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By Lisa Browdy
Back in 1971 a group of environmentalists created Earth Day, an annual springtime event to raise awareness of the ways that we use and abuse our natural resources.
Following in its footsteps is Food Day, which inaugurates a week from today on October 24, 2011. Food Day is designed to bring Americans together "to push for healthy, affordable food produced in a sustainable, humane way," according to the event's official website, www.foodday.org
"Food Day's goal is nothing less than to transform the American diet—to inspire a broad movement involving people from every corner of our land who want healthy, affordable food produced in a sustainable, humane way. In other words, we want America to eat real. We want to get Americans cooking real food for their families again. We want fewer people at drive-throughs and bigger crowds at farmers markets. We want to celebrate fresh fruits, vegetables, and healthy whole grains—and to support the local farms and farmers that produce them. We want all Americans—regardless of their age or income or geographic location—to be able to select healthy diets and avoid obesity, heart disease, and other diet-related conditions."
Created by the Center For Science in the Public Interest (CPSI), the nutrition advocacy group that is famous (or infamous) for alerting the public to the poor nutritional prospects of favorite foods like movie popcorn and fettucini alfredo, the event is designed to raise awareness of six core principals:
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
Businesses, governments, schools and individuals are encouraged to participate in Food Day by holding an event like a healthy pot-luck dinner or cooking class and talking about what is right and wrong in our food system.
The Whole Foods Market in River Forest will be observing Food Day by holding a "Sample and Savor" event to offer tastes and recipes from its favorite Health Starts Here products. It will run from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the store at Lake and Harlem.
On the OakPark.com/Health blog, every post between now and Food Day will be a feature about food, nutrition, and ways to reconsider some of our eating habits.
Food Day is encouraging us to "Eat Real," making food at home with fresh, unprocessed ingredients. To inspire people to try some delicious recipes with healthy, seasonal foods, Food Day enlisted celebrity chefts to create a Food Day cookbook. It can be downloaded for free here.
How will you celebrate Food Day?