40 Days for Food Justice

40/40 Campaign

What is 40/40/43 ? 

People across the continent are broadening the 43nd Earth Day to last 40 days. This year, PACE (The President’s Advisory Committee on Ethical Eating) joins forces with the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee to focus on environmental justice and food workers’ rights, particularly the rights of restaurant workers.  To honor these workers, we have timed the beginning of our campaign to coincide with International Workers Day on May 1. The official start of 40/40/43 is n May 5th  and it extends  40 days to June 13th. The dates are flexible and congregations may decide to participate as part of the Justice Sunday Choosing Compassionate Consumption” campaign which focuses on protecting the rights of workers in the food system. See UUSC Choosing Compassionate Consumption campaign


How do we do it?


By committing to small and large daily actions over the 40 days.  These actions support environmental justice, food workers’ rights, food justice, animal justice and immigration rights.  We know that the impact of our personal choices can ripple across the globe, affecting others and the planet. 40/40/43 is an opportunity to take small lifestyle changes for 40-day “test drive.” Materials for worship services and congregational and individual actions are below.


The practice of 40/40 began with Unitarian Universalism.  Many individuals and UU congregations have participated since its inception several years ago.  When 40 people in one congregation make 40-day commitments, their congregation receives special acknowledgement from a UUA President’s Advisory Committee. (If 40 seems too ambitious—or not ambitious enough!—a congregation can substitute 40% of average worship attendance and still receive recognition).


40/40/43 Sample Actions



    • Offer a series of small ministry group discussions on wage justice using UUSC resources

    • Hold a viewing of the portrait series from the Welcome Table, a multimedia tool from the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC-United)

    • Participate in the UUSC Coffee Project

    • Form a book group and read Behind the Kitchen Door

    • Organize covenant groups or other small groups to use the UUSC diners’ tool kit and make the most of the ROC-United diners’ guide

    • Take 40 days to organize and hold a “Human Rights from Field to Fork” workshop in your congregation or community

    • Over 40 days, collect recipes from congregants, along with the stories about where the recipes come from and why they exemplify ethical eating; then sell the recipe book as a fundraiser after the 40 days

    • Organize a study group to meet six times to discuss the challenge of eating with your culture, relationships, budget, and UU values in mind, over the 40 days

    • Gather a study group four times in 40 days to discuss the “Immigration as a Moral Issue Resource” guide

    • Explore how  your congregation might support the organizations in your area that interact with food workers. Use the Food Chain Workers Alliance’s map to identify  potential organizations

    •  Convene a discussion group using Menu for the Future or Hungry for Change from the Northwest Earth Institute: http://www.nwei.org

    • Find other Fair Trade products that can be offered in your congregation and larger community through organizations such as Red Tomato and Southern Alternatives Agricultural Cooperative.

    • Host an Oxfam Hunger Banquet to understand the reality of food and resource distribution through personal and anecdotal experience. Use the free online Hunger Banquet Toolkit to plan your event.

    • Join the Campaign for Fair Food and work towards justice for tomato workers.

    • Work with other congregations in your community on a postcard campaign to send to Kroger, Public, Stop & Shop, Giant, Chipotle, and other large tomato companies.

    • Buy and promote Union Label Products – by supporting the labels listed on this website, you can help farm workers maintain hard-won victories around decent wages, benefits, and working conditions. Promoting the products as union label at community potlucks can help educate others about labor victories and further the movement.

    • Start community gardens, either on your church’s property or on vacant land in the community.
      farmers share

  • Host a day of workshops for the community to increase knowledge of food and food issues. Are there members in your congregation who know how to grow vegetables? Save seeds? Cook simple, inexpensive, nutritious meals? Can? These skills can help save money and make fresh foods more accessible.


  • Each time you dine out, tip your server at least 20 percent (don’t forget: the federal tipped minimum wage is only $2.13 per hour)

  • Call Congress in support of raising the minimum wage.

  • Take time to reflect on fair trade from a spiritual perspective — how does it relate to the Seven Principles?

  • If you enjoy coffee, chocolate, or tea, buy only fair-trade products

  • Participate in the UUSC Coffee Project

  • Pick one food you eat per day; spend 10 minutes researching its production, distribution, and impact on workers, others, and the Earth

  • Discover the organizations in your area that interact with food workers with the Food Chain Workers Alliance’s map.

  • Support and promote paid sick days for restaurant workers

  • Every time you eat out a restaurant, use the 2013 ROC National Diners’ Guide to Ethical Eating as a conversation starter to talk to the owner or manager about how they treat their workers

  • Offer a spoken grace before meals for 40 days (see “Favorite UU Table Graces”)

  • Learn about the Family Farm Defenders’ “Land o’ Fakes” campaign and get your congregation involved by sending in signed postcards

  • Eat lower on the food chain by replacing two or more animal products daily for 40 days

  • With your household, eat one more meal together than is your custom — daily for 40 days

  • Each day, do a little of research to educate yourself about the Farm Bill

  • Find out about the  working conditions of  agricultural workers that pick your favorite foods

  • Once a week, dedicate 40 minutes to learning about the real meaning of labels like organic, natural, cage-free, free-range, and fair trade for 40 days

  • Discuss environmental justice and food with another person, every day for 40 days

  • Try to buy the foods with fewest steps between production and your plate for 40 days

  • Each time you dine out, thank your server for the work they do as part of the food system

  • Gather stories of 40/40 in your congregation and send the words, pictures, or videos to be published on the 40/40 blog

  • Learn about child labor in the cocoa industry

  • Find out what UUSC’s Small Farmer Fund does

  • Explore the injustices of the restaurant industry by reading ROC-United’s extensively researched reports

  •  Plant a Row for the Hungry

  • Start community gardens and test the soil for heavy metals.


40/40/43  Materials

Worship Materials

 Worship resources

Children’s moment

Order of Service Cover B&W Letter size

Order of Service Cover Color Letter size

Order of Service Cover B&W Legal

Order of Service Cover Color Legal

Insert B&W Letter

Insert Color Letter

Insert B&W Legal



Promotion Materials


Sample announcements


ROC 2013 Do Good By Dining Out Guide


Topics: Food and Farming Justice, Health and Healing, and Peace and Justice. 8 Points: Point 6: Peace and Justice. Seasons & Special Events: Lent. Ages: All Ages. Resource Types: Act, Event, and Social Activism Opportunities.

Review & Commentary