Joseph Martinus, UCLA

Credit: UCLA

UCLA student (and trained chef) Joseph Martinus does a food demonstration on campus.

University of California campuses will celebrate Food Day this week with a full plate of activities, including lectures, discussions, film screenings, farmers markets, food demonstrations and special dining menus.

Food Day, Oct. 24, is a nationwide campaign encouraging Americans to change their diets and push for improved food policies. As part of the UC Global Food Initiative, UC campuses, medical centers and other locations are participating in numerous Food Day festivities.

Water dispensers, UC Riverside
UC Riverside students fill up on water at a Food Day event sponsored by Student Health Services.

“It’s about bringing attention to pressing issues, celebrating food and engaging the community in thinking about food from lots of different angles,” said Dr. Wendy Slusser, associate vice provost of UCLA’s Healthy Campus Initiative, a campuswide effort envisioned and supported by philanthropists Jane and Terry Semel that promotes a culture of mental and physical health and wellness. “This is an opportunity to learn about the complexity of food, educate ourselves and have fun.”

For example, four UC campus dining organizations — Berkeley, UCLA, San Diego and Santa Cruz — will jointly host dinners Oct. 24 highlighting the availability of fresh and local ingredients and products in California and showcasing sustainable and nutritious foods served regularly by the campuses. The four campuses expect to serve more than 10,000 meals that day featuring locally sourced ingredients, such as stuffed bell peppers from the UCSC farm and Rocky's of Petaluma lemon and herb roasted chicken. UC Davis Dining Services is hosting a similarly themed Farm-to-Fork Dinner on Oct. 23.

All UC students, faculty and staff are encouraged to take the UC Eats Real Food Day pledge to eat foods that are healthy, minimally processed and prepared in a sustainable and humane way.

Here’s a sampling of other Food Day events across the UC system:

  • UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Davis Health System, UC Irvine, UC San Francisco, UC Santa Barbara and UC Santa Cruz will be among those having Food Day farmers markets or farm stands.
  • UC Davis will have a free Food Day WorkLife and Wellness Brown Bag from noon-1 p.m. Oct. 23 in the Student Community Center’s Multipurpose Room.
  • UC Irvine’s Global Sustainability Resource Center and on-campus Sustainability Fraternity, Theta Psi, are coordinating a free screening of the documentary “Food Patriots” and a panel discussion, beginning at 5 p.m. Oct. 23 in Social Sciences Lab 228.
  • UCLA senior Joseph Martinus, a professionally trained chef, will be doing food demonstrations Oct. 22 and 23; there will be an Oppenheim Lecture in the Fowler Museum’s Lenart Auditorium from 6-8:30 p.m. Oct. 22, “An Evening with Jonathan Gold,” with the Pulitzer Prize-winning restaurant critic moderating a panel discussion about popular food movements; and the inaugural UCLA-Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Conference at the UCLA School of Law, Room 2357, 8 a.m. Oct. 24.
  • UC Merced dining will serve a special Food Day lunch Oct. 24 in which the majority of products will be local and seasonal.
  • UC Riverside will host noted educator and environmentalist Mitchell Thomashow, who will talk about his book, “The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus,” from 1:30-3 p.m. Oct. 23 in INTS 1128.
  • UC San Diego is hosting a free Sustainable Food Expo, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 27 in the Price Center East Ballroom.
  • UC San Francisco dining will celebrate with a special Food Day lunch menu Oct. 24.
  • UC Santa Barbara will host a Food Day panel at the UCen Santa Barbara Mission Room from noon-1 p.m. Oct. 23, featuring Kristen LaBonte from the UCSB Greenhouse and Garden Project, Tuyen Nguyen from the UCSB AS Food Bank, and UC Santa Barbara professors David Cleveland and Nelson Lichtenstein.
  • UC Santa Cruz, as part of its Oct. 24 campus dining featuring a special locally sourced dinner meal served at all five dining halls, will have members of its campus Food System Working Group and several local growers staff tables at each dining location to talk about ingredients and where they came from.
  • UC Office of the President: UC’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources and OP Staff Assembly are sponsoring a food drive Oct. 20-24 to benefit the Alameda County Community Food Bank.

More information can be found on the Global Food Initiative calendar.

UC President Janet Napolitano, together with UC’s 10 chancellors, launched the Global Food Initiative in July. The initiative aims to put the world on a path to sustainably and nutritiously feed itself. By building on existing efforts and creating new collaborations among UC’s 10 campuses, affiliated national laboratories and the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the initiative will develop and export solutions for food security, health and sustainability throughout California, the United States and the world.