2012 Food Day celebrates healthy, affordable, sustainable food

October 24, 2012 at 11:04 am

If you didn’t know, today is the annual Food Day, which is a “nationwide celebration and a movement toward more healthy, affordable and sustainable food.” Coordinated by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Food Day is supported by a coalition of dozens of organization from across the country and an advisory board that includes some notable names, including author Michael Pollan and actress Jane Fonda. The goal of strengthening and uniting the healthy foods movement is centered around five priorities (click on each of these links for more information):

There are many great resources on the Food Day website, including recipes, videos, information on how to get involved, etc. Events are going on today all across North Carolina, and Boone is hosting a High Country Food Day Celebration.

The issues surrounding healthy foods are often discussed from the perspective of consumers– those who need access to healthy foods– but it is equally important to shine a light on the issues faced by workers across the food industry. One of the interesting things posted on the site is a report by the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California,  Berkeley and the Food Chain Workers Alliance and The Restaurant Opportunities Centers. The report looks at the impact of increasing the federal minimum wage, which has not been increased in 20 years, on food costs. Over these past two decades, inflation and rising costs of living have eroded the purchasing power of the minimum wage. The report found that increasing the minimum wage would have an impact of less than half of one percent on food costs. Restaurant food prices would also increase by less than one percent.

Of the 20 million workers in the U.S. food system– the largest employer of minimum wage workers– half are at the poverty level because of low wages. Increasing the minimum wage would benefit 29 million workers in all industries, and the average household would only have to pay 10 cents extra per day for food. As the authors of the report state on the Food Day blog,

… we had to confront the myth that raising the minimum wage would make food too expensive for all of us. In fact, raising the minimum wage would not only not prohibit us from being able to put food on the table, but it would also allow the millions of workers who work in the food system to put food on the table as well. They can’t right now because their wages are just too low.

So today, go out and participate in Food Day activities in your community. Join the movement to help make healthy foods accessible, affordable, and sustainable for all families. And while you do that, keep in mind the links between social justice, food justice, environmental justice, and economic justice. We need to address all of these in order to achieve systemic change in our healthy foods system, both here in North Carolina and nationwide.


Entry filed under: Agriculture Policy, Economic Development, Healthy Foods, Jobs & Employment. Tags: , , .

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