Food Day - October 24th

By Gordon Rock | September 01, 2013
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Food Day is an annual nationwide event that builds up over the year and culminates on October 24. Food Day is sponsored by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), which intends to revamp the broken food chain. For decades, this nonprofit watchdog group has struggled for accurate labeling, improved nutrition and safer eats. In our legislative halls and courtrooms, the CSPI has scrupulously tried to protect the public from flawed bureaucrats, meek or mendacious legislators, politicians cloaked in dark robes and deceptive agribusinesses. We commonors have an innate right to know about our food.

Food Day is not primarily intended for the small pool of foodies, grub pundits, locavores, vegetarians, life organizers, sanctimonious health addicts and the like, nor is it a limited campaign replete with vapid and superficial aims. Food Day is for everyone and earnestly tries to nourish both hungry and sated mouths. This Day does not insinuate that you reject your diet entirely only to embrace the dread of a deprived food life, as it is simply about savory grub and informed purchasing.

The 2011 Food Day iteration returned after an extended hiatus. The inaugural took place in 1975, although it only lasted only a couple of years due to a lack of funding (and perhaps we were eating better then). Renewed two years ago, behind a heightened social fervor for locally grown natural foods and nutritious diets; Food Day has now become an annual reminder to blaze that path. Across the country, some 3,200 different events took place last year, from local affairs to community festivals to numerous school activities to a national conference.

Marrying avid food advocates, scientists, health care folks, an an eager public while combining culinary cultures and food trends, Food Day can be truly inspiring. Find comfort by exploring that often uncharted territory called the kitchen, step way from multi-tasking and sensory overload, cook, and then serve some humble kindness on those plates. Elude those fast food lines and help reduce obesity, heart disease, and diabetes rates while eating well – at home, restaurants, cafeterias, or businesses; spontaneously or planned. Become more cognizant of food choices and portion sizes, ever so slightly or even more.

Humans have an impulsive desire to gorge on the delectable, so simply amping up scents and flavors can satisfy basic cravings. Good grub that nourishes should be a staple, so Food Day can remind us to redouble our efforts to celebrate and improve our enjoyable art of cooking, rather than relegate it to the realm of unwholesome foods and kitchen drudgery.

Some one in four Americans dine on fast food daily while obesity, heart disease and diabetes rates soar. Our flawed diets cost hundreds of billions per year and also take a dreadful toll on the environment.

A recent study found that increasing our consumption of fruits and vegetables could save more than 100,000 lives, untold grief, and $17 billion in health care costs from cardiovascular disease alone each year. Sobering stuff.

Crafting a fine meal by transforming local, organic bounty into plates whether savored alone, tête-à-tête or around a communal table has few rivals.

Food Day exalts healthy, affordable, and sustainable food and strives to:

  • Promote safer, healthier diets
  • Support sustainable and organic farms
  • Reduce hunger
  • Reform factory farms to protect the environment and animals
  • Support fair working conditions for food and farm workers

Food is an integral part of the human condition for vitality, diversion and pleasure. Food Day aims to connect the dots between good food and well-being, helping to revive a fractured food system and enhancing food awareness.

The Food Day Kansas City Planning Committee is wholly voluntary and includes such local food notables as Beth Low, director of the Greater Kansas City Food Policy Coalition; Karen Siebert, Harvesters’ Communications Manager; Jamie Milks, member of the Slow Food KC Board of Directors and local chef/caterer; Lisa Ousley, Program Coordinator for the Society of St. Andrews West; Jane Zieha, proprietor of Blue Bird Bistro; Adrienne Moore, nutritionist at the Kansas University Medical Center; and others. Through much of the year, these Food Day mavens are found huddled around our yurt – a large table in the cozy ambience of the wood flavored, high ceilinged second floor of Blue Bird Bistro. With laptops open, pens scrawling, plates strewn about with delectable local eats, they amass their collective wisdom and then the jabber turns to brainstorming about planning, promoting, and detailing Food Day KC events for each year.


While national in scope there are local Food Day chapters across the country, including Food Day Greater KC ( A series of events which apply Food Day principles include the Apple Shares, foodNow, Gleaning Local Farms, the Mother Earth News Fair, and a Chef Cooking Demonstration at the Farm-to-Table Kitchen featuring chef Michael Foust of the Farmhouse and friends at the City Market; all of which will precede or follow the Day.

On October 24 each year, Food Day Kansas City spreads the word by strewing Apple Share events throughout the city. Apples are at the core of health — an easy and inexpensive way to chomp on real food, plus they embody a symbol to raise awareness about food issues. Apples have been and will be doled out at various venues not only for their earthy sweetness and savory textures, but to get us thinking more about nutrition. Grassroots activists that, in a sense, are plucked from trees.

Commemorating the hale and hearty Food Day precepts, these crisp – often crimson – orbs will be mounded in baskets and handed out by volunteers at such diverse Kansas City sites as KU Medical Center, St. Luke’s Hospital, American Century Investments, Children’s Mercy Hospital, the Kansas City Metropolitan Transportation Hub, Truman Medical Center, Midland Loan Services, the University of Missouri at Kansas City (UMKC), and the Kansas Department of Motor Vehicles.


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