When I switched on my computer this morning, my twitter feed was alight with hashtags commemorating the first annual Food Day. Sponsored by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and spearheaded by a bevy of natural food industry giants (including a remarkable list of professors, chefs, food advocates, CEOs, doctors, and members of Congress), Food Day aims to raise awareness over the increasingly processed and genetically modified state of America’s food system.
"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," states the organization’s website, Foodday.org. “In other words, we want America to eat real.”
Eat real. In a food system influenced too often by millions of dollars worth of lobbying power, these two words embody the spirit of the natural foods movement: A movement that can no longer be written off as fringe, considering over 2,000 events from Alabama to Wyoming are being held with the support of hundreds of partner organizations and food professionals. What's more, it is refreshingly stated on their website that Food Day does not accept funding from government or industry—ensuring the organization remains transparent.
With nearly 1 in 3 children in America overweight or obese (a figure which has tripled over the past three decades), what does the advent of Food Day mean? The mere fact that a day devoted to unprocessed food is needed indicates that our current Big Ag system is unsavory on many levels. But as with Earth Day, community awareness is infectious—especially if the benefit of a svelte, healthier body is the result of becoming involved. Consequently, at least in the online world, Food Day glimmers with public appreciation, gusto, and hope.
So how am I celebrating the day? I’ll attend a screening of Forks Over Knives, a documentary which examines the impact processed foods have on health. I’ll also follow the 6 Food Day Principles as outlined on their website:
1. Reduce diet-related disease by promoting safe, healthy foods
2. Support sustainable farms and limit subsidies to big agribusiness
3. Expand access to food and alleviate hunger
4. Protect the environment and animals by reforming factory farms
5. Promote health by curbing junk-food marketing to kids
6. Support fair conditions for food and farm workers