After a pause of three decades, national Food Day is back. An amazing amount of energy and creativity is being mobilized around this celebration, and the diversity of events is just amazing: community potlucks, special school menus, virtual dinner parties…the list goes on and on. There’s a lot to celebrate, not least the inventiveness and diversity of the food movement, which brings together farmers, nutritionists and health professionals, chefs, mommy bloggers, foodies, researchers, policy wonks, and a rapidly growing number of ‘real food’ businesses.
But after the feel-good feeling wears off, what will have changed? A little more awareness-raising, to be sure. But the danger with these events is (sometimes) that they are preaching to the converted, and to people who have the resources to participate. So I applaud those who are using Food Day to demand reforms to our food and educational systems. The Centre for Science in the Public Interest is a great example (check out their class action law suit against fake fruit snacks ). The school lunch reform campaigns run by chefs like Jamie Oliver and Ann Cooper (the ‘Renegade Lunch Lady’) are other great examples.
This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t go out and celebrate: I certainly plan to do so. But we also shouldn’t forget our goal: not just to enjoy food with friends and family, but also to work towards living in a place where every day is Real Food Day, for everyone.