Food Day raises awareness for food access and insecurity issues
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 25, 2013 - Officials, community leaders and citizens participated in 4,700 events across the country in honor of Wednesday's third annual Food Day, according to the campaign that coordinated the celebration. Food Day was created to “shine a spotlight on local solutions to problems with (the) food system,” according to the campaign's press release.
The event is co-sponsored by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation, a non-profit run by the celebrity chef that works to bring food education into schools and youth-oriented organizations.
“We hope that one of the things that comes out of Food Day is a food movement that is stronger, more united, and better equipped to press for changes that make it easier to eat healthier year round,” said Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of CSPI and founder of Food Day. “Today hundreds of thousands of Americans will add their voices to a growing campaign for food that is produced with care for consumers, the environment, and the men and women who grow, harvest, and serve it.”
In Los Angles, Angelinos observed Food Day in a City Hall celebration of the city's Good Food Purchasing Program, which turned one year old on Wednesday. The program seeks to encourage the produce of and access to sustainably produced food, especially for low-income city dwellers.
The Los Angeles observance also included the planting of edible plants in residential parkways.
“We have seen that these parkway gardens can supplement food budgets for struggling families, beautify neighborhoods, and create a sense of community,” said Los Angeles city council president Herb Wesson, who coordinated the effort. “We are also looking at surplus properties owned by the City for their potential use as community gardens, especially for communities with limited green space and healthy food options.”
In Massachusetts, the state's agriculture department organized more than 600 events.
“Food Day is especially timely this year as we prepare to finalize the farm bill in Congress,” said local Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., a leading Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) advocate and farm bill conferee. “In the richest nation on earth, access to high quality, nutritious food for every American is a necessary and achievable goal.”
Others celebrated Food Day online by cooking healthy meals and uploaded their photos to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with the tag #LetsGetCooking. Photos marked with that hashtag were entered into a contest for a Jamie Oliver cookbook.
Webcasts also figured prominently in the event, with broadcasts of a Food Dialogues debate in Boston including Food Day founder Michael F. Jacobson and a “Food Policy 101” webinar organized by Policy Link and Philadelphia's The Food Trust featured.