Food Day Sweeps Country, Highlighting Real Food, Just Food

Improving Diets and Pushing Policy Changes are Food Day's Objectives

October 24, 2014

"I'd rather have a New York apple than a bag of processed junk food any day," said Kevin Bacon.

The actor will celebrate Food Day by participating in a Big Apple Crunch with fellow actors on the set of the Fox television series The Following. "Food Day is a great time for you and your family to support access to healthy foods from our local farmers," Bacon said.

The Big Apple Crunch in New York City is one of more than 8,000 events taking place on the fourth annual Food Day, including a flagship Apple Crunch event in Union Square at noon today. Organizer GrowNYC hopes to top a record set last year of 1 million people simultaneously biting a New York State-grown apple. In Times Square, Sabra will be handing out free servings of hummus and SunChips and free recipe cards.

Advocates for food justice are gathering at the National Press Club in Washington to discuss the treatment of restaurant and farm workers, and the exploitation of children by food marketers. Also in the nation’s capital, but on October 25, cookbook author and television host Ellie Krieger will conduct cooking demonstrations at the National Geographic Museum’s Food Day Harvest Festival, and sign copies of her latest book, Weeknight Wonders.

“One of the best things you can do for your health is to cook and enjoy family meals made with fresh, colorful seasonal ingredients,” said Krieger. “Food Day is a chance to celebrate the power good food has to nourish us and bring us together.”

Organizers of Food Day hope that Americans use the occasion as an opportunity to improve their own diets. But, also, city councilors, governors, and members of Congress are using Food Day to build momentum for better food policies. At least 27 mayors and governors have issued proclamations declaring October 24 as Food Day in their states.

Earlier this week in Los Angeles, nearly 400 food policy advocates and city officials celebrated Food Day at City Hall, recognizing “Good Food Champions” from each council district in the city, and recognized the progress the city has made implementing its Good Food Purchasing Program.

“Four city departments are now changing their procurement practices so that a percentage of the food that the city buys and serves Angelenos will be healthy, locally grown, sustainable, fair to workers, and humane to animals,” said Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell. “This will have huge ripple effects across the region for the kind of food that is grown.”

In Providence, RI, Food Day will be celebrated at the city’s Burnside Park, highlighting local food businesses and farms. "Finding responsible and affordable ways to grow and distribute healthy food is an important question we face as a country,” said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). "I am glad to see Rhode Islanders coming together to improve our diets and find better ways to supply our food. And thank you to all the local businesses and farms taking part for making Rhode Island one of the best places to eat in the country!"

Americans can participate in Food Day online by taking part in a five-hour-long Twitter conversation on food justice, public health, agricultural policy, and other topics, from noon to 5 p.m., using the #FoodDayChat hashtag. Representatives from the American Public Health Association, Slow Food USA, Union of Concerned Scientists, James Beard Foundation, and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers will lead the chat. People can also test their food literacy with an online quiz Food Day organizers developed with the educational organization Nourish: Food + Community. Food Day founder Michael F. Jacobson will take questions via a Reddit AMA at 5:30 p.m. this evening.

"Americans are getting smarter about what they are eating and are realizing that the food on their plate is connected to their health, the environment, and even their local economies," said Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT). "Food Day is an important occasion for us to come together and celebrate nutritious, healthy eating. Clear and accurate package and menu labeling are important tools that assist us in making healthy choices. Providing nutrition information on menus and menu boards is more critical than ever, as numerous studies have linked eating out with increased caloric intake and obesity. We must also redouble our efforts to make substantial progress in reducing obesity rates and health care costs, for the benefit of our entire nation. I applaud the spirit and vision of Food Day and remain committed to championing its cause."

Food Day was founded in 2011 by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest and has grown bigger each year. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) serve as honorary co-chairs of Food Day, leading a diverse advisory board of physicians, nutritionists, educators, entertainers, chefs, and public health officials.


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