UM celebrates Food Day with events promoting healthy, sustainable eating

The University of Miami will be hosting informational events about healthy eating and refining food policies around campus this week in celebration of Food Day, including plenty of free food.

Annually on Oct. 16, Food Day is celebrated across 150 countries to promote worldwide awareness for those who suffer from hunger and to promote the necessity of eating healthy while being environmentally sustainable.

This year’s theme “Our Actions Are Our Future: Healthy Diets for a #ZeroHunger World” will be discussed by keynote speaker, Erika Rappaport, Ph. D, on Monday, Oct. 14. Rappaport will also be discussing her book, “A Thirst for Empire: How Tea Shaped the Modern World.”

“I really like this year’s theme, considering it’s about diet, health and the environment, which are all issues I care about,” said Rappaport, a history professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Climate change has been a main threat in reducing the quantity and nutritional quality of the crops being grown today.

“There’s been a long history behind our contemporary global food system and though it takes a long time to change, we unfortunately don’t have much time due to climate change,” said Rappaport.

In recent decades, cultures across the world have dramatically changed their diets from seasonal, plant-based diets to diets that are high in refined sugar, fats, processed food, meat and other animal products.

“I’m interested in how the food industry has so much power to change our culture,” Rappaport said. “How weird is it that we prefer industrialized mass-marketed, basically tasteless, foods? Now if we go to a farmer’s market and taste a tomato, it’s like ‘Oh, so that’s what it’s supposed to taste like?’”

Continuing the Food Day events at UM, a plant-based cooking masterclass will be hosted by “Plant-Based Canes,” “UCook” and “CommUnity Garden Club,” at UM’s Wellness Center on Tuesday, Oct. 15.

“One of the questions we get from people who are interested in switching to a plant-based diet or have just started is ‘what do I make?’” said junior Emma Bartley-Dier, president of Plant-Based Canes, “We want everyone to come away from the class having learned something new, feel more comfortable with knowing how to replace meat and dairy in their meals and hopefully be inspired to go home and do some more plant-based cooking themselves.”

On the last day of festivities, a “Fair Food Fair” will take place at the UC Whitten Center’s lower lounge providing free smoothies, vegan recipes and guidance on healthy eating.

Also taking place on Thursday, a social media effort: “Tropical Fruit Crush Picture,” will be held at the U Statue to raise awareness on healthy eating and the accessibility to fresh fruit and vegetables.

To learn more about Food Day and to RSVP for events, visit the office of sustainability’s website at