Tag Archives: eat local

Clean Eating magazine's January/February 2012 issue

What Is the Occupy Big Food Movement, and Is It the Right Move for Change?

Clean Eating magazine's January/February 2012 issue

The proliferation of magazines like Clean Eating indicate a national trend toward better eating habits.

While Americans seem to be moving toward healthier food choices, the Occupy Big Food movement believes more must be done to change large food corporations.

These days, people are occupying streets (at least the ones named “Wall”) and cities, expressing their desire to put an end to financial greed and corruption. And while we know that exists, the Occupy movement is expanding to something that directly affects us all.

While most of us were occupying spots at the dinner table over the holidays, the Occupy Big Food movement got underway in November. This time protesters are urging Americans to call for change in large food corporations.

Specifically, the Occupy Big Food movement’s goals are to raise public consciousness, call for an end to destructive practices in food corporations, and urge Americans to develop an alternative food system.

On a small scale, the case could be made that collectively the country is moving in the right–or at least a healthier–direction, with increased awareness of eating locally grown foods. Certainly that helps, but the Occupy Big Food movement would argue that there is much more work and education to be done.

An Occupy Big Food blog cites startling numbers, indicating that the vast majority of meats and vegetables produced in this country come from a handful of corporations.

For example, of the 221 million pounds of turkey consumed this past Thanksgiving, 30 percent came from Butterball and 50 percent of the groceries for our feasts were bought at four supermarket chains, according to Conglomer-ATE, which provided the numbers.

Several clean eating magazines have regularly been drawing attention to the importance of knowing where our food comes from and the benefits to supporting local farmers in multiple articles.

Whether this is the most constructive path to change remains to be seen. But perhaps the Occupy Big Food movement can build on growing awareness and lend some organization and a louder voice to this important cause. And hopefully, Occupy Wall Street detractors won’t be turned off by its name.

Food Day October 24 2011 logo

First-Ever Food Day Pushes Eat Local Movement With Events Nationwide

Food Day October 24 2011 logo

The inaugural Food Day, designed to promote awareness and support of community agriculture and other food-related reforms, is held on October 24, 2011.

The “eat local” movement is going big time with national emphasis in communities across the country to support local farmers on this, the first-ever “Food Day,” Oct. 24. Organizers intend for this to become an annual event, always observed on this date.

The celebration, a project of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, underscores the growing awareness to not only eat more healthfully, but also to be mindful of the environmental and economic impact of those foods.

Food Day is founded on the observance of six principles:

  1. Promoting safe and healthy foods
  2. Supporting sustainable farms
  3. Alleviating hunger
  4. Reforming factory farms
  5. Minimizing junk food marketing, particularly to children
  6. Supporting fair treatment and working conditions for agricultural workers

Thousands of events are slated to take place from coast to coast today (or were held this past weekend), ranging from food festivals and conferences to local potlucks, food drives and legislation-influencing announcements.

But that’s just the organized observances. If this news is coming too late or there’s no community-wide celebration near you, one of the most ideal ways to mark Food Day is with a meal in your home using locally grown produce. That is, after all, the point of the movement.

In order to accomplish at least some of Food Day’s goals, that one meal would become routine and could translate into better eating for you and support for local or regional agribusiness. For some delicious ideas, the organization is making available a cookbook, which is downloadable from its site, featuring recipes from chefs such as Mario Batali, Rick Bayless, Emeril Lagasse and Jamie Oliver.

Food Day makes it a point to note that it is not supported by government funding or industry subsidies. Instead, multiple organizations have pledged their backing, ranging from well known names like the Cooking Channel, Epicurious.com and Whole Foods to lobbying groups like the American Dietetic Association, the National Association for Health and Fitness and Slow Food USA.

Have you been eating local or have you been considering it?