This Wednesday, October 24th is Food Day. Food Day was started as a movement to celebrate healthy, affordable, fair, and sustainable food. Food Day was organized by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. According to their website, the main goal was to organize and strengthen the food movement to affect food policy change.
50-million Americans are food insecure or near hunger. This is not in a foreign land or third world county. This is in our country, in our community, down the street. SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or food stamps program, provides about $4.30 per day for someone to eat on. During this current economic climate, social welfare programs like this are receiving constant scrutiny. Budgets are getting smaller, not larger.
I participated in the SNAP challenge
last week. I budgeted only $30 for all meals all week. It was incredibly challenging, took a lot of prior planning, and a lot of cooking things from scratch. I ate a lot of rice, beans, and peanut butter.
I even cheated because of my hectic school and work schedule; admittedly a cop-out. The dollar menu at McDonalds looked that much more convenient. It is sad that a high salt, high fat, factory-farmed hamburger with side of French fries was so much easier and less expensive to get than fresh fruits and vegetables. Not impossible, but markedly easier.
I will try the $30 budget challenge again. I think it is important to understanding the whole issue of hunger. Job searching and school attendances are hard to focus on when you are hungry.
Food Day is about encouraging individuals to ‘Eat Real’. This mean providing access to foods that are healthy, sustainable, affordable, and fair. In addition to raising awareness about hunger, Food Day goals include reforming factory farms, farm worker rights, and promoting organic, sustainable farms. In general, our current diets promote obesity, hypertension, and diabetes — all leading to increased healthcare costs and poorer quality of life.
You can do things in your community to help raise awareness of food insecurity, sustainability, and the importance of eating real.
Try the SNAP challenge yourself.
Continue to support local farmers by purchasing local, seasonable produce at local farmer’s markets.
Host of potluck dinner for friends and family of locally sourced, sustainable food.
Organize a food drive.
Volunteer at the food bank or a food pantry.
Vote in November to have your voice heard.
The options available to promote real eating are endless. You can look for local Food Day events happening in this area on the website or register your own. Happy Food Day