Food Day celebrations aim to educate students on sustainability

Facts about sustainable and healthy eating will be readily available across the University of Miami’s campus this week in celebration of National Food Day, along with plenty of free food.

People across the country celebrate Food Day annually on Oct. 24, with activists and organizations using it as an opportunity to educate Americans on how they can improve their diets to create a more sustainable food industry.

The UM community will celebrate Food Day from Oct. 22 to Oct. 24. Various on-campus organizations will host events alongside Miami companies and nonprofits, giving students the chance to learn about sustainable eating while also exploring South Florida’s many food-centric organizations.

One of Food Day’s main events, a screening of the documentary “Forks Over Knives,” will be hosted by the Student Government ECO Agency and take place at 6 p.m Oct. 23 in room 203 of the Ungar building.

Juan Endara, a passionate vegan and animal-rights activist and employee at the University of Miami, will introduce the film. While students enjoy food from a zero-waste buffet, Endara will speak about why he went vegan and explain the health and environmental benefits of a plant-based diet.

“One of the benefits that comes with being vegan is that your environmental impact is much lower than meat eaters,” Endara said.

The film “Forks Over Knives” focuses on diet-related health problems in westernized societies and examines how to address these issues on both a global and individual scale.

“We really want the students to realize that their daily choices impact their health significantly,” Endara said. “If you aren’t aware and just fall into a routine, you can really hurt yourself.”

Art Friedrich, president of Urban Oasis Project, will also speak during the Food Day festivities. His organization strives to improve public health, the local economy and environmental sustainability by educating people on where to purchase fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables.

Friedrich said he’s looking forward to Food Day this year because it’s a great opportunity to educate students on important issues.

“Students can learn this year about how to get involved with our nearby farmers markets or learn how to volunteer on farms and at our farm to table dinners,” said Friedrich.

Friedrich and other prominent activists from Miami will participate in a panel discussion on the importance of local food at 6 p.m Wednesday, Oct. 24 in the Kislak Center. Admission is free and attendees will also receive a free vegan dinner.

In addition to the film screening and panel discussion, Food Day will also include a “fair food fair” from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the UC Whitten Lower Lounge. Students will have access to free food samples while they go from table to table learning about healthy eating, urban farming, community gardens and plant-based recipes.

To learn more about Food Day and to see a full list of events, visit the office of sustainability’s website at