This October, Celebrate Food!

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By Sophie Wenzlau

When you think of October, what comes to mind? If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, you may think of drooping apple trees, painted faces, and changing leaves. If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, you may conjure thoughts of budding plants, bright green leaves, and slightly longer days. Here at Worldwatch, October makes us think of food celebrations. Over the course of this month, two big food events will raise awareness about hunger and what it means to have good, sustainable food.

Photo Credit: FAO

Today, October 16, is World Food Day. It marks the 68th anniversary of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which has led international efforts to address hunger and malnutrition for nearly seven decades. Every year on this day people worldwide celebrate food and seek to raise awareness of issues surrounding poverty and malnutrition. The World Food Day theme for 2013 is Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition.

In the United States, October 24 is Food Day. Food Day is a nationwide celebration of healthy, affordable, and sustainably produced food and an opportunity to come together in dialogue about food policy.

In honor of both food days, we suggest cutting back on packaged foods and fatty, factory-farmed meats in favor of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and sustainably raised protein.

There are countless additional ways to celebrate Food Day: attend an event in your community, organize a hunger run in your country, read what the FAO has to say about healthy food systems, join a Community Supported Agriculture network, write a letter to your local paper about the importance of good food, or sign up to host an Oxfam World Food Day dinner to foster conversation about where food comes from, who cultivates it, and how personal actions can make the food system more just and sustainable.

Of course, here at Worldwatch we like to think of every day as food day. Eating conscientiously – by choosing to purchase local, sustainably produced food; familiarizing oneself with national and international food policy issues; supporting small-scale family farmers; and minimizing (or eliminating) meat consumption – can have broad benefits for the global environment, farmworkers, and human health.

How will you celebrate food this month? Send your comments to, and we’ll profile your ideas on a Nourishing the Planet blog!

Sophie Wenzlau is a Senior Fellow with the Worldwatch Institute.  

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