It says a lot about our eating habits that we need to set aside a day to remind us all to eat real. Less than two hundred years ago, most of our ancestors grew and harvested everything they ate. Before the days of refrigeration and processed food, eating real was about surviving. Many of our culinary favorites are derived from ways of cooking, preserving or fermenting food straight from the source. There is a movement afoot to remind us of those days and bring us back to the origins of what we eat and where food comes from. Food Day is an annual, nationwide celebration of healthy, affordable and sustainably produced food. Food Day’s goal is to help people eat real, every day. That means cutting back on sugary drinks, overly salted packaged foods and fatty, factory-farmed meats in favor of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and sustainably raised protein. Food Day envisions shorter lines at fast-food drive-throughs and bigger crowds at farmers markets. Last year, UNFI supported Food Day with eight mini-grants to the National Farm to School Network. Grants went to Toddle In Preschool in Saco Maine, New Foundations Charter High School in Philadelphia Pennsylvania, Daniel High School in Central, South Carolina, Oxford Elementary School in Oxford, Mississippi, Batesville Intermediate School and Batesville in Batesville, Indiana, Meskwaki Settlement School, in Tama, Iowa, Gadsden Middle School in Anthony, New Mexico and Ephrata School District in Ephrata, Washington. These schools built gardens to introduce healthy eating and hands-on science. They worked to enrich nutritional and agricultural education with farm field trips. Their kitchen staff used farm fresh produce and offered taste-testing of the recipes for students. All were involved in a ‘Farm in the School’ event on Food Day. On October 24th 2013, we have another opportunity to celebrate eating real. There are a number of ways you can be part of this food revolution. Download guides for schools, campuses and business to help organize your event. There is a lot of material you can download, such as recipes, curriculum lessons and media guides. Host an event or sign up to participate in an event in your area now. Getting involved is as easy as following your culinary creativity while helping to change the way Americans produce and eat food. Sign up for updates on what is happening in your area. Food Day’s platform is very broad and goes across all sectors of the food movement, from public health to animal welfare. Food Day 2013 will focus on food education as a way to improve our diets, address obesity and other health issues, starting with schools and campuses. The typical American diet is contributing to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other health problems. Eating Real can save your own health and put our food system on a more humane, sustainable path. With America’s resources, there’s no excuse for hunger, low wages for food and farm workers or inhumane conditions for farm animals. Let’s make every day Food Day and culminate the awareness this October. Let me know how you or your organization is getting involved.
© 2013, Melody Meyer. All rights reserved.