This October 24th will be the second national Food Day, a nationwide celebration and movement towards healthy, affordable and sustainable food, set up and run by our friends at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Food Day is one of many movements to get people to start thinking about their health, their diet and the bigger picture of where their food comes from, how it gets to their plate and what happens along the way.
Over 37.7% of US adults and 17% of US children and adolescents are overweight or obese, and it is predicted that US obesity will rise to 42% by 2030. Obesity related diseases include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer - some of the leading causes of death. It is no longer only the older generation that are affected by such diseases; it is thought that 23% of teens are either pre-diabetic or have type 2 diabetes, a disease unheard of in this age group two decades ago. While this epidemic is by no means only true to America, it is leading the rest of the world.
Food Day might only be one day, but we believe that a day of action can ignite a fire for change - empowering, educating and inspiring people across the nation to help make a difference. That’s why earlier in the year we held our first ever Food Revolution Day, a day dedicated to standing up for real food. We asked communities all over the world to host a local event, to start connecting with others in their community and to open the conversation on real food. We were inspired to see communities in 664 cities across 62 countries get involved and hosted over 1,000 events. From community cooking classes and pot lucks to real food dinner parties and recipe swaps, people across the world educated one another about real food, transferred skills and knowledge and stood up with their community for their right to better food education. The results of this are beginning to show – with communities working together to make change in their local schools, businesses and communities, and with individuals being inspired to make a difference in their own lives since attending a Food Revolution Day event.
We believe that food education is at the heart of making a difference, which is why it was at the core of Food Revolution Day on May 19. Food Day also speaks to this cause, celebrating real food and helping to solve food-related problems. Both children and adults who learn to cook make better food choices and are empowered with confidence when it comes to food. Almost 4,000 people have been taught how to cook through the Food Revolution Big Rig Mobile Kitchen in California and Huntington’s Kitchen in West Virginia and starting this summer, with 100% of the funds raised through Food Revolution Day, we’ll be rolling out our "Learn your Fruit & Vegetables" program to school aged children in the US and UK and running more cooking classes at the Ministry of Food centre in Ipswich, Australia.
Transparency over what is in our food and where our food comes from is also vital when it comes to making food choices – at home, at school and at work. Earlier in the year we launched, with the help of some fantastic organisations, ‘Stop Pink Slime’ - a webpage to unite forces and support a petition to remove this product from school food. ‘Stop Pink Slime’ shows how the public and united organizations and individuals can make a difference when they stand together and allow their voices to be heard – the USDA has since announced that schools have an option when it comes to buying the ground beef for their school lunches and whether or not this contains ‘Pink Slime’.
That’s why we joined forces with over 70 over thought leaders, chefs, real food advocates and organisations in May to help get the farm bill on a better track. Although the amendment we supported was not adopted on the Senate floor, it has started a historic debate that will continue as the farm bill moves through the house. Additionally there were some wins for local food in the Senate Bill and we’ll continue to work together to help ensure that these wins remain a priority.
We want to change the way people eat by educating every child about food, empowering families by arming them with the skills and knowledge to cook again, and inspiring everyone to stand up for their rights to better food; which in turn will fight the epidemic of diet-related diseases. There’s much more to come this year for the Food Revolution so stay tuned!
In the meantime, here are some inspiring quotes from our Food Revolution Community:
“When we cook together to take care of health we get a chance to live not only longer lives but also happier ones” – Anastasia, Moscow
“Give a child a meal; you have fed him for today. Teach a child to choose Real Food; and you have nourished him for a lifetime” – Kim, California
“Food is a big thing. It binds all ethnic background together. It brings joy and peace. It brings people who have one common goal together” – Farah, Malaysia
We’ll be supporting Food Day on October 24th – will you?
The Food Revolution Team
Photo Credit: Food Revolution Team