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Sustainable eating promoted at second "Food Day"

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photo by Paige Hansen photo by Paige Hansen
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

It was all about food at the University of Arizona today as hundreds came from campus and all over our community to learn about sustainable food. It is part of "Food Day," a national event promoting healthy, sustainable, affordable and fair eating habits. It is a big issue, and Tucson was one of the first cities to take such a collaborative step forward last year, uniting city and county leaders and the University of Arizona.

From the UA campus to the new, not yet open "Garden Kitchen" in South Tucson, there is more and more talk about sustainable food and lifestyle, what is means and how it can be implemented in our daily lives. At "Food Day" today, there were dozens of booths presenting cooking demonstrations, explaining everything from various types of produce to fresh fish.

UA sophomore Merly Torres tried sushi for the first time and admits she tries to eat well but wants to eat more healthfully.

The UA mall was packed with students like Merly, educating themselves on opportunities to eat sustainability on campus and throughout the Tucson area. Hana Abdulaziz Feeny, the Food Day coordinator and part of UA's Campus Health Services says the biggest difference between this year and last is that more people showed up today.

In front of hundreds, Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild declared today "Food Day."

When asked whether he thought he'd ever be declaring such a thing, the Mayor said, "I didn't think I'd be declaring a lot of things, but … the idea that people are now committing to understanding food better and understanding that it's probably at the core of what makes you healthy it's a great message to get out."

A message that Abdulaziz Feeny says is political on a local and national level, voting with your forks.

"Every time you make a food choice, in the grocery store, at the farmers' market in the restaurant, at a friend's house, you're sending  a message about what your values and priorities are about food," Abdulaziz Feeny said.

In theory, eating and living in a way sustainable for the environment and our bodies sounds like a no-brainer. Eating local also is beneficial for our local economy. But, barriers like cost and availability present an issue.

"The salads here are very expensive they're like 7 dollar and some 8 dollars, versus a burger which is like 4 dollars or 6," Torres said.

 "The U of A is such an active campus," UA freshman Caroline DiGlio said. "There are so many people in sports and biking, very active. The next step is food. We need that fresh, good local stuff."

The message is heard on campus, and all over Southern Arizona. In South Tucson, the new "Garden Kitchen" is set to open Saturday. Representatives from the "Garden Kitchen" were at today's "Food Day" raising awareness about its new food education complete with backyard garden and kitchen.

- For a schedule of free cooking classes, visit the following link and click on "Nutrition Education" http://extension.arizona.edu/pima

- For more on Food Day, visit the following link: http://www.foodday.org// 

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