Since World Food Day happened recently, I was surprised to learn that the USA celebrate their own Food Day today! Maybe it’s similar to the difference between the Canadian and American Thanksgiving, or between European and North American daylight savings time? I guess globalization has its limits. 🙂 Still, why not celebrate twice? Happy Food Day!
Promote safer, healthier diets: The foods we eat should promote, not undermine, our good health. Yet, every year we spend more than $150 billion on obesity-related health care costs, plus another $73 billion in reduced productivity.
- Support sustainable and organic farms: Currently, sustainable farms receive little to no federal support and often lack market access to keep them competitive. Meanwhile, the largest 10 percent of industrialized farms—which contribute to poor health and severe environmental degradation—receive 75 percent of all farm subsidies.
- Reduce hunger: Currently, around 50 million Americans are considered “food insecure”, or near hunger, and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) participation is at an all-time high. SNAP is vital to reducing hunger, but the program’s budget is under constant attack while federal measures to increase food access are minimal.
- Reform factory farms to protect the environment and farm animals: Today, most farm animals are confined in “factory farms”—sometimes containing as many as 50,000-100,000 cattle, hens, or pigs. These practices result in needless animal abuse and illness, environmental degradation, and harm the people who live in and around those facilities.
- Support fair working conditions for food and farm workers: 20 million workers throughout the U.S. food system harvest, process, ship, sell, cook, and serve the food we eat every day. And yet, many farmworkers earn well below poverty levels while the tipped minimum wage for restaurant servers has remained at $2.13 per hour for the last 21 years.
This is a really well-thought out and comprehensive list of issues the food system (not only in the US!) has to tackle, I think! Click on the headings to be linked to a page listing both facts and what you can do to support change! Considering that many times we are only faced with the problems, this is also a very empowering approach. All their fact sheets can also be downloaded, including citations to all the numbers they list.
There are also interactive quizzes and tools that let you test for example…
How food literate you are – these questions are actually pretty tricky (I think I got 3 or 4 wrong, despite being pretty involved in food policy!) but very informative! Make sure to keep score yourself if you want to play against your friends, since it doesn’t provide a right/wrong count at the end.
How ‘real’ you eat – answer 14 questions to evaluate the impacts of your diet on your health, the environment and animal welfare! Doing this made me aware of how difficult it is to accurately assess your entire weekly diet in hindsight, despite the fact that I I have pretty habitual eating patterns when I cook for myself (stews, grains, lentils, cheese sandwiches for lunch…) So I may have overestimated or underestimated some of what I ate, but I finished up with a score of give or take 88 to 90 – an A! How about you? And maybe this would be a good incentive to track our real diets for a week and repeat the quiz?
Let me know how you enjoy the site and whether you celebrated Food Day in any significant way!