The Food Movement’s Special Day

This post comes to us from PreventObesity.net. Founded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the site is used by the foundation as an outline resource aiming to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic. According to their website, they are “working to change policies and environments to help children and families eat well and move more, especially in communities at highest risk for obesity.” Posting written by Elizabeth Brotherton.

Every April 22, billions of people gather to mark Earth Day. It’s a time when people across the globe to reflect on how we treat our planet — and what steps we can take to protect it.

Taking a cue from the environmental movement, thousands of food advocates around the country will mark the first-ever “Food Day” on Monday, Oct. 24. It’s the brainchild of Michael Jacobson and the Center of Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), who plan to sponsor the event annually to campaign for a healthier and more sustainable national food system.

Thousands of people and hundreds of organizations are expected to take part in more than 1,800 Food Day events nationwide, including an “Eat In” in Times Square in New York, an open house at the National Archives in Washington and five days of lessons about food in schools in Bentonville, Ark. (best known as the hometown of Wal-Mart).

“What Food Day hopes to do is provide a vehicle, provide a national event, that all of these groups can tie into,” Jacobson said in an address at the National Press Club on Wednesday. “Educate the public, and advance their goals to cure all these various problems.”

The PreventObesity.net team plans to participate in a Food Day gathering at American University here in D.C., and childhood obesity will likely be among the issues discussed at Food Day events across the country. Jacobson noted the epidemic has triggered huge concern among health advocates, as obesity can lead to conditions like diabetes, heart disease, stroke and even cancer.

To address childhood obesity head-on, among CSPI’s six main goals for Food Day is to curb the amount of marketing of unhealthy food that’s aimed at kids.

“There are all these health problems that start in childhood,” Jacobson said. “And what do we see? We see major companies, the General Mills, the Kellogg’s, and so on, marketing junk to kids.”

We couldn’t agree more, of course. Over the past several weeks, more than 26,000 PreventObesity.net Leaders and Supporters have written to big-name food and beverage companies asking them to support reasonable federal principles for marketing to children. “They’re really quite good, saying food should actually have food in it,” Jacobson said of the marketing principles.

Want to help? Click here to tell the food and beverage industry that they should agree to abide by the principles.

Other Food Day goals include promoting of healthy food; supporting sustainable farms and limiting subsidies to big agribusiness; expanding access to food to end hunger; protecting the environment and farm animals by reforming factory farms; and supporting fair conditions for food and farm workers.

Click here to find a Food Day event in your area.

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