All across America the call to observe “Food Day” inspired communities to throw food-related events, related to good eating education and policy. In Omaha, 2,000 children enjoyed meals. As I perused the Food day call to “Ask Congress to Support Food Day’s Goals,” I realized each one touched me somehow this week.
- Reduce diet-related disease by promoting safe, healthy foods – Realistically do most people know about safe, healthy foods and what they’re eating isn’t healthy? I think so. In seventh grade I bragged to my teacher about my healthy eating: “I have a banana shake every day after school, with about a half a bag of walnuts in it!” She all but shrieked…my first lesson in caloric intake. Still, better than a Twinkie.
- Support sustainable farms & limit subsidies to big agribusiness – This would also help small food artisans locally access more affordable ingredients, to make it easier to produce their products more cost effectively. (Read the astounding facts on the Food Day website.) The question of whether having GMO crops will reduce U.S. food exports also weighs heavy on my mind.
- Expand access to food and alleviate hunger– Beyond the food deserts blanketing our cities, I have seen food access problems, knowing seniors who can’t get to the farmers’ market (LOVE the Food Bus idea), for whom the delivered produce boxes are good as long as they can cook, and who end up getting expensive deliveries from the large supermarkets. While a Whole Foods is relatively nearby, the price of organic milk is prohibitive. This is an extremely tough conundrum.
And as I prepare to travel to a place where the eating options are largely non-organic, non-local foods, I wonder what life was like in the old days–which really points to a return to canning. Why even when we were little eating canned and frozen vegetables was where it was at. Perhaps we’ll go back to the future.
- Protect the environment & animals by reforming factory farms – Not to mention protecting our health. It seems like everyone is getting cancer or some sort of disease these days. They need to start showing snippets from Food Inc on airplanes. (At least on flights where meals aren’t served. Or maybe where they are.)
- Promote health by curbing junk-food marketing to kids – A very foodie friend mentioned his well-educated kids still demand name brand, mainstream sugary cereal over natural brands. Is it that faux fruity flavor ? Or what?
- Support fair conditions for food and farm workers – I heard on NPR today that an Alabama farmer is between a rock and hard place since he’s depended on immigrants, who a new law has driven away. The American workers he’s tried hiring simply did not want to do the manual labor. The answer is clear: Market it as “the farm worker diet” and have people pay you to lose weight hauling melons. Obviously I’m not in policy, but someone’s got to try it!
With thousands of events across the country, Food Day has made a great impact on moving the country toward making every day is food day.