FORUM 2021

Proudly presented by the Temple of Understanding in collaboration with Marble Collegiate Church, New York City.

FORUM2021 Sacred Food ~ Blessed Earth explored the ancient, respectful and regenerative ways of farming practices and our spiritual relationship to food by focusing on the Earth as an interconnected web of life. 

A moral and spiritual voice is essential in the transition away from the industrialized, fossil fuel and chemical intensive, global agriculture system which is degrading our Earth, contributing to the climate crisis and to the extinction of species, as well as creating severe health issues for all living beings.

FORUM2021 was a call to all spiritual and religious leaders and activists for a return to local, biodiverse organic food systems which regenerate soil, water and biodiversity while providing healthy sustenance for all.

In solidarity with other NGO’s offering a strong critique of the fall UN Food Summit, FORUM2021 explored the potential of local regenerative agriculture, highlights the growing organic farming movement and offers an interfaith moral call to redressing the harm caused by agribusiness, the industrialization of the world’s food production system.

#Support local farmers, support your health, protect the Earth

FORUM 2021 Program

Opening Prayer & Welcome

Opening Prayer

Chief Arvol Looking Horse

19th Generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle for the Great Sioux Nation. 

Welcome from the Temple of Understanding
Chris Wang, TOU Board Member

Welcome to the FORUM2021
Dr. Michael BosSenior Minister,
Marble Collegiate Church

Chief Oren Lyons Keynote Address

Indigenous Wisdom Regarding the Future

Chief Oren Lyons

Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan and serves as a Member Chief of the Onondaga Council of Chiefs and the Grand Council of the Iroquois Confederacy, the Haudenosaunee Peoples.

Download a transcript here.


Dr. Vandana Shiva Keynote Address

“Reclaiming Ancient Wisdom to Protect Our Future”

Dr. Vandana Shiva

Founder, Navdanya Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology (India) and President of Navdanya International. World-renowned environmental thinker, activist, feminist, philosopher of science, writer and science policy advocate.

Dr. Vandana Shiva & Lyla June Dialogue

“Reclaiming Ancient Wisdom to Protect Our Future”

Lyla June 

Indigenous musician, scholar and community organizer of Diné (Navajo), Tsétsêhéstâhese (Cheyenne) and European lineages.

International Activists on Regenerative Farming Panel

Darcy Neill

Moderator, Temple of Understanding Board Member

Kathryn Manga

Peasant Movement, KMP, Philippines 

Adelita San Vicente Tello

Director of Primary Sector & Renewable Natural Resources, Ministry of Environment & Natural Resources, Mexico

Daniel Wanjama

Seed Saver Network, Kenya

Scientists on the Impact of Industrialized Agriculture Dialogue

Dr. Tyrone Hayes

Professor of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley.

Dr. Daphne Miller

Clinical Professor at the University of California San Francisco, and Research Scientist at the University of California Berkeley School of Public Health.

Faith-Based Farming in the United States Panel

Rev. Susan Hendershot

(Moderator) Interfaith Power & Light, USA

Edgar Hayes & Anne Rader

Freedom Farm Community NY

Clayton Harvey

Peoples’ Farm, AZ

Shani Mink

Jewish Farmer Network, NC

Leah Penniman

Soul Fire Farm, NY

A Call to Urgent Action to Support Sustainable Food Systems

Rev. Jim Antal

Denominational leader, climate activist, author and public theologian. Special Advisor on Climate Justice to the General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ.

Mary Evelyn Tucker

Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology, Yale School of the Environment and Yale Divinity School.

Faith-Based Farming in the United States Panel

“The Sacred Way”

Grandmother Mona Polacca

Hopi/Havasupai/Tewa elder. She is the Chair of the International Council of the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers.

Global Interfaith Prayer Service

Watch the beautiful interfaith service of prayers, affirmations and contemplations offered by Indigenous and world religious leaders and sacred music by renown international artists, including the Universal Prayer for the Earth that was creatively written by all of our speakers and prayer contributors this year.

Prayers & Offerings

Rev. J. Elise Brown, PhD
Imam Saffet Catovic
Chief Arvol Looking Horse
Prof. Ephraim Isaac
Eda Zavala Lopez
Dame Prof. Meher Master Moos
Grandmother Mona Polacca
HE Trungram Gyalwa Rinpoche
Pandit Shukla Ji
Rev. Dr.  John H. Vaughn

Sacred Music

Samir Chatterjee & Steve Gorn
Lyla June
The Marble Choir
Marble Community Gospel Choir

FORUM Action List

  • Become informed and spread the word, talk with family, friends, and colleagues
  • Share the video recording of our FORUMS:
  • Share our videos of ECO JUSTICE FOR ALL Dialogues & Interviews
  • Join an environmental group, unite and take action
  • Take part in or organize a cleanup on a beach, river, creek, park, street, etc
  • Use your voice and your vote to push for credible climate action locally, nationally, and globally
  • Support legislation to curb plastic production and waste
  • Put pressure on corporations and manufacturers
  • Make your money count, support green companies
  • Invest money responsibly in renewable energy and energy efficiency
  • Walk, bike, or take public transport
  • Reduce, reuse, purchase items secondhand, repair & recycle properly
  • Cut down your consumption
  • Eat organic, non-GMO, eat more vegetables, and less dairy, meat, seafood, and fish
  • Cook more, buy more in bulk
  • Don’t waste food, create compost
  • Respect and protect green spaces, do not cut down trees
  • Plant trees and native vegetation, plant regenerative forests and food gardens
  • Cut back on flights, boat cruises, and unnecessary travel
  • Refuse any single-use plastics and avoid products containing microbeads
  • Carry reusable bags, produce bags, water bottles, utensils, coffee cups, and straws.
  • Save energy at home and at work.
  • Use less water. Use less hot water.
  • Adjust your thermostat for heating and cooling.
  • Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs and electric appliances.
  • Turn off electronic devices when not in use.
  • Wash laundry with cold water and hang clothes to dry.
  • Host a viewing party for one of the many plastic-pollution-focused documentaries, like A Plastic Ocean, Garbage Island: An Ocean Full of Plastic, Bag It, Addicted to Plastic, Plasticized, or Garbage Island.

Here are a few links we suggest for more information:

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