By Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist
Chefs, nutritionists, and food activists are inviting the nation’s restaurants to celebrate Food Day on October 24 by announcing improvements to menus and sourcing policies that advance health and the environment.
On Food Day, organized by Center for Science in the Public Interest, restaurants could begin buying more produce, meat, and eggs from local farms; adding more whole grains to breads and pastas; or collecting money for food banks, farmers markets, or other local organizations.
Chefs already participating in Food Day include Alice Waters, of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif., Dan Barber of Blue Hill in Manhattan and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and early organics pioneer Nora Pouillon of Washington, D.C.’s Restaurant Nora.
“I’m excited that many restaurants are seizing the opportunity presented by Food Day and becoming part of a movement aimed at getting people to celebrate honest-to-goodness real food that comes from farms and not factories,” Michael F. Jacobson, CSPI executive director, said in a statement.
Restaurants could invite farmers to meet diners, plan special menus or events, or publicize Food Day via email and social media, Jacobson said. Some examples planned include:
- A chain of vegan restaurants, Native Foods, will organize cooking demonstrations and tastings in its seven locations in California.
- In Manhattan, the Italian market Eataly has started handing out Food Day materials and will bring in 20 farmers to talk to customers.
- Food Day organizers in New Haven, Conn., are planning a Real Food Restaurant Week during which restaurants will offer special meals featuring local produce and healthier options.
- Uncommon Ground restaurant in Chicago will offer a three-course Farm-to-Table prix fixe menu from October 16 to October 24.
Food Day is partnering with groups such as the Chefs Collaborative, American Culinary Federation, and Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture and is encouraging local restaurants to seek out partnerships with area hunger and sustainable-agriculture groups.
Besides restaurants, national organizations – such as the American Dietetic Association, American Public Health Association, Community Food Security Coalition, Earth Day Network, Farmers Market Coalition, Humane Society of the United States, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, Prevention Institute, and Slow Food USA, along with many city- and state-level organizations – are planning on organizing or participating in Food Day events.