Resolution on World Food Crisis (Mennonite Central Committee, 1974)

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Resolution on World Food Crisis (MCC, 1974)

The Mennonite Central Committee, an agency of the Mennonite and Brethren in Christ churches of Canada and the United States, in plenary session at Hillsboro, Kansas, from January 17 through 19, 1974, has taken note of:

  1. The need for food, family planning, and agricultural development assistance in the less-developed countries of the world and the likelihood that the acute problems of both food and population will intensify greatly in the next decade;
  2. The growing population of the world has cut the available food resources to the lowest level in years with the very real prospect of worldwide famine because of severe shortages of food;
  3. Our responsibility for responding to the needs of our neighbors around the world either in meeting emergency hunger needs or in helping to prevent it insofar as possible;
  4. The resources of Mennonite and Brethren in Christ people are considerable and there is a growing awareness on the part of our people that more heroic efforts must be made to respond with resources of finances, personnel, and technical training. Programs of feeding the hungry have always met with generous response from every part of the Mennonite and Brethren in Christ churches;
  5. Many of our people live in very productive areas of Canada and the United States and are responsible for the production of large quantities of food that can be used for good or ill, depending on the policies of the Canadian and U.S. governments;
  6. Mennonite Central Committee is presently working in developing areas in promoting the production of food; its programs are related to Christian churches so that the ministry can be done in the name of Christ, thus expressing a broader concern than for the physical needs only;
  7. In a very real sense the peace of the world may rise or fall on the solution to the hunger problem in the developing countries;

Therefore Resolves That:

The Mennonite Central Committee give priority to the world food crisis in the next five to ten years by:

  1. Broadening and strengthening rural development and family planning programs in developing countries, particularly where Mennonite and Brethren in Christ missions or churches are located, though not limited to those areas. Though developing countries will receive special attention, we commit ourselves to social programs in North American rural and urban areas where poverty and diet deficiencies are widespread;
  2. Recruiting and training personnel from both the developing countries and North America for service in rural development and family planning; this might mean providing educational assistance for persons who have had one term of service abroad and who wish to return in rural development;
  3. In cooperation with constituent groups encourage each Mennonite and Brethren in Christ household to examine its life-style, particularly expenditures for food. A goal should be established to reduce consumption and expenditures by 10 percent and contribute this to meet food needs of others;
  4. Calling for much greater financial and material resources for development during the next five to ten years with the amounts to be approved from year to year;
  5. Attempt to constructively influence the public policy of the United States and Canada in regard to the use of Canadian and U.S. food supplies so that the poorer nations will share in whatever food resources are available;
  6. Expanding our efforts to acquaint the churches of our constituency with the relationship between overconsumption on the part of North Americans and its effect upon needy people in the developing countries;
  7. Authorizing that a conference or conferences on the food crisis be called under the auspices of MCC and other mission or church agencies that may be interested. Stewardship would be a part of such conferences;
  8. Providing, in addition to normal administrative staff, a person who will make the implementation of this resolution his primary responsibility.

Context of the Resolution

This resolution did not generate much notice or discussion within the Mennonite media at the time it was passed in early 1974. It signaled Mennonite Central Committee's desire to focus more attention on long-term development in addition to crisis food relief. Edgar Stoesz was appointed to lead MCC's food and rural development program in the wake of this resolution. The General Conference Mennonite Church passed a resolution in support of this statement at it delegate convention held in St. Catharines, Ontario in August 1974.

Another indirect result may have been the commissioning of the More-With-Less cookbook project by Doris Janzen Longacre.


General Conference Mennonite Church, Minutes 1974 General Conference Mennonite Church fortieth session, August 1-7, 1974. Newton, Kan. : General Conference Mennonite Church, 1974): 25-27.

"MCC resolution on world food crisis." Evangelical Visitor 77 (July 10, 1974): 3.

"For such a time as this." Evangelical Visitor 77 (July 10, 1974): 4-5. (Interview with Edgar Stoesz about his new position.)

Longacre, Doris Janzen. More-With-Less Cookbook. Scottdale, Pa. : Herald Press, 1976.