This Food Day, Feast on FEEST
by Anna Lappé for Huffington Post
Today for the third year in a row, thousands of people from all 50 states, will be celebrating a new national event: Food Day. Started by the Center for Science in the Public Interest with support from grassroots activists and community organizations around the country, Food Day is a celebration of the work done all year to create a more healthy, sustainable, affordable, and fair food system. In three years, the day has become a showcase of the diversity, creativity, and effectiveness of the movement working to transform what we eat, how we grow it, and who has access to it. To celebrate Food Day, we’re excited to debut our new short movie bringing to life just one of the organizations rethinking what’s on our plate.
Started in Seattle in 2006, FEEST (the best acronym ever, it stands for Food Empowerment Education Sustainability Team) is a youth-driven organization that hosts weekly dinner programs where young people come together to cook and build community. But it’s not just dinner. The program uses these meals to stir interest in bigger change, helping young people identify community needs, develop leadership skills for peer-to-peer education, and come up with concrete advocacy and action campaigns with the support of adult mentors. As Meng Yu, FEEST’s youth engagement director, says “Our youth interns develop passion-based projects and do advocacy that directly affects the issues they’ve identified.”
Cristina Orbe, the Program Executive Director at FEEST echoes this sentiment when she says: “I hope youth, people of color and immigrants begin to be viewed as an important and powerful force in the food justice movement. I hope policy makers begin to understand and prioritize the meaningful engagement and ideas from youth and community members when building policy.”
FEEST is now training people all across the country to use this model in their communities. “Every day we work with folks – every time we cook a meal – we make community,” says Roberto Ascalon, FEEST’s Kitchen Director. “The act of eating together is transformative.”
When we asked Ascalon what people can do to help FEEST, his answer was simple: “Come to a FEEST. We want to share with you. Then, bring FEEST to your own community.”
Watch the movie and his invitation will be hard to resist:
For more information on FEEST, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The Food Heroes series and Food MythBusters are an initiative of the Real Food Media Project, which uses creative movies, an online movie contest, a web-based action center, and grassroots events to spread the real story of our food.