Food Day Celebrated For the First Time in 34 Years

6 years ago

Here on the West Coast tonight, the first Food Day in 34 years is drawing to a close. This celebration, which was organized by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), focuses on "healthy, affordable food produced in a sustainable, humane way." CSPI hope the event will become an annual event now that they've relaunched the event that started in 1975.

Designed to serve as sort of an Earth Day for food, Food Day focused on six principles:

  1. Reduce diet-related disease by promoting safe, healthy foods;
  2. Support sustainable farms & limit subsidies to big agribusiness;
  3. Expand access to food and alleviate hunger;
  4. Protect the environment & animals by reforming factory farms;
  5. Promote health by curbing junk-food marketing to kids; and
  6. Support fair conditions for food and farm workers.

An active #FoodDay Twitter feed revealed conversation all over the country, and even internationally, about sustainable and healthy food, cooking at home, and other topics relevant to the day. From dinners at home to dinners among community members, and from activities that raised awareness to activities that directly helped the hungry, a lot of thought and creativity went into the many celebrations.

The day itself is backed by some powerful names in the food policy world, as well as others from government, the restaurant industry, and public health. Gigabiting talked about who has been part of the planning process in her post about the event itself:

Food Day’s advisory board is stacked with city mayors and university heads, Senators and members of Congress, two former Surgeons General, chefs, scientists, public health leaders, and many of the most prominent voices for change in the food policy world (Alice Waters, Michael Pollan, Marion Nestle, Jim Hightower, and many more).

Kary of Cooking with Kary planned to attend a dinner sponsored by the Student Dietetic Association at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina:

Monday’s dinner menu will be based on what is available at my local farmers market. If you don’t have a local farmers market in your area check out your favorite grocery store, many carry food from local farms and ranches.

Though Food Day was designated as October 24, the principles espoused by the day's organizers are valuable to keep in mind all year round. On Big Green Purse, Diane MacEachern offered "10 Radical Ways to Make Food Better." Her ideas included the following:

7) Make cooking a required class for all high school students. When I was growing up, girls in middle school were required to take "home economics" (the boys got away with "shop"). These days, both of those classes are optional - which means many kids opt out. Yet I'd argue that one of the reasons why fast food is so popular is because so many people don't actually know how to cook. Why not make cooking class a requirement in senior year of high school, regardless of whether kids are heading off to college or to live on their own?

As her contribution to Food Day, Beth Lee of OMG! Yummy was featured as a guest poster on Eating Rules, talking about five ingredients to avoid, because of the effect they may be having on the bodies of those who eat them. She doesn't call for an outright ban, just thoughtful and occasional use of any or all of them:

The key with these ingredients is becoming aware of why and how they are used and being able to decide pro-actively if you want to be eating them. As I researched the five ingredients, my a-ha moment was discovering that the FDA keeps a database of over 3,000 (3,000!!!!) [Generally Recognized As Safe] additives all to preserve and enhance what starts out as unprocessed food.

For family farmers trying to feed their communities and the nation, Food Day coincided with the harvest season. Heather of 3 Kids and Lots of Pigs talked about her pride in her family's farm history, and in their role in feeding others, as well as how they would celebrate today:

As farmers, we not only take great pride in producing food for our family and yours, but we also feel it is our social responsibility to help feed the world. On our family farm, we take this literally a little closer to home as we donate pork to our local food bank throughout the year. So how did my family celebrate Food Day today, we celebrated like we do every day by taking the best possible care of our pigs and harvesting corn as we are in full-blown harvest mode at our family farm.

How did you celebrate Food Day today? Share your stories in the comments below.

Genie blogs about gardening and food at The Inadvertent Gardener, and tells very short tales at 100 Proof Stories. She is also the Food Section Editor for BlogHer.

Image Credit: Food Day

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