4,000 Events Expected Thursday for 3rd Annual Food Day
Apple Crunches, Local Food Festivals, and Campus Events Among Activities Highlighting Healthy, Affordable, Sustainable Food
Organizers of the third annual Food Day expect to see more than 4,000 events in all 50 states on and about October 24. The day is an opportunity for schools, community groups, health officials, and individuals to highlight problems in the food supply, and also to celebrate successful solutions, according to the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest, which provides national coordination for Food Day.
In New York City, Grow NYC, with the support of the Mayor's office, will hold the Big Apple Crunch, which is expected to set a world record for the most participants in an apple crunching event. GrowNYC Greenmarkets and Youthmarkets will be giving out free apples. In Harlem, hip hop artists Ryan Beatty, Doug E. Fresh, Brady Rymer, and Amelia Robinson will kick off their tour supporting the album Songs for a Healthier America, a project organized by Hip Hop Public Health and the Partnership for a Healthy America. (That event will also participate in the Big Apple Crunch.) Chefs Katie Lee and Sunny Anderson will share healthy, fun recipes with fourth and fifth graders at Mott Haven Academy in the Bronx. That school, led by the New York Foundling, built a roof top garden to observe Food Day last year.
Food Day founder Michael F. Jacobson, CSPI's executive director, will be in Massachusetts, first to participate in Babson College's Food Day events, with Andrew Zimmern, host of the Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods, Gail Simmons of Top Chef and Food & Wine, and chef Michel Nischan of Wholesome Wave. Later in the day, Jacobson will debate issues in agriculture at a forum organized by U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, moderated by Bloomberg News' Alan Bjerga. The Massachusetts agriculture department has organized more than 600 events across the commonwealth.
In Savannah, GA, at least 15,000 people are expected at that city's Food Day Festival, which will be held on October 26. The festival is led by Well FED Savannah magazine, Whole Foods, and the city, and will have live animal encounters, nutrition and gardening workshops, and children's activities. Savannah Mayor Edna Jackson will be presenting a proclamation on behalf of the city at 2:00 p.m.
"Our food system is fraught with problems, including unfair treatment of farm and restaurant workers, environmental degradation, and of course, obesity, diabetes, and other diet-related diseases," said Jacobson. "On Food Day, we hope to inspire Americans to make changes for the better in their own diets, which could mean anything from eliminating sugary drinks to eating less beef to eating more fruit and vegetables. But we also want to use Food Day to showcase some of the exciting things going on at the local level to solve food-related problems."
In Washington, DC, Food Day events will include a week-long series of activities at George Washington University organized by its Urban Food Task Force. Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA), Equinox chef/owner Todd Gray, and former FDA commissioner Dr. David Kessler will be among the participants. In the evening, LivingSocial is hosting a Food Day panel discussion and cooking event featuring chef José Andrés and cookbook author Ellie Krieger. McGovern, Kessler, Andrés, and Krieger all serve on the Food Day advisory board.
Food Day offers several ways for individuals to get involved. First, an interactive map at FoodDay.org lets users search for events near them, or to pin their own to the map. The site also offers quizzes, including 14 Questions That Could Save Your Life, which generates a letter grade for the health and environmental impact of users' diets, as well as a Food Literacy Quizdeveloped in partnership with Nourish, a nonprofit educational initiative on food and sustainability. The online cooking school Rouxbe is offering free, all-access 30-day trials to Food Day participants starting on October 24. Founded in 2005, Rouxbe offers instruction to home cooks, schools, restaurants, and professional culinary academies in 175 countries.
Teaching kids to cook will be a special focus of Food Day 2013. At home, parents, teachers, and caregivers can involve their families using recipes from the free recipe booklet "20 Recipes to Get Kids Cooking." Created by Food Day culinary director Kate Sherwood, the new booklet aims to make simple, healthy and delicious meals a part of family dinners with recipes for fruit kebabs, Tuscan bean soup, crispy fish tacos, and more.
"As a passionate food lover I cook because I know I'm getting the best-quality ingredients prepared just the way my family and I like them," said Krieger. "Food Day is a chance to shine light on healthy, wholesome food ingredients and to remind people how joyful and easy eating well with your family can be."
In addition to many other educational events, some Food Day events will be devoted to mobilizing support for policies that support healthier diets and sustainable and organic agriculture, reduce hunger, reform factory farms, and support fair working conditions for food and farm workers. At least 300 colleges and universities are organizing Food Day events under the leadership of campus-based Real Food Challenge.
Food Day is led by an advisory board that includes some of the nation's top chefs, physicians, nutrition authorities, and food movement leaders. Besides Andres, Kessler, and Krieger, the board has writer Michael Pollan, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, Growing Power founder Will Allen, publisher Maria Rodale, Harvard nutrition researcher Walter Willett, and chefs Alice Waters and Dan Barber. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) serve as honorary co-chairs.
"Food Day is an important occasion for us to come together to celebrate all of the opportunities for nutritious, healthy eating while also renewing our commitment to increasing those opportunities," DeLauro said. "Ending hunger in America, guaranteeing accurate and clear food labeling, and ensuring every child has access to nutritious meals benefits not just our nation, but the entire world. This is why I continue to champion the spirit and vision of Food Day."
Contact Jeff Cronin (jcronin[at]cspinet.org) or Ariana Stone (astone[at]cspinet.org).