Seeking to enlist fresh produce industry support as it attempts to change the way Americans think about food, an ambitious “Food Day”  celebration is being organized by the Center for Science in the Public Interest with support from dozens of local food advocates, anti-hunger groups and other supporters.

The event is planned for Oct. 24, and according to a news release from the Washington, D.C.-based group, Food Day will include events in major cities and thousands of smaller events around the country. Slow Food USA, the American Dietetic Association and Bakersfield, Calif.-based Bolthouse Farms are among more than 30 groups listed as partners in the effort.

In a teleconference with food bloggers on April 5, Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Science in the Public Interest, compared it to Earth Day.

“The produce industry ought to be involved to encourage people to eat more fruits and vegetables,” Jacobsen said.

“We’re creating this big national event and telling groups to use it in the spirit of Food Day to push their issues,” he said.

Jacobsen said the Food Day campaign will focus on five goals:

  • Curbing diet-related disease by promoting health foods such as fruits and vegetables;
  • Supporting sustainable farms and stopping federal subsidies to agribusiness;
  • Expanding access to food and reducing hunger;
  • Better protect the environment and animals from factory farms; and
  • Curtail junk-food marketing to children.

Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee is honorary co-chair of the event, along with Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn.