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October 24, 2011 at 8:00 AMComments: 7 Faves: 0

October 24 - Today is Food Day! Rather Than Occupying Wall Street, Foodies Everywhere are Occupying Big Food.

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“It's all connected. The diets we select, the foods we grow, the policies we form, and the impact we have. It's time to get real about food.” - CSPI

Today, Monday October 24th is Food Day.

Food Day is a nationwide campaign coordinated by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) to promote delicious, healthy, and affordable food produced in a sustainable, humane way. This independent organization has strong and scientifically based opinions on all aspects of the American diet, “too many Americans base their diet on fatty factory-farmed animal products, salty packaged foods, and sugary drinks that cause everything from obesity and heart disease to strokes and cancer. Moreover, the way our food is produced is all too often unfair to farm workers, cruel to farm animals, and contributes to climate change and pollution.” CSPI's mission is to change the American diet to one based on REAL food.

REAL food is food that is derived from Mother Nature rather than a science laboratory. Real food is fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts, seeds, meat, poultry, and fish. Real food is not genetically modified (GM corn, soy, canola, salmon, etc.), nor is it man-made (artificial coloring, artificial sweeteners, partially hydrogenated oils, etc.).

Food Day is a celebration of delicious, nutritious, whole foods. If you would like to join in with the fun, why not follow in the footsteps of public health professionals and foodies across the nation by voicing your opinion to your congressman, cooking a fresh meal for your family, or taking strides to alter your food choices. Some occupy Wall Street, others Occupy Big Food

Here are a few of the ways foodies are helping to celebrate Food Day today and every day: 

  1. Reduce diet-related disease by promoting and enjoying safe, healthy foods
  2. Support sustainable farms and limit subsidies to big agribusiness
  3. Expand access to food and alleviate hunger
  4. Protect the environment and animals by reforming factory farms
  5. Promote health by curbing junk-food marketing to kids
  6. Support fair conditions for food and farm workers

What do you think? What factors do you consider when you are grocery shopping? Do you seek out local, organic, humane, cage-free, natural, or avoid food from particular companies? Are you stumped as to why anyone would want to learn more about their food? Curious to learn more? Check out one of the countless nationwide events on and around October 24 where fabulous food experts will aim to inspire you to better your health and help make a difference in our food system. If everyone were to make food choices based on safety and fairness, surely organic prices would fall while processed and fast-food prices would increase. It all comes down to the system of checks and balances and every single purchase is being watched, the food industry will offer whatever we are buying.

Still hungry for more? Check out these inspiring videos on this very topic. And remember, vote with your fork this Food Day and if you are feeling inspired, vote as often as you are able.

More from Health Coach Jessica Corwin MPH RDN Others Are Reading

7 Comments

  • "The food industry will offer whatever we are buying."

    This is SO important! I remember that Food Inc. brought up the same point, saying how we are essentially casting a vote every time we go to the grocery store. How do we expect the prices of organic food to drop if we don't raise the demand by purchasing it?

    Thanks for posting this, Jessica - I had never heard of this event before! Is this an annual event, or just for this year?

    It's so important to know where your food is coming from. That's why, if possible, it's ideal to actually visit a local farm and purchase from them (at least occasionally) so you know exactly where your food is coming from. "Free range," sadly, is largely a myth.

  • Great point, Laura! I fall into that trap sometimes. I think "I really want to buy organic, but it's so expensive" So what do I do? I buy purchase the other option. So I am really defeating the purpose of wanting organic options to fall in their prices.

    When it's the right season, purchasing fruits and veggies from farmers markets are a great way to support local farmers and better organic foods. I find that, depending on where you go, farmer's markets can be less expensive or around the same price as in grocery stores. Plus, it tastes better!

    Another option is trying a grocery store that has lower prices...such as Aldie. They still offer certain organic options. Not as many, but the price is better. My husband recently told me he found a healthy soup at a big chain store for $3.50 (on sale) while at Aldie it was only $2.

    Sometimes buying organic and trying to find the least expensive price can be time consuming...you may have to go to multiple stores instead of one huge chain. But, it all depends on what you want. If you are able to spend more on organic and want to save time, go to a big chain store. (Someday I hope I can do this, cause I love saving time!) Or if you are on a tighter budget, shop around a bit more.

    Oh and keeping updated on sales and coupons available is key too. I need to do that more!

