We’re only 2 days away from this year’s World Food Day! What is World Food Day? I asked the same question when I first heard of it, and was immediately intrigued by the title. As a future dietitian, I needed to know what this holiday celebrated. Does it raise awareness for food insecure groups? Does it celebrate the providers of food, such as farmers and grocery stores? Does it encourage the diversity in food and recipes outside of one’s ethnicity?
What was World Food Day really all about?
It turns out that World Food Day pretty much tackles all of the above. The day includes events that take place all across the globe with resources that encourage changes that improve our food systems, highlight the “Food Heroes” that supply our food, and share cultural performances, just to name a few. Every year, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations dedicates all of these efforts to tackling the two opposing trends of hunger and obesity within the worldwide food system.1 That may seem like a big undertaking – and it is. So that must mean it’s only for big organizations, manufacturers, philanthropists and the like, right? Wrong.
Actually, World Food Day and its partners encourage all of us to take action. But seriously, how could you and I take on such a burden when our own lives already seem so complex most days? Well it’s not that problematic, there are a number of ways to not only get involved with World Food Day, but reach these same goals every other day of the year.
The World Food Day website hosts a list of actions you can take today. Some definitely designed for the more adventurous include: growing your own food at home, supporting local food program initiatives, and being an activist within your government for accessibility of healthy foods. However, for those looking for smaller changes, there are obtainable actions for those with less time or passion, such as eating a diverse diet, buying local and seasonal foods, seeking out volunteer opportunities within our community’s food system, and using social media to promote #WorldFoodDay.2
In light of COVID-19, this year looks different, of course, with many of the events incorporating social distancing or being shifted to an online platform. However, I like to think that when one bad thing happens another good thing can come out of it. This pandemic has given many of us the opportunity to get involved when we may not have been able before (even if that is virtually at times).3 The global health crisis also paved way for the theme of World Food Day 2020: “Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together.”4
Even if you can’t make any of the events scheduled for this Friday, October 16th, I challenge all of us to take a few minutes this month to browse the World Food Day website and find one resource or choose one action to make. After all, as current and future dietitians, we need to get involved ourselves before encouraging our friends, family, clients, and patients to do so too.
Happy World Food Day 2020!