8 Ways to Team Up with Gail Simmons for National Food Day

October 24 is Food Day, a national event created to inspire us to make changes in our own diets and to take action to solve food-related problems in our communities at the local, state, and national level.

October 24 is Food Day, a national event created to inspire us to make changes in our own diets and to take action to solve food-related problems in our communities at the local, state, and national level. Here, Food & Wine's Gail Simmons explains why you should pay attention and how even the smallest act can help move the mission forward. Follow #FoodDay2014 and @gailsimmons for more.

Founded by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Food Day unites some of the country’s most prominent food activists toward a vision of food that is healthy, affordable, and produced with care for the environment, farm animals, and the people who grow, harvest, and serve it. More than 6,000 events are taking place this week, including NYC's third annual Big Apple Crunch, when a mass of fruit lovers will aim to break last year’s record of 1 million people biting into apples at the same time. (FYI: All kids in NYC schools will get an apple on Food Day!)

As I’ve done since 2012, I’ll be spending Food Day at Babson College in Wellesley, MA, along with fellow Babson Entrepreneur-in-Residence Andrew Zimmern (a Food & Wine Chef-in-Residence—apparently he has a lot of residences). I will be hosting and cheerleading a jam-packed program of panels, conversations, community tables and food-business incubator sessions, culminating in a talk on “Entrepreneurship & Innovation in the Restaurant World”, and a very special dinner cooked by many of Boston’s greatest chefs: F&W Best New Chefs Ken Oringer, Jamie Bissonette, Barbara Lynch, Tim Cushman, Michael Schlow, and Top Chef’s Tiffani Faison among them!

As an EIR at Babson for the last 2 years, I’ve worked closely with students helping to bring their entrepreneurial ideas to life. These are the next generation of food heroes who bear the burden and the challenge of feeding our ever-growing, ever-changing and ever-hungry nation. Being able to to partner with Babson and the Center for Science in the Public Interest on spreading the word about Food Day has given me a broader context for my job in the media, as well as the change I am able to affect in my daily life. I’ve been exposed to countless brilliant young thought leaders launching socially conscious businesses, uncovering solutions to our thorniest issues, creating artisanal products, allergen-sensitive brands, job opportunities and system efficiencies, and most of all innovating delicious, mindful food options for us all to savor. Their inspiring stories and journeys are what Food Day is all about.

So this week, spread the word about National Food Day and get involved in any way you’re able, big or small. Here’s how:

1. Find an official event in your area by searching the Food Day national map.

2. Host a healthy potluck dinner for friends and family.

3. Opt for a day of meatless meals.

4. Teach or attend a vegetable cooking class.

5. Try a new, health-focused local restaurant or new recipe.

6. Visit your local farmers’ market, talk to purveyors about their growing practices, buy a fruit or vegetable you’ve never tasted.

7. Take to social media and participate in the ongoing conversation by following #FoodDay2014 and/or #RealFoodJustFood.

8. Read up on your local legislators views on food policy and hold them accountable.

We all deserve access to quality food. Every voice, every action makes a difference. Let us know what you are doing to celebrate #FoodDay2014!

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