For Immediate Release - October 22, 2013

Patrick Administration Proclaims October 24, 2013 Massachusetts Food Day

Hundreds of organizers celebrate national campaign for healthy, affordable and sustainable food

LOWELL – October 22, 2013 – Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) Commissioner Greg Watson today joined local officials to proclaim October 24 as Food Day in Massachusetts. Massachusetts Food Day, coordinated by DAR, brings together hundreds of organizers and volunteers working to spread the message of choosing healthy, locally produced food and advocating for policies that support productive and respectful food systems.

“Food should be healthy, affordable and produced in a sustainable way,” said Commissioner Watson. “We must ensure that our communities receive the best that our farms can produce today and preserve our local agriculture for future generations.”

Events will include community potlucks, “Eating Real” school challenges, film screenings, farmers’ markets, festivals, food demos, family dinners with food-focused discussion and more. Some towns and cities will be celebrating for a week, before and after October 24, offering opportunities to community members to connect with each other and share information. Food Day founder, and Executive Director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Michael F. Jacobson will be in Massachusetts to participate in several events promoting the third annual National Food Day and agriculture.

“Working for Community Teamwork Inc. has instilled a belief in many that our agency is here to assist people to become self-sufficient as well as to participate in the decisions that affect their lives,” said Marianne Fullam, Senior Nutritionist at the Lowell WIC Program. “Food Day embraces an education for all, united by a vision that food should be healthy and affordable.

"This is a great time of year at the markets because we are in the high harvest season in Massachusetts,” said Mimi Hall, Operations Manager of the Boston Public Market. "Each week, new fall produce arrives at the markets like pumpkins, brussel sprouts, cranberries and great garlic. We still have tomatoes, lettuce and other summer crops available too. It's a great season to source your whole dinner at the farmers market. With two farmers markets located downtown, our fresh products are easily accessible to everyone in the City of Boston."

Residents across the Commonwealth are invited to join in the festive and thought-provoking events happening in or near their communities. Find your nearest Food Day location by entering your town or zip-code at www.foodday.org.  Below is a sampling of the more than 600 activities planned:

Lowell and Somerville:
Lowell and Somerville will host a “Food Week” of programming for the annual celebration. Film forums, potlucks, agricultural activities, nutritional education will all take place throughout the week.

Worcester Farmers Market Food Day Celebration:
The Farmers' Market will be an exciting community event. Area colleges such as Holy Cross, Worcester State and Clark are also participating with campus activities.

Statewide: Hannaford Supermarkets is proud to support Food Day:
Each Hannaford location in Massachusetts will be celebrating Food Day in different ways. In-store activities will be centered around healthy eating while other stores may visit community partners to promote healthy choices.  

340 Schools in 47 School Districts accepted the Food Day challenge to “EAT REAL”:
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education School Nutrition Programs challenged School Nutrition Directors to EAT REAL on October 24. Schools in 47 School Districts will serve their students a fresh and local school lunch that eliminates (or greatly reduces) all processed foods.

Harvard Square's 20 Mile Radius Restaurant Challenge:
Multiple Harvard Square restaurants will be participating in National Food Day. On October 24, they will be preparing meals as part of Food Day 20-Mile Challenge. Restaurants will create menus with all ingredients sourced within a 20 mile radius of Harvard Square.

DAR’s mission is to ensure the long-term viability of agriculture in Massachusetts. Through its four divisions – Agricultural Conservation & Technical Assistance, Agricultural Markets, Animal Health, and Crop and Pest Services – DAR strives to support, regulate and enhance the rich diversity of the Commonwealth’s agricultural community to promote economically and environmentally sound food safety and animal health measures, and fulfill agriculture’s role in energy conservation and production. For more information, visit DAR's website at www.mass.gov/agr, and/or follow at twitter.com/MDARcommish.