If you search for the hashtag #20ate on Twitter, you’ll come up with a stream of comments like this:

I'm opting out of National Snack Food Month and opting in for real food instead. How about you? #20ate http://20ate.org
February is officially National Snack Food Month, a month when processed food companies encourage consumers to participate more heavily in the “fun and wholesome activity” of eating pre-packaged snacks. As if we, as a society, need to be encouraged to eat more doodle cheese chip cookies.

Roger Doiron, the 
founder and weeder-in-chief at Kitchen Gardeners International (one of the orginizations that successfully campaigned to get a vegetable garden at The White House), is fighting against National Snack Food Month. He’s proposed his own month called #20ate. #20ate is a “28-day group experiment in doodle detox, carrot karma, and fighting the powers that be.”

What does he want us to do during this “real food, counter-celebration for the 20ate days of February?”

  1. Opt-out of Snack Food Month by not buying processed snack foods or junk foods for the month of February and opt-in for real foods which taste better, make you feel better and often cost less when you make them yourself.
  2. Sing your participation in the 20ate campaign from the rooftops on twitter and facebook using the #20ate hashtag.
  3. "Like" KGI's Facebook fanpage to help us build our online presence. My pride is riding on this one: the freaking "cheese puff" fanpage has more fans than we do. That's so wrong and in so many ways.
  4. Donate some of your savings from #1 to a healthy & sustainable food cause you've always wanted to support. There is a list of causes on the website to chose from.

What are the ultimate goals for the #20ate campaign?

  • At least 2,800 participants tweeting and eating their way to cleaner consciences and colons. (It's true: real food = roughage.)
  • At least 2,800 new KGI fanpage members. Heck, let's go for 28,000 and overtake the "Cheetos" page while we're at it!
  • At least $2,800 raised to help support food garden promotion in the U.S. and abroad on World Kitchen Garden Day.
  • At least 280 people donating $10 and we're there.
If you’d like to take this challenge, here are a few recipes for homemade snacks to help you get started.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Opt out of snack food for '#20ate' days
It’s National Snack Food Month, but you don’t have to participate.