- So, they have been having World Food Day for years and it primarily focuses on hunger and social justice issues related to food production and distribution; this year it is on October 16th.
But, this year is the first for National Food Day which is being held on October 24th. It is being spearheaded by CSPI, and the advisory board includes folks like Michael Pollan, Marion Nestle, Barry Popkin, and Alice Waters.
The 6 National Food Day Principles are :
- 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
Several of those are directly related to helping children have healthier food, especially #1 and #5. So, sounds like a great idea, right?
The PTA at our local elementary school, the school were all my girls attend 1st grade, is getting more focused on helping create a healthier school. So, in addition to the fundraising Jog-a-thon that we have every year about this time, we have decided to celebrate Food Day this year. Our plans are to:
Make a short presentation at the Morning Assembly on Monday, Oct 24th
- Introduce the Food Day event, explain that they will be tasting fresh fruits and veggies today, some familiar and some maybe not.
- Show a short video clip about healthy foods, probably one of the ones from the FoodPlay website.
- Have a teacher taste some fresh fruits and veggies, possibly while blindfolded.
Continue with an In-class Fruit & Vegetable Tasting
- During regular snack time for each grade, the tasting will take place in the classroom.
- Offer 2-3 vegetables and 2-3 fruits for tasting (prefer local if possible, and in season).
- Include whole fruits and vegetables for demonstration, as well as cut up ones for tasting, so children can see what the whole food looks like.
- Invite a mentor from the community to come talk to each class for about 10 minutes while the kids are tasting.
- Ask mentors to talk about advantages of eating fresh food, especially fruits and vegetables. Mentors can talk about their role in food production and distribution.
- Possible mentors include: Farmers, Master Gardeners, Produce Manager from a grocery store, Representative of the Farmer’s Market or local Food co-op, Extension Agent, or a Botanist
Follow up to Food Day will include putting a sheet of kid-friendly recipes for fruit and veggie dishes that kids can make with their parents in the weekly folder. We also plan to include one such recipe a month in the PTA newsletter.
We have a very interested group of parents and teachers that are helping with the planning and the administration is supportive. The principal said that he is in favor of any program that encourages kids to eat more fruits and vegetables. 🙂 We have also gotten some support from local stores in providing the produce.
Is your school introducing or expanding on healthy lifestyle programs? If so, what are they and how successful have you been?
How may of you are celebrating National Food Day this year? It is not just an event for kids, in fact, many of the principles are really only something that adults can do anything about.
P.S. As a bonus, the Food Day group had created a free Food Day recipe booklet featuring recipes from Mario Batali, Rick Bayless, Ellie Krieger, Nina Simonds, and other top chefs and cooking authorities. Check it out!