By Kathy Cunningham and Abigail Hueber

It’s time to get real with our food.

October 24, 2011, marks the start of a new movement bringing communities together to discuss, celebrate, share, and grow while enjoying our most fundamental similarity – food. Food Day is a national event to start an open discussion about what really matters to all of us in terms of our health, our food, our environment, our food system, and the role that food plays in all of our lives.

It will bring together individuals, communities, families, friends, neighbors, strangers, and eaters of all types for a day devoted to discussing options for healthy, affordable food produced in a sustainable, humane way. The day is sponsored by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a non-profit watchdog group that has led food movements since 1971 on issues such as food labeling, better nutrition, and safer food.

Food Day is being celebrated all over the country, including right here in Massachusetts. To find local events occurring in your community check out the Food Day event calendar, including a community potluck to encourage discussions. If you want to attend the Boston Food Potluck follow the link and join the Food Day conversation on Monday, October 24!

Other notable events happening in Boston include the Mayor speaking at Tufts University Boston campus regarding his vision on the future of food systems in Boston; the Boston Science Museum, as part of their continuing series Let’s Talk About Food, will show the documentary Food Fight; and restaurants and eateries throughout the city will be featuring Food Day menus using local foods. Learn more here.

If you can’t attend an event, create your own! No event is too small or too big, but the most important ingredient is you!

Check out these DIY resources to make Food Day come alive in your own home or community:

Food Day Dinner Party Ideas

Food Day Recipes

In the spirit of Food Day, continue your conversation even after the plates have been cleared and share how you celebrated! Whole Foods and are motivating individuals to support a local food pantry through donations from your Food Day party and by sending a picture and a short write-up about your experience. You will be entered to win additional donations to your charity of choice and great prizes!

In addition, several blogs exist to share your experiences, conversations, who you shared them with and, of course, what you served!  Boston Food Swap has two sites to encourage sharing; a non-blogger site to hear from everyone and a second site for bloggers to spread the word to their followers on their own pages leading up to Food Day and to spread the good food mood!  

What are you going to do to ‘get real’ this Food Day?

Kathy Cunningham is a registered dietitian at the Boston Public Health Commission. This blog was co-written by Abigail Hueber, Simmons dietetic intern.