At the end of 2005, the UN declared that 2008 would be the International Year of the Potato. The declaration was intended to “to focus world attention on the role that the potato can play in providing food security and alleviating poverty of the population” – meaning that potatoes are an important staple food and they wanted to celebrate and promote that fact. Taken alone, the declaration seems like an odd one to make, but it’s not the only food (or food-related) thing that the UN has highlighted. 2004, for instance, was the Year of Rice and the year-long “celebration” is thought, by some, to have increased the popularity of the grain.
In addition to the international food years, the UN has declared several foodie days. Today, November 1st, is World Vegan Day. August 29 is “More Herbs, Less Salt Day,” October 1 is World Vegetarian Day and October 16th is World Food Day. It’s enough to make you wonder how much more time the UN will need to fill up every day of the calendar with a food-related holiday of some kind – much as the US national calendar is stuffed to the gills right now with all kinds of National fill-in-the-blank foodie dates. According to that calendar, today is also National French Fried Clam Day.