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From Try These Fun Food Day Celebration Ideas on Earth Day!

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The facts are appalling: two-thirds of American adults and one-third of children are currently overweight or obese, with childhood obesity having tripled since 1980. Large farms provide the majority of food that Americans eat, using mass production methods that inevitably lead to pollution, not to mention unacceptable conditions for both animals and farm workers. Luckily, more and more Americans are becoming conscious of the situation and feel that it is time for a big change.

October 24 is Food Day, an occasion to bring Americans together and transform our relationship with food. This implies not only a change of individual behavior, but also a change in policies and the way food is produced. People all over the country will gather on this day to participate in events that promote healthy and sustainable nutrition, be it a potluck lunch, a film screening, a lecture, a forum, a food donation — and anything related to healthy eating you can think of! The day is sponsored by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit group that has been fighting for better nutrition and safer food since 1971.

The 6 Food Day Principles:

1. Change your diet

2. Support sustainable farms

3. Expand access to high-quality food

4. Protect the environment and farm animals

5. Promote healthy nutrition to kids

6. Create fair conditions for food and farm workers

Want to get involved? Here are 3 delightfully delicious ways to celebrate:

1. Start an organic food swap.

Organic food swaps have begun to pop up all over the country in growing numbers in the last few years, and the amount of money participants save as they fill and diversify their pantries make them a wholly worthwhile event. Bring fresh, organic produce from your own garden (maybe your tomato plants produced more fruit than you really want to eat or can?), or bring something you prepared from organic foods, such as preserves, juices, dried herbs, or sauces — even bread or yogurt, if you’d like, as long as you made it yourself or it came from your own back yard! Gather a group of people together who will do the same,  swap the foods you bring for what they have, and watch as something that was relatively cheap to do in the first place suddenly becomes an easy way to fill your cupboards with healthy, organic food for pennies on the dollar for what you’d spend at the grocery store.

2. Host a pumpkin carving — and eating — party!

This time of year, many people are picking out the perfect pumpkins to carve and light on their front porches for Halloween, but what about all of those perfectly good pumpkin parts that end up in the garbage? Break out the patio chairs, card tables, and carving knives, and gather your neighbors and friends together for a pumpkin-carving-and-eating party! Simply collect the “guts” of your pumpkin in large bowls to use for tasty treats — carvers will be particularly appreciative of a good snack after putting some muscle into carving out fun faces and images. Add the seeds to a yummy trail mix, or roast them for a crunchy pumpkin seed salad dressing. Or, instead of paying $4 for a pumpkin spice latte to satisfy your sweet tooth, try this surprisingly healthy pumpkin cheesecake recipe from Maximum Healing by Robert Silverstein.

3. Take the Meatless Mondays pledge

Did you know that the average American eats 30 chickens, half a pig, and a tenth of a cow each year? That’s twice the meat Americans ate 50 years ago. Because most of the meat that is consumed in the US comes from mass-produced meat factories, there’s a good chance that most of the meat the average American consumes came from animals that were raised inhumanely, not to mention that the workers themselves often face intolerable working conditions. Add to that the massive amounts of water (approx. 25 gallons of water per lb. of beef!) used in raising livestock, and you have a major eco-unfriendly problem. Enter Meatless Monday, where once a week, you pledge to go meat-free. Everybody’s doing it, too; famous Meatless Monday participants include celebrity chef Mario Batali, pop star Jessica Simpson, bestselling author and Hope Beneath Our Feet contributor Michael Pollan — even media tycoons Rupert and Wendi Murdoch are practicing Meatless Monday in their home! Make the pledge, and get your friends and family to join in, too!

To learn more about Food Day and find events in your area, go to:

Also on NABCommunities:

NOURISH | 3 Kid-Friendly Earth Day Activities

CULTURE | Darrin Drda Goes on Tour + Earth Day Intensive

WISDOM | Envisioning Earth as a Work of Art

CULTURE | 5 Ways to Save Time and Money Going Green