Food Day's national priorities address overarching concerns within the food system and provide common ground for building the food movement. Food Day aims to:
- Promote safer, healthier diets: The foods we eat should promote, not undermine, our good health. Yet, every year we spend more than $150 billion on obesity-related health care costs, plus another $75 billion or so in reduced productivity. Government initiatives to eliminate artificial trans fat and encourage companies to voluntarily reduce sodium should make packaged foods less harmful. Considering also new media campaigns promoting produce and criticizing soda pop, we may be at a turning point in efforts to encourage healthier diets.
- Support sustainable and organic farms: Currently, small, sustainable farms receive little federal support and often lack market access to keep them competitive. Meanwhile, the largest 10 percent of industrialized farms—which contribute to poor health and severe environmental degradation—receive 75 percent of all farm subsidies.
- Reduce hunger and improve food access: Currently, around 46 million Americans are considered "food insecure," or near hunger. Participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) is near an all-time high. SNAP is vital to reducing hunger, but the program’s budget is under constant attack while federal measures to increase food access are minimal.
- Reform factory farms to protect the environment and farm animals: Today, most farm animals are confined in “factory farms”—sometimes containing as many as 50,000–100,000 cattle, chickens, or pigs. Such practices result in needless animal abuse and illness, environmental degradation, and harm the people who live in and around those facilities. However, between new state animal-treatment laws and requirements by Walmart, McDonald’s, and some other large companies that their suppliers treat animals humanely, more farm animals should have better lives.
- Support fair working conditions for food and farm workers: 20 million workers throughout the U.S. food system harvest, process, ship, sell, cook, and serve the food we eat every day. And yet, many farm workers earn well below poverty levels while the tipped minimum wage for restaurant servers has remained at $2.13 per hour for the last 21 years. Worker activism has spurred Los Angeles, Seattle, and even conservative South Dakota and Nebraska to boost the minimum wage to as high as $15 per hour over the next several years.
Click on the priorities for facts, resources, and actions you can take to help work towards a healthy, sustainable, affordable, and fair food system!