beef, lamb, or pork) choose the leanest cuts and select moderate portion sizes, avoiding processed meats is also ideal. Vegetarians should consume a variety of foods to ensure they get adequate amounts of protein.  Harvard Nutrition Source: Proteins
  • Some grass-fed beef options:  Mountain View, Saratoga Farmer’s Markets–Pampero Longhorn Beef (Halal), Kol Foods Bay Area Buying Club–Beef, Lamb, Chicken, Turkey (Kosher & Green America Approved, American Grassfed Certified), Lunardi’s–Humboldt Grassfed Beef.
  • Balance your plate: Try to have half of your plate covered with fruits and vegetables for each meal. Roughly a forth of your plate should be grain, and the final forth should be a grain. This is the USDA’s new version of the Food Guide Pyramid.  See
  • Monitor Weight Gain: Eat when you are hungry, and stop when you are no longer hungry to prevent over eating. Also monitor portion size.
  • Reduce Cholesterol: Choose a fiber rich diet by consuming plenty of whole grains, fruits and vegetables.  

Educational program on healthy, sustainable and just food choices

  • Host or participate in a healthy cooking class.
  • Teach children and youth about healthy cooking and eating practices.  Host a healthy kid focused cooking class.
  • Teach Children about farms and farming.
  • Host a speaker, such as:
    • People’s Grocery is the only grocery store within West Oakland and is attempting to alleviate the problem of food deserts and low accessibility to healthy food options.
    • Mike Harwood, professor or Agribusiness at Santa Clara University. Studies food deserts in the Santa Clara County.  email:
    • Interfaith Council on Economics and Justice – Corner Store Program.  Elisa Koff-Ginsborg, Director: (408) 269-7872
  • Educate congregation about CalFresh. CalFresh, nationally called SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) is the new name for Food Stamps. Contact Anna Olsen at Second Harvest Food Bank or Catherine Haas at the Silicon Valley JCRC
  • Learn about the Farm Bill 2012. FRAC (Food Research and Action Center) is a good resource. Speakers: Diane Fisher and Catherine Haas,
  • Educate the congregation about fair labor for restaurant and farm workers. Learn about the ironic situation where poverty and poor working conditions are affecting the people who provide our community with food.
    Interfaith Council on Economics and Justice, Elisa Koff-Ginsborg,
    Phone: (408) 269-7872

Support change in personal choices made by congregants