Monday, October 20, 2014

Food Day!

by Deja Burrows, AOS Culinary, as appearing in La Papillote

More than four years ago, the Center for Science in the Public Interest decided to host an event known as Food Day. It has been celebrated every year for the last four years with a general focus on sustainable, affordable, and healthy food. This year at The Culinary Institute of America the Slow Foods Club invites you to become a part of the festivities.

Last year Food Day was celebrated from coast to coast with more than 4,700 events, including farmers markets, cook-offs, and debates. Communities, churches, and colleges all came together to promote “real food’ which the Food Day board defines as fresh, non-processed goods. The Food Day board includes influential members such as John Maleri, the associate director of Earth Day, and Alice Waters, the founder of the Slow Food movement. The goal is to change Americans diets and to teach them about the health benefits of natural foods, both as remedies and preventative measures. They want to raise support for sustainable organic farming and for it to be looked at as a way to reduce hunger.

Every year Food Day has a specific focus, with this year’s being “food justice.” Food justice refers to the wages and working conditions of those within the food supply chain. That includes workers in farming, transportation, packaging, cooking, and selling of foods. Those that work within these areas do not receive fair wages or desirable working conditions. It is our job to bring this issue to light and to push for improvement. After all, they are providing the food we consume every day. The Food Day board is working along with the Food Chain Workers Alliance, which represents over 280,000 workers to bring justice and equality to them. A second but equally important aspect of this year’s theme is to enlighten the public on the way in which media companies overly promote processed “junk food” to children. This year’s events will target entire families and seek to educate them about the difference between “real food” and “junk food.” In a press release, Lilia Smelkova, the Director of National Food Day describes this year’s food day saying, “At thousands of Food Day events, in the news, and on social media we want to connect the dots between the food on people’s plates and their health, the environment and the lives of the people who produce it.

In the Hyde Park area there will be several Food Day events on the 24th of October. Our neighboring college, Marist, plans to celebrate with events of their own. As CIA students we are also being asked to come out and help with the Hyde Park community garden to do our part. The garden is located at St. James Episcopal Church, not too far from campus. The Culinary Institute of America has a plot there; the food grown is donated to the community’s food pantry.

With the Farm-to-Table movement flourishing and food costs rising, why not support organic sustainable food growers or learn to sow and reap your own produce? The food supply chain workers need you, the community needs you, and in return you need food. So Culinary Students, get in on the action on October 24th for nationwide Food Day!