OCTOBER 24th, 2011
What is World Food Day? It is a day dedicated to making our food healthy and affordable with a focus on how it can be produced sustainably and humanely. The organization has teamed up with other organizations such as Slow Food USA, the American Dietetic Association and the American Medical Student Association. Although October 24th is dedicated to important ideals like trying to reintroduce real foods into our diets by cutting back on the processed and fast-foods; this movement is bigger than one day. It has encompassed a country. With strong heads such as Michelle Obama helping us lead this fight, key media players and celebrities that stand behind it include Emeril Lagasse and Mario Batali. There are six key principles that explain in detail what Food Day is really about. I have summarized each of the six principles below.
1. Reduce diet-related disease by promoting safe, healthy foods
Why is this one being repeated by everyone lately? Well because more than half of our U.S .population is overweight or obese and our children are catching up around one third being overweight or obese. Those statistics are astonishing. Of course there are many factors that go into this big problem, literally. Fast-food restaurants, poor school lunches, portion sizes, availability of junk food everywhere you go, and a sedentary lifestyle. TO sum it up all of those factors or even just a few of them lead to letting ourselves become unhealthy which can have a ripple effect with diseases and unhealthy conditions we are putting our bodies through.
2. Support sustainable farms & limit subsidies to big agribusiness
his is important because money can and should be directed towards smaller farms that generally are eco-friendly and humane to animals. These types of farms are not only going to save our production system someday but are going to save the land we live in. Environmentally friendly or certified organic farms do not use chemicals or anything that is harmful to animals or the environment. So that means no harmful pesticides or fertilizers leaching into our ground water. This initiative also promotes farm to school programs, which will help with the first principle and child hood obesity epidemic in the U.S. Instead let’s tax pesticides and chemical fertilizers.
3. Expand access to food and alleviate hunger
Although America was once the place of big dreams and wealth to many, food insecurity is affecting 50 million U.S. citizens and it has a crippling affect to our health involving lots of junk food/fast food and little nourishing foods. Once again Michelle Obama is making her husband invest millions of dollars to aid this situation and try to get rid of the “food deserts”, which refer to the areas in which consumers cannot walk to the grocery stores. Also, she is trying to eliminate “food swamps”, which are areas without direct access to grocery stores but have convenient access to fast food establishments, liquor stores and convenient stores.
4. Protect the environment & animals by reforming factory farms
Now a days it seems like everyone is hoping on the green train to better the environment, except we’re forgetting the thousands not on board; factory farms. Not only are factory farms harmful to the environment due to chemicals and such, but they extremely inhumane. Like mentioned earlier the problem of substances such as manure leaching into our ground water is a big problem. Inhumane treatment of animals on Confined Animal Feeding Operations mean that an increasing amount of antibiotics are being given to these animals that were most likely born sick. Then in turn, those antibiotics that people are essentially consuming from the animal products are aiding in Americans’ resistance to antibiotics.
5. Promote health by curbing junk-food marketing to kids
Turn on the television at any time throughout the day and you’ll see commercials of “bad” foods targeting America’s children. Guess what? It actually looks like their corny commercials are working if you look at the statistics. Obesity rates among children have tripled since 1980. We need to take action and take these marketing strategies away.
6. Support fair conditions for food and farm workers
There are NO established labor laws for farm workers. So naturally, they are taken advantage of. Such advantages include no overtime compensation, low wages (below minimum wage) and no breaks are given during long work days. Safety wise, long exposure to pesticides can lead to diseases such as cancer and infertility, yet these workers are exposed daily and not even paid enough to afford health insurance. OSHA does not visit ALL meat packing/poultry plants as it should. Injury and labor ethical debates are high. The high yield off the company’s product seems to be its only priority
Keep your eyes open because around the campus especially in the dining halls there are events happening now through October 24th, with special tables in all three of the dining halls on October 24th, 2011.