Food Day(s)

Feeling like there’s been more discussion about food recently?  If it feels like October is all about food, you are not far from the mark.  From school lunches to hunger issues, many organizations are using October as a time to bring food issues to the forefront of our attention.  The Center for Science in the Public Interest has therefore created Food Day on October 24th, which joins other observances such as World Food Day, this year’s Blog Action Day, National Farm to School Month,  and National School Lunch Week.

The one you may have heard about before, World Food Day, is tomorrow, Sunday, October 16th.  It began in 1979 to commemorate the 1945 founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and has been raising awareness on the reasons for poverty and hunger since.  Each year they have a specific theme, and this year’s theme is “FOOD PRICES – FROM CRISIS TO STABILITY.” While the main World Food Day website doesn’t list any specific events in the National Capital region, the Right2Know March will be coming from New York, walking all the way to the White House to protest the fact that 80% of packaged foods in the United States contain genetically engineered ingredients yet none are labeled. If you’d like to participate, I’m planning on attending the Takoma Park to the White House leg of the walk, so let me know if you want to join! (rich(at)slowfood.org).  It culminates in a rally outside the White House with a talk by Vandana Shiva, “A False Solution: Genetically Modified (GM) Seeds and Crops.”  There are many other organizations and food activists involved in this march, so it definitely worth checking out.

But let’s get back to the Food Day I first mentioned in this post.  Food Day is on Monday, October 24th.  There was an earlier version of Food Day in the 1970s, but it didn’t quite take. As consciousness about food has grown, Food Day has relaunched and hopes to be an annual event. Created by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, this Food Day is a national day to recognize the important role food plays in our everyday life. It starts with 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
  6. Support fair conditions for food and farm workers

But what does one do in regards to this Food Day? The possibilities seem endless! For specific events and ways you can participate directly, go ahead and check out the Food Day website. As for Slow Food DC, we are hoping you’ll do at least one of the following, if not all three. And whatever you choose to do, we hope you will talk about it on Facebook & Twitter and post photos to our Flickr group:

Organize Lunch: Food Day is on October 24th. Yes, a Monday. So take that as a challenge and plan a lunch with your coworkers or regular lunch buddies that focuses on local, seasonal, non-processed foods. Bring some apple spice cupcakes or local pickled okra to share while raising awareness about the food system and our role in it. The Food Day organizers even pulled together recipes from top culinary talent in case you’re looking for inspiration (Mark Bittman’s Couscous Salad with Dried Cranberries & Pecans looks like a keeper).

Eat Out: I certainly hope you haven’t forgotten about Slow Food DC’s Snail of Approval award winners already! Take advantage of the fact that we have access to producers and suppliers that support local, sustainable food by visiting one for lunch or dinner. Be sure to congratulate them on their Snail of Approval, and let them know the award helped guide you to their establishment.  Alternately, if you know of a restaurant or producer that fits the bill and is not on the list, nominate them for a 2012 award (well, even if they are on the list, nominate them for this year).

Attend an Event: There are plenty of activities going on all over the region! The organizers of Food Day have done an excellent job of organizing this effort, so we direct you to their events page, where you can find an event in your neck of the woods.  (I’m intrigued by the GW Student Food Co-op Initiative’s bike-powered blender event…) Also, check out our Facebook Page and back here in case we pull together any specifically Slow Food sponsored events.

We would be remiss in not mentioning the other Food related events that are happening in  October, including Congressional passage of a resolution declaring October Farm to School Month and a presidential resolution declaring National School Lunch Week, which is finishing today. It’s also Blog Action Day tomorrow. Since 2007 Blog Action Day asks bloggers all over the world to focus on one topic on that day. This year is– you guessed it–food!

The planners of Food Day hope it will be an annual event celebrated each October 24th.  As we consider the pleasure of food and its role in community and the environment, I know that Slow Food DC members will definitely find themselves living the principles of Food Day not only on October 24th, but every day of the year. And if I’ve left you more confused than before, Ecocentric has a blog post that makes it much clearer.

 

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