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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Food Day celebration promotes healthy eating on the Mall

Noelle R. Haro-Gomez
Noelle R. Haro-Gomez / Arizona Daily Wildcat Executive Chef Ryan Clark from Lodge on the Desert demonstrates to UA students how to make Asian Noodle Salad at UA Food Day. Clark is a two time Iron Chef Tucson winner.

Students and members of the Tucson community crowded the UA Mall to enjoy free taste tests, food demonstrations and live music as UA Food Day Fair kicked off on Wednesday.

Food Day is a nationwide celebration and a movement that aims to educate people about how to eat more healthy, affordable and sustainable food.

“I’m excited for everybody to experience food in a new way and have people learn about the environment and how it affects your food choices,” said Hana Feeney, UA Food Day’s coordinator.

The event brought together people from different areas to promote the food movement, including physicians, nutritionists, farmers and chefs, as well as parents and teachers. Tucson’s Iron Chef Ryan Clark hosted a food demonstration and provided samples at the fair.

“This is a national celebration to promote healthy, sustainable, affordable and fair food here in the community,” said Michelle Mixer, human resources representative at the College of Nursing. “At UA we really want to emphasize our focus on that mission that coincides with Food Day.”

The organizations represented at the event cooperated to encourage students on campus and members of the surrounding community to eat more healthfully.

“You only get one body to live with, so you might as well take care of it and eat healthy,” journalism freshman Leah Cresswell said.

One way students can start becoming healthier is by changing their own diets, adding more fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products, Feeney said. Many of these healthy eating tips were presented on the Mall on Wednesday.

“People should have found a wealth of information and new experiences,” Feeney said. “They can taste test [and] watch food demonstrations so they learn how to take home some of these directions.”

More than 25 campus and community groups gathered to host interactive exhibits under a large tent on the Mall, including Students for Sustainability. The club is currently working on projects to make the UA more sustainable.

“A lot of the sustainability is going unnoticed,” said Lauren Johnston, coordinator for Grassroots and volunteer for Students for Sustainability. “The community is making huge strides that people sometimes don’t see. An event like this widens the eyes for the community of what is accessible on campus.”

Grassroots is a student club run by two Students for Sustainability interns and created for sustainably-minded UA students.

“Food matters,” said Gale Welter, coordinator of nutrition services at Campus Health Service. “It matters what you eat and it determines a lot of your health risks and there is a big community of people who care about the food that we eat. We are really working hard to make sure the food is healthy, sustainable and just.”

UA Student Unions grilled up grass-fed beef burgers and vegan burgers, and provided healthy options from the Red & Blue Market, which Welter said is a new line of to-go foods.

“Healthy food helps the environment while having students maintain a well balanced diet,” veterinary sciences freshman Victoria Phee said.

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