4 Uplifting Ways to Celebrate National Food Day

Food. Millions of Americans indulge to their hearts' content every day. And yet all over the world and even in our own backyard people are going without. According to the United Nations' World Food Program, just under 800 million...

Food.

Millions of Americans indulge to their hearts' content every day. And yet all over the world and even in our own backyard people are going without. According to the United Nations' World Food Program, just under 800 million people in the world have insufficient food to lead healthy lives. In the U.S., meanwhile, 48.1 million Americans live in "food insecure" households, according to Feeding America. National Food Day -- observed this October 24th -- shines the lights on the importance of food by challenging Americans to celebrate what they eat while prioritizing better food policies. Let's count down four ways you can participate during this important yet often overlooked day.

National food day
While food may be plentiful for you, it's not so simple for others.

1. Help Reduce Hunger

More than 15 million children accounting for 14 percent of all U.S. household lack access to the food they need to lead active, happy lives. There are many ways to help improve the lives of people suffering from hunger. Volunteering at a local soup kitchen, for example, gives you the opportunity to make a difference within your own community. If time is tight, consider making a financial contribution to an organization which works to feed the hungry.

National food day
Volunteer for an evening, gain wisdom for a lifetime.

2. Eat Green

This year's Food Day theme is "Toward a Greener Diet." In addition to the literal interpretation which highlights the importance of antioxidant-rich green foods like spinach, cucumbers, avocado and kale, "eating green" also means seeking out organic, chemical-free foods.

Science continually points to the health risks of eating processed, unhealthy foods. Devote time to learning more about the many advantages of eating green -- from physical benefits for you and your loved ones to health benefits for the planet. Then, embrace a meal in which ingredients are whole, unprocessed and locally sourced. Step away from the soda and Pop-Tarts and embrace the opportunity to eat what your grandparents ate.

3. Support local, sustainable and organic farms

Odds are, there's a local farm or two in your very own community producing tasty, organic, seasonal produce and meat. Skip the trip to your neon grocery store and instead check out the Local Harvest database of family farms, farmer's markets, and CSAs. Your goal? To Cut out the middleman and instead connect directly with the food you eat and with the farmers who produce it.

Or, arrange to visit a local farm to see its offerings and witness the food production cycle in its purest, most inspirational form.

4. Involve the Kids

What better way to encourage healthy eating and good food than by involving the planet's next stewards? Engage kids by enlisting their help throughout the planning process. Whether you throw a neighborhood potluck, start planning a garden in your backyard, or simply sit down to a home-cooked family meal together, you won't just be celebrating healthy food, but also the bonds of family and community.

National food day
The benefits of gardening for kids are widely-known.

While it's easy to take the food we eat for granted every day, National Food Day offers the opportunity to step up and make a difference -- both in your own home, around the world, and to the planet we share. One of the best ways to honor food? Start at home. For a leap in the right direction, visit Cilantro The Cooks Shop browse kitchenware, barware, cookware, and other essentials you need to begin making healthy, whole food in your own kitchen.