When we were putting together our special food issue earlier this year, I was struck by the wide range of topics that we covered: factory farms, technology, pollution, nutrition, agricultural traditions, labor conditions, poverty, and so much more. That interconnectedness is being celebrated across the nation today, the first annual Food Day. Modeled on Earth Day, it’s a grassroots drive to improve our food system, sponsored by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest. There’s plenty that needs fixing.
"The American diet is contributing to weight gain, obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and other diet-related diseases," says Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. "Plus, our food is often produced in a way that's harmful to the environment, food and farm workers, and animals. We hope Food Day inspires Americans to change their diets for the better, and to push for positive changes in food and farm policy."
There are more than 2,000 events taking place in all 50 states, from cooking demonstrations and potlucks to movie screenings and conferences about food deserts and more. Click here to find an event near you.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest partnered with more than 100 remarkably diverse organizations for Food Day, including Epicurious.com and Whole Foods Market, which teamed up to encourage dinner parties aimed at raising money for local food charities; Change.org is devoting its homepage to issues addressed on Food Day; and labor group Unite Here, the country’s largest food service worker organization, is hosting events at college campuses around the country.
The key priorities of Food Day are:
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 and animals by reforming factory farms.
5) Promote health by curbing junk-food marketing to kids.
6) Support fair conditions for food and farm workers.
Go out and celebrate Food Day, and send a letter to your members of Congress asking them to support the goals above. While you’re in letter-writing mode, why not tell your elected leaders to sign the Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act, too—click here for a letter on the Union of Concerned Scientists’ website.
If you're hosting a meal tonight, or just looking for delicious recipes from top chefs, check out the Food Day Recipes (pdf), which includes instructions for making Dan Barber's Fennel and Apple Soup, Mark Bittman's Baked Pumpkin-Orange Custard, and Mario Batali's Mussels with Peperonata.