Food Justice Focus of Fourth Annual Food Day
Thousands of Events from Coast to Coast Planned for October 24
Justice throughout the food chain—from farm workers to child consumers—will be a special focus for the fourth annual Food Day, as will increasing Americans’ access to healthful food. Culminating on October 24, Food Day is an event that organizers hope will inspire many Americans to improve their own diets and work toward solving food-related problems at the local, state, and national level. Started by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest and other food leaders in 2011, Food Day quickly grew to 5,000 events from coast to coast last year alone.
The Food Chain Workers Alliance, a national coalition of 23 organizations that represent over 280,000 workers that farm, produce, pack, transport, cook, serve, and sell food will be using Food Day to bring awareness to consumers about food justice. The Alliance will join Food Day and CSPI in Washington, D.C., on October 24 for a panel focused on justice and equity for farm and food workers as well as farmers. At the event, the Alliance will also announce the winner of its competition for the most creative message to explain why raising the minimum wage is important to food workers. Alliance member organizations around the country will also hold events and actions on Food Day to build awareness about injustices done to workers in the food chain.
"For us, Food Day is a great opportunity to show the connections between the challenges facing workers in the food system, public health, the environment, and access to healthy food,” said Joann Lo, executive director of the Food Chain Workers Alliance. “We know that by working together with others who care about these multitudes of issues, we can transform the system into one that is just and healthy for all."
Organizers of Food Day have adopted “Real Food, Just Food” as the slogan for 2014.
“Food justice goes beyond improving working conditions for farm and restaurant workers. The issue of justice even extends to children, who are bombarded with advertising for highly processed junk foods,” said Michael Jacobson, CSPI executive director and Food Day founder.
Other Food Day events aim to bring families together to enjoy sustainable food. In the nation’s capital, the National Geographic Museum will host a Harvest Festival on October 25, featuring hands-on, family-friendly activities and demonstrations run by chefs, local nonprofits, and others. The Harvest Festival is part of National Geographic's larger cross-platform initiative exploring all things food. On October 16th, National Geographic Museum will open its Food: Our Global Kitchen exhibition, which will run through February 22.
For the fourth year in a row, organizers of the Well FED Savannah Food Day Festival will draw thousands of Georgians to an outdoor celebration of locally grown food, heritage, healthy eating, and sustainability. In 2013, some 15,000 people attended the free public festival, which features live music, exhibitors, vendors, and dozens of free workshops.
Some food companies are participating in Food Day also. In October, Bon Appétit Management Company will roll out a sugar-awareness campaign companywide at hundreds of corporate and university locations in 32 states. Through visual displays, taste tests, and handouts, they aim to show where added sweeteners hide in everyday foods.
Across the country, conferences, summits, and other events devoted to mobilizing support for improved food policies are being organized. The Tulsa Food Security Coalition will host a 2014 Food Access Summit in celebration of Food Day. The San Antonio Food Policy Conference will take place on October 24 and continue for a second day of field trips of October 25.
In Berkeley, Calif., organizers will use Food Day to mobilize in support of a November ballot question asking for the adoption of a one-cent-per-ounce tax on sugar drinks sold in the city. The idea is to use the tax revenues to restore funding to school and community nutrition education programs, including Farm Fresh Choice and Berkeley's celebrated school garden and cooking programs.
In Detroit, Michigan, the Fair Food Network, the Detroit Lions, Eastern Market Corporation, and other organizations will convene on at Detroit’s famed Eastern Market and celebrate Food Day with a morning teaching about fresh, healthy eating and supporting area farmers, while elevating resources like Fair Food Network’s statewide healthy food incentive program, Double Up Food Bucks. Lions executive chef, Joe Nader, will be on-hand with lunch and a cooking demonstration using seasonal fresh produce purchased directly from Eastern Market farmers.
Health Care Without Harm is encouraging health care facilities nationwide to celebrate Food Day by serving meat and poultry raised without routine antibiotics. By signing up on Health Care Without Harm’s website, hospitals, clinics, and other health care facilities can show their commitment to building a healthy and sustainable food system.
Food Chains, the documentary film on the grassroots movement to support farmworker rights produced by Eva Longoria and Eric Schlosser, will be joining Food Day as well. The film will be galvanizing its campaign partners around an online day of action to support the CIW’s Fair Food Program, which ensures safe working conditions and basic human rights for Florida’s tomato pickers. Food Chains opens nationwide on November 21.
“Most Americans want to have healthier diets, and Food Day is a great opportunity to break a bad habit or to start new, healthy habits with their own diets,” said Lilia Smelkova, Food Day national coordinator. “At thousands of Food Day events, in the news, and on social media we want to connect the dots between the food on people’s plates and their health, the environment, and the lives of the people who produce it.”
Contact Jeff Cronin (jcronin[at]cspinet.org) or Ariana Stone (astone[at]cspinet.org).