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Food Day – Organizing Communities to Eat Real and Eat Fresh

Food Day is an opportunity to bring together people of all walks of life to discuss and consider our food system, what we eat, and where it comes from.

What Is Food Day?

Food Day is sponsored by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and, according to the Food Day site, “Food Day’s goal is nothing less than to transform the American diet.”

In the mid-1970s, CSPI sponsored three Food Days that had a good effect on awareness. This year, they’re skipping the usual fundraising dinner in Washington and having a Food Day on October 24 that can include many people.

Through a myriad of local events on Food Day, CSPI hopes to get ordinary people who aren’t usually activists thinking about how our food system works, how it affects us – our health, our environment – and what we can change.

Food Day’s Five Principles

Food Day will focus on five important principles:

  1. reducing diet-related disease by promoting healthy foods
  2. supporting sustainable farms and cutting subsidies to agribusiness
  3. expanding access to food and alleviating hunger
  4. protecting the environment and animals by reforming factory farms
  5. promoting health by curbing junk food marketing to kids

Local Events To Reach More People

Food Day is meant to have a broad appeal and will be organized on the local level. Mike Jacobsen, executive director of CSPI, envisions people who aren’t usually activists gathering with their local community for discussions at the local college or agricultural extension or just coming together at a church or community center to hear a speaker.

The centerpiece of the get-togethers would be a potluck featuring local, fresh foods and traditions from the surrounding community.

The purpose of getting together in local groups, rather than a few large celebrations in cities, is to encourage local people to set priorities in their areas. Not all communities will see the same problems. Cities might be concerned with food deserts. Rural areas might be concerned with factory farms.

Organizing Your Food Day Event

In many communities, locating fresh foods is difficult, so organizers might need to have suggestions on hand when starting out. CSPI has set up a web site for central organizing. Within a few weeks, there will be tools online to register local events and find them. A coordinators’ guide will also be online to help with planning.

The Food Day site also has a list of people and organizations that have signed on to be a part of it. Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa and Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut are honorary co-chairs of Food Day 2011. The Food Day advisory board is a virtual who’s who of the food and conservation movements with senators and representatives, chefs, farmers, professors of nutrition and agriculture and so on.

Six months seems like a long time, but it tends to pass quickly when organizing events. If we start thinking about what we want to accomplish with Food Day, we’ll have time to get the word out.

Resources:

Food Day logo from the Center for Science in the Public Interest

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