  • As a consumer it has become harder and harder to discern what is a "good" food to eat. Even the definition of "organic" has been blurred by big business. There is a constant erosion of the information that we are provided as consumers about the food we eat by the corporations producing our foods. From no labeling of genetically modified foods to the weak definition of "free range" livestock (there are no guidelines for free range eggs although you still see eggs labeled as such). It's more confusing than ever for the average person to eat "responsibly". I recently read that the food bought from your local farmer's market actually has a higher carbon footprint than store bought food because of the less efficient transportation it took to get to you, as in 50 different trucks to bring the farmers market rather than 1 big truck to bring the produce to the supermarket.

    I think there are a lot of groups and people out there trying to educate the public about the food they eat, but it's an uphill battle in the age of information and in the face of such a large business group as the World's food producing companies. I for one believe that if the American public knew the facts about the produce and meat that they eat they would demand wholesale changes to its production methods.

  • John makes some great points. Who can battle against those enormous companies who are supported and promoted by the wealthiest people in the world (and don't even get me started on government subsidies!)? Eventually, GMO crops will outcompete our heirloom crops, and if you don't want GMO, you'll have to grow it yourself. Anything wind-pollinated, like corn, is doomed anyway, as you can get away from fields of commercially grown corn. Then, of course, you have to decide what's more important to you: GMO typically means less applied pesticides.

    Prices at the farmer's market are interesting ($5 for a handful of potatoes???), as is the selection. I'm wary of farmers who offer EVERYTHING at their stand. Really, who grows everything and has it all ready for sale at the same time? I grow my own garden (to avoid pesticides and GMO crops) and know it's virtually impossible to have peas and tomatoes at the same time. One of them is not from the same place, or it's green-housed.

    On the other hand, you find a farmer who only grows apples, and you've got yourself a gem. Talk with the farmer and try to discern his growing philosophy. A few weeks ago, I spoke with a guy who only uses praying mantises as his pesticide and fermented apple mash and straw to smother weeds. He uses some mold inhibitors in long-term damp weather, so his apples are not organic, but it seems like a pretty good compromise to not lose the whole crop.

    To me, it's important to know how the food is grown. You can't get that at a supermarket.

  • @ Seth I guess I've been to different farmers markets than you. $5 for a handful of potatoes is ridiculous! All the ones I've been too have lower prices and each farmer specializes in a handful of produce. I would also be skeptical of those who offer everything as well. Going to an actual locally owned farm seems a bit safer to me than farmer's markets too. This way you are going yourself to where the food is coming from.

  • Just wanted to add:

    I just think those unmanned produce stands on the side of the road in the country are the coolest things. There is usually an envelope for the money and it works on the honor system and is always very reasonably priced. The 1st time I came upon one I waited around for someone to come out of their house and help me until I realized that it was self serve. It's very satisfying to purchase vegetables and be able to look over 50 feet to where they were grown.

    I also go to Ken's Fruit Market on Eastern by Alger in Grand Rapids for produce, most of it's organic and locally grown and the butcher shop there is all locally bought meats at a great price. The staff will answer any questions you have about the products. The "World's Best" sweet corn I bought there this fall was simply amazing! The best I have ever eaten and I think it was 20 cents an ear..

  • Laura, Food Day is an annual event :) Sounds like there were some great events taking place even in Grand Rapids! Stay tuned for 2012...

    Glad you're enjoying organic products, Bri! Even at a steal :) I encourage you to check for the USDA Certified Organic Seal as I have heard mixed reviews about Aldi's shopping ethics... Though interesting enough, they own one of my fave stores - Trader Joe's! This website is pretty helpful when it comes to finding better priced organics: http://organicfoodcoupons.com/

    John, the USDA Certified Organic seal is one of the few defined terms when it comes to our food. This is actually a claim you can trust, though it certainly does not limit a company when it comes to it's carbon footprint. You are right that local produce at your farmer's market can come at a heavier carbon cost than that of a product that has been efficiently shipped and packed from Meijer or GFS, but sometimes that is not the goal. I shop at our local market to support our local farmer's, some whom may not be able to afford the organic seal even though they truly are utilizing organic practices. And just as Bri mentioned she likes to get her organics at a discount from Aldi's... it all depends on what your goal is. Reducing impact on climate change (the best way to do this is through a plant-based diet and limited packaging), reducing pesticide use, improving local economy, getting to know your food and farmer... And what is interesting is that each person in the media has a biased slant used to motivate the consumer to change - making the subject more confusing. PS. I'm also a big fan of street-side farm stands, fresh as it gets!

    And you know... the fresher the produce is, the more nutrient-packed it is!



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