In celebration of Food Day 2012, the nutrition class of Cleveland State Community College, in collaboration with the North Georgia Health District, presented the film, “Dirt! The Movie” on Monday evening in the George R. Johnson Cultural Heritage Center Theater.
The film uses animation, vignettes, personal accounts and storytelling to raise awareness that dirt has given us food, shelter, fuel, medicine, ceramics, flowers, cosmetics and color — everything needed for survival. While dirt has been taken for granted, energetic pioneers are coming together from around the globe to save earth’s last natural resource.
“Dirt! The Movie,” became Cleveland State’s main attraction leading up to today’s Food Day 2012. Students and community agencies were on hand to share their personal perspectives on the movement toward healthier, more affordable food.
Chelsea Bishop and Jared Gregory, both Cleveland State students, said, “Food Day is important because our generation is constantly on the move and are constantly moving towards fast food instead of healthy foods. We need to get back to the basics and start eating real foods.”
In 2011, Food Day events across the country brought hundreds of thousands of Americans together at more than 2,300 events in all 50 states, representing the largest grassroots mobilization for improved food policies in recent history.
Mayors, governors, legislators, and health officials are observing Food Day by issuing proclamations and announcing new food policies. The annual event aims to bring people closer to a food system with real food that is produced with care for the environment, animals, and the women and men who grow, harvest, and serve it.
Food Day founder Michael Jacobson said, “It’s time to urge Americans to change their own diets for the better and to mobilize for desperately needed changes in food and farm policy.”
Karen Rutledge, Cleveland State nutrition instructor, said, “I feel this Food Day celebration will highlight the benefits of eating real food, bring awareness of the many avenues to finding local food in our community, and at the same time present a film about the vision of a sustainable relationship between humans and dirt.”
The nutrition class also presented posters related to themes from the movie and their own specific theme of, “Eat Real, Eat Local.” Exhibitors such as Cooperative Extension, The Caring Place and others were on hand at the event.
“This is the first Food Day Celebration at Cleveland State of what I hope will be many,” said Rutledge, who is a registered dietitian in the North Georgia Health District. “It was very exciting to show this film and provide a project for the CSCC nutrition students to learn about this important subject of ‘Real Food.’ Through education we can change the way we think of food from being fast and packaged to being slow, enjoyable and real. I truly feel that part of the obesity problem in the county is related to the fact that we have lost this connection with our food — where it is grown, who it is grown by and understanding the importance of eating real food.”
Food Day’s website offers a list of priorities to allow for a large number of groups and organizations to participate: 1. Promote safer, healthier diets. 2. Support sustainable and organic farms. 3. Reduce hunger. 4. Reform factory farms to protect the environment and animals. 5. Support fair working conditions for food and farm workers. 6. Promote health by curbing junk-food marketing to kids.
“I believe Jennifer Norton of The Greenway Table hosted a Food Day Potluck meal last year at the garden which was the first Food Day,” Rutledge said. “Food Day organizers have key messages related to Food Day. For my class we choose to highlight real food especially as it relates to local food, i.e. local markets, farm to school, sustainable agriculture, community/school gardens and food insecurity. We will have some handouts and we will be there for conversations and discussions both before and after the movie. The movie is related to all of the above themes and emphasizes the importance of dirt to our health, sustainability and survival.”
For further information regarding Food Day 2012, visit www.foodday.org.