Tuesday, February 01, 2011

20ate: Making February a Month of Real Food

Something To Make You Think, from 20ate.org:

"Dear Hungry Person,
"You might be asking yourself, "Why are these happy people celebrating?" Well, I'll tell you why: because it's February, you silly goose...you know...the 28-day month also known as "National Snack Food Month."
You're probably thinking, "Wow, those folks must really love snack foods!" And you're right. They do love snack foods more than the average person because - how shall I put it - snack foods have been very good to them.
But "good" can always be made "better," right? Despite obesity and diabetes reaching peak levels, we're apparently still not eating enough candy, cookies, potato chips, and fluorescent orange cheese doodles, at least according to the folks at the Snack Food Association, the 400 company-strong lobbying group (of which Frito-Lay, Kraft and ConAgra are members) that is behind the month-long snack-a-thon whose goal is to encourage Americans to eat even more.
But don't get me wrong: I like a food party as much as the next person, but it's hard to imagine a promotional event less needed or more dangerous to public health. That said, I'm willing to try! How about "Try Tobacco Tuesdays," "Semi-Automatic Firearms Appreciation Week" or "Befriend a Rabid Squirrel Day?" I think we all know how those celebrations could go awry.
Those imagined promotions are just for fun, but National Snack Food Month and the billions of dollars spent on advertising unhealthy, processed foods are no joke. As founder of Kitchen Gardeners International (KGI), a nonprofit with another vision of what types of foods we should be promoting, I thought there might be some other people out there like me interested in organizing a real food, counter-celebration for the 20ate days of February.
If you're one of them, here are 4 things you can do to help reclaim February for the good food cause:
1) Opt-out of Snack Food Month by not buying processed snack foods or junk foods for the month of February and opt-in for real foods which taste better, make you feel better and often cost less when you make them yourself. White bean hummus with home-made pita bread chips anyone? You say hummus, I say yummus!
White Bean Hummus with Fresh Thyme and Basil
Here are some links to some healthy snack resources that might inspire you:

2) Sing your participation in the 20ate campaign from the rooftops on twitter and facebook using the #20ate hashtag.
Here are some sample tweets or facebook statuses that might inspire some of your own:
  • Did you know that the big food companies are calling Feb "National Snack Food Month?" #20ate Bite back here: http://20ate.org
  • I'm opting out of National Snack Food Month and opting in for real food instead. How about you? #20ate http://20ate.org
  • February=National Snack Food Month? Not in my house! #20ate http://20ate.org
  • If February is National Snack Food Month, then March should be National (in the blank) Month! #20ate http://20ate.org
  • National Snack Food Month? What's up with that? Help me reclaim February for the good food cause. #20ate http://20ate.org
  • I'm opting out of National Snack Food Month this February because I like my butt just the way it is. #20ate http://20ate.org
Be aware that your participation in the campaign may lead to snack food withdrawal symptoms such as the jerky jerk, twinkie twitch or oreoitis, but don't fear: there's a large twitter community on call to help.

3) "Like" KGI'sFacebook fanpage to help us build our online presence. My pride is riding on this one: the freaking "cheese puff" fanpage has more fans than we do. That's so wrong and in so many ways.

4) Donate some of your savings from #1 to a healthy & sustainable food cause you've always wanted to support. If you don't have one, KGI would love to be your cause. We're currently raising funds for coordination of "World Kitchen Garden Day" (August 28th), food gardeners' answer to Snack Food Month.
Here are some other great food & health-related causes you might want to explore and support:
Our 28ate Campaign Goals for February 2011, all 8400 of them:
  • 2800 participants tweeting and eating their way to cleaner consciences and colons (it's true: real food=roughage).
  • 2800 new KGI fanpage members. Heck, let's go for 28,000 and overtake the "Cheetos" page while we're at it!
  • $2800 raised to help support food garden promotion in the US and abroad on World Kitchen Garden Day. 280 people donating $10 and we're there.
So that is your mission, if you choose to accept it. Albert, Irene, and Gary (above) and their pals at the Snack Food Association are hoping you won't, but I know you will!

Wishing you a delicious and great 20ate,
Roger Doiron
Founder & Weeder-in-chief at KGI

20ate.org  web content is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Feel free to reuse & remix & recycle!"

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