Today, October 24th, people from all walks of life are coming together to celebrate the first annual Food Day. Across the country, activists, educators, students, chefs, local officials, and concerned eaters will be hosting and participating in community-building and awareness-raising events. The goal is to create opportunities to connect with our food and our communities, advocating for healthy, affordable food produced in a sustainable, humane way.
Food Day is sponsored by the Center for Science in the Public Interest and its Honorary Co-Chairs are Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT). Its aim is to be a grassroots-led and people-powered, though, so government and corporate funding are not accepted. Along with its independent organizational philosophy, the following six principles guide this year’s celebrations:
- Reduce diet-related disease by promoting safe, healthy foods
- Support sustainable farms & limit subsidies to big agribusiness
- Expand access to food and alleviate hunger
- Protect the environment & animals by reforming factory farms
- Promote health by curbing junk-food marketing to kids
- Support fair conditions for food and farm workers
Food Day is an important step forward in the movement for food justice because it promotes truly sustainable and inclusive solutions to our food system problems. As we have noted numerous times before, farmworker issues are often overlooked or overshadowed by food movements focused primarily on environmental, economic or urban concerns. By openly including fair conditions for food and farmworkers in their guiding principles, Food Day organizers and supporters around the country are recognizing the valuable and unappreciated role these individuals play in our food system and the central role they must also play in their own liberation from unsustainable and unjust conditions.
Current farmworker conditions and the importance of the struggle for farmworker justice were also key themes of the TEDxFruitvale event in Oakland a couple weeks ago. It is clear that momentum is building and other food justice advocates are embracing farmworker issues as a part of the same struggle. At TEDxFruitvale, Nikki Henderson from People’s Grocery spoke about the importance of collaboration and the need to reconnect with our roots and reach out to our allies. Food Day represents the perfect opportunity to do just that. Justice for farmworkers is gaining recognition in other movements, but it is up to all of us to continue to push for full inclusion, representation and collaboration.
So look for a Food Day event near you and get involved! We the people are the most important ingredient in Food Day and only we can make it a success and carry its principles throughout the rest of the year. And just because farmworker justice is one of the guiding principles of the celebration does not mean that this issue will be present at every event and in every conversation, so this is a great opportunity for open dialogue and discussion. To learn more about the unfair conditions farmworkers and their families currently face and to help raise awareness on this momentous occasion, visit our website.