Each year on October 24th, people across the country participate in events to celebrate Food Day. This annual event is meant to encourage and inspire Americans to eat more healthy foods and improve food policies.
Food Day was created in 1975 by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) in order to address food-related issues such as eating healthier diets, supporting sustainable farms, improving food access, and supporting food and farm workers. Food Day was re-launched in 2011 with a new focus on educating youth on healthy eating and food production.
Every year, the Food Day campaign focuses on a particular platform to address these issues. Past campaigns have included “food justice” and “food education”. This year’s food day will focus on eating a “greener diet”, which invites Americans to think about how their diet not only impacts their health, but how it impacts the environment. Some initiatives include eating less meat, promoting a plant-based diet, and eating foods produced sustainably and with care for the people involved in food production.
In 2015 schools got involved in Food Day in the following ways:
- 2015 Apple Crunch: Students were encouraged to share pictures of themselves biting into an apple on social media with the hashtag #FoodDay2015. Not only did this build school-wide awareness, but it also contributed to the national momentum of Food Day.
- Food Day Youth Debate: Students were encouraged to engage in food-related topics by hosting a Food Day debate on issues related to food access, obesity, food sustainability, and healthy foods.
- Food Day School Curriculum: Developed by the Teachers College of Columbia University, the curriculum was designed for upper elementary and middle school students and suggests different activities that engage students with making healthy choices. The full curriculum and other classroom resources are available to download for free from the Food Day website and can be used year round!
- Interdisciplinary Activities: Teachers from a variety of subject areas coordinated to integrate lessons and projects about healthy eating into the classroom.
- Chefs to Schools: Local chefs were invited to schools to talk to students about making healthy choices and eating sustainable foods, or cooking and providing samples of healthy foods.
- Food Day Menu: Nutrition/food service directors worked to design a special menu or menu item that highlights healthy, plant-based foods. Meatless Monday provides some recipe ideas for K-12 lunchrooms.
- More Ideas: A guidebook for school organizers was developed by the Food Day team, and contains additional ideas for how to incorporate Food Day into schools.
Rachel Watkin, Cornell University
Carman, Tim (2011) Food Day is back after a 34-year absence. The Washington Post