Illinois 4-H is excited to be a part of celebrating World Food Day. Along with young people worldwide, you can play a role in creating a healthy, sustainable food system for all. Here are some ideas to celebrate World Food Day, 4-H style:
- Eat: every time you make a food choice, you are participating in your food system. By choosing diverse and nutritious foods you can support biodiversity and benefit your body and mind. Add fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains to your diet and reduce ultra-processed foods that are high in salt, sugar, or fats. Learn how to read food labels in order to choose wisely.
- Learn: one of the best ways you can create change is by reaching out for new information and new ideas. Do you know where the food you eat comes from? Do you know the steps that it took to get to you? Do you know the farmers who worked hard to grow the food you enjoy? Educate yourself about the food system and connect with professionals at the University of Illinois by following Metropolitan Food and Environmental Systems.
- Support Local Farms: more and more people are seeing how important it is to grow your own food and support the farmers in your community. Do you know someone who grows food? You and your club could create a thank you basket to show them your appreciation. You can find out information about local farms in your area who sell directly to consumers here: https://www.localfarmmarkets.org/ILfarmmarkets.php
- Advocate: the future of food depends on you! Your voice matters! There are so many important ways that you can use your time and talents to make your community a better place by advocating for healthy food for everyone. Here are some ideas for our Food Advocacy Team that might get you inspired. You can also follow the youth-led Food Advocacy Team on Instagram @illinoisfoodadvocacyteam.
- Volunteer: there are already great things going on in your community that need your help! Reach out to your local food pantry or food bank and ask them how you and your 4-H club can help. Find more information about Illinois food banks at: https://www.feedingillinois.org/ You can also lookup more specific information about your community using the interactive map made available by U of I Extension.
- Storytelling: who in your community, neighborhood or family inspires you? Who is your food hero? You can contribute to a healthy food system by finding and telling the stories that matter to you about your communities food traditions.
- Educate: the best way to learn something is to teach it to someone else! The Food and Agriculture Organization has put together some amazing resources that you can use to lead activities with your club or school group. Find their activity booklet here to get lots of great ideas.
- Celebrate: no World Food Day would be complete without a celebration of the amazing food that you have in your community. This COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on all of us, so now is a great time to cook a great meal for the people you care about and invite them to celebrate with you. We can all be Food Heroes!
You can learn more about World Food Day in this video from the United Nations.
If you want to learn more about what Illinois 4-H is doing to promote food access, food security, and food justice, please contact Mark Becker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mark Becker is a 4-H Youth Development Extension Specialist in Food Systems for the State 4-H Office.