Monday, hundreds of residents from across the state came together in honor of the first annual Food Day, a major grassroots campaign to celebrate healthy, affordable foods produced in a humane, sustainable way. Festivities kicked off in Charlotte at the first annual Mecklenburg National Food Day Celebration. The event featured live cooking demos, film screening, garden workshops and lots of healthy, local foods. Hosted by the Mecklenburg County Parks, North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension, and Sow Much Good Inc. the event aimed at raising awareness about the importance and power of sustainably-produced food, specifically among residents in food deserts.
In the Raleigh-Durham area events were held outside the North Carolina General Assembly building in downtown Raleigh with a keynote speech by University of North Carolina’s Dr. Barry Poppin. Area universities also joined in the celebration. Duke hosted a Fall Harvest Festival serving foods and ingredients sourced from a farm on campus. At University of North Carolina students organized a film festival, screening documentaries that focused on food system issues.
“North Carolina consistently ranks in the bottom third of all states when it comes to rates of chronic disease and obesity. We know these diseases can be prevented at least in part with better nutrition—we need to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, eggs, seafood, lowfat dairy and meat—much of which is produced right here in our state,” said Alyse Polly of the North Carolina Division of Public Health.
Food Day (www.FoodDay.org) seeks to bring people from all walks of life together to celebrate and improve the food system by:
* Reducing obesity and diet-related disease by promoting safe, healthy foods
* Supporting sustainable family farms and cutting subsidies to huge agribusiness
* Ending urban and rural “food deserts” by providing access to healthy foods
* Protecting the environment and farm animals by reforming factory farms
* Promoting children’s health by curbing junk-food marketing aimed at kids
* Obtaining fair wages for all workers in the food system.
Locally, area residents donated fresh, local produce to food insecure North Carolinians and youth designed advertisements promoting fruits and vegetables and discouraging consumption of sugary beverages.
“Food Day is an opportunity to celebrate real food and the growing movement toward a sustainable and just food system. I’m thrilled that residents of North Carolina have joined in celebration on this important day,” said Food Day Campaign Manager Jennifer Tuttle.