#HealthyGW Cooking Challenge Kicks Off 2015 Food Day Celebration

Events this week include Apple Day and Pop-Up Produce Market.

Students at apple day putting apples into bins
October 19, 2015

By Brittney Dunkins

Maintaining a balanced diet, eating seasonal produce and making sustainable food choices are among the topics that will take center stage during the George Washington University 2015 Food Day celebration, a week of activities Oct. 19-24 designed to educate the university community about nutrition and wellness.

The national observance of Food Day is Oct. 24.

“The events hosted during GW’s annual Food Day celebration showcase healthy, affordable and sustainable food through panel discussions, cooking challenges and civic engagement with our D.C. community,” said Senior Advisor to the Office of the President Dawnita Altieri.

“GW is on the forefront of issues such as food justice, sustainability, nutrition and wellness, and we are constantly seeking opportunities to do more to support the university and D.C. community.”

Ms. Altieri recently was appointed to lead Healthy GW, the university-wide initiative that encompasses GW’s wellness efforts, including the GW Parenting Initiative, the Colonial Health Center, the Urban Food Task Force (UFTF), Smoke-Free GW and initiatives addressing sexual assault and violence, mental health, wellness behaviors and access to health services.

GW Urban Food Task Force Chair Diane Knapp, Ruffles the dog and Senior Advisor to the Office of the President Dawnita Altieri celebrate Apple Day and share a bench with the "George" statue last year.


The 2015 Food Day celebration includes Apple Day on Oct. 22, a GW tradition that celebrates the harvest with free apples sourced from local farms and businesses. GW Urban Food Task Force Chair Diane Knapp will offer remarks at the Foggy Bottom Campus giveaway at 12:30 p.m. on Kogan Plaza.

The Pop-Up Produce Market and Health Screening Fair will be Oct. 24 at the Deanwood Recreation Center in Northeast D.C. The volunteer-run event organized by the UFTF provides fresh produce and health screenings to residents. University Chef Rob Donis will also be on hand to provide cooking demonstrations.

New to the schedule of events is GW’s first university-wide cooking challenge. To enter, students, faculty and staff can use a recipe created by Mr. Donis to prepare a healthy dish and then upload a photo or video of the meal with the tag #HealthyGW. Challenge participants will have the opportunity to win a gift card from Cava Grill, a local Mediterranean-style, fast-casual restaurant.

The cooking challenge will run Oct. 19-23. Prizes will be awarded each day.

View a full list of Food Day activities below. All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.

Wednesday, Oct. 21

An Evening with Michael Pollan in Conversation with Renee Montagne
8 p.m., Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st St., NW
Author, journalist and food activist Michael Pollan joins Renee Montagne, host of NPR’s “Morning Edition,” for a discussion of the modern food landscape. Tickets are $34 for students, $40 for general admission. 

Thursday, Oct. 22

Apple Day
Noon, Kogan Plaza
The annual tradition celebrates the fall harvest with a give-away of free, locally-grown apples on Kogan Plaza and the Mount Vernon and Virginia Science and Technology campuses. The rain location for for the Foggy Bottom Campus giveaway will be the Marc C. Abrams Great Hall on the first floor of the Marvin Center. Rain locations for Mount Vernon and VSTC will be announced.

GW Milken Institute School of Public Health “Steps Challenge” Give-Away
Noon, Milken Institute School of Public Health
GW Milken SPH invites the university community to climb the seven story main staircase and #Stepitup in support of the GW Steps Challenge launched earlier this month. Free apples will be available at the top of the stairs to those who make the trek.

Friday, Oct. 23

The Smithsonian Food History Weekend: Growing Innovations Roundtable
11:30 a.m., National Museum of American History, Constitution Avenue between 12th and 14th streets, NW
George Washington University Executive Director of Sustainability Kathleen Merrigan and panelists discuss innovations in farming and food production.

Saturday, Oct. 24

Food Day
Nationwide
The annual nationwide celebration of healthy, sustainable and locally sourced food.

Pop-Up Produce Market and Health Screening Market
11 a.m., Deanwood Recreation Center, 1350 39th St., NE
The Urban Food Task Force and GW Healing Clinic of the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences provide fresh produce and health screenings to residents of D.C.’s Ward 7. University Chef Rob Donis demonstrates healthy cooking tips.