Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution tackles one of the most pressing challenges in the American diet these days: teaching the next generation to eat consciously - healthfully and sustainably. This passionate Brit attempts to turn the lunch programs of Huntington, WV's schools on their heads, introducing "real" food; not that processed rubbish we've all seen (and many have eaten) in school cafeteria's. While the show focuses more on health, which definitely adds to the drama and life-or-death moments, it is easily applicable to the holistic sustainability of our food system in general. You can watch the full episodes on ABC.
While Jamie has captured the couch potato crowd, the fight for school lunch reform has taken over the blogosphere, as well. I have been following Mrs. Q's blog on school lunches for a few months now, and am appalled though not surprised by her account of cafeteria food. Not too long ago, I remember being confronted with crustless PB&J sandwiches cut into perfect circles or the mounds of french fries Mr. Oliver faces in WV high school.
Both of these foodie advocates work on a solid foundation of unhealthy food practices in the US. A lovely morsel in the NY Times Magazine compared the breakdown of food consumption in several countries. Don't worry Americans, we still retain our place as #1 consumer of processed foods. But doesn't it just make your eyes well up and your throat constrict when you think of all of those adultered ingredients being consumed?
Needless to say, it is almost impossible these days to navigate the various blogs and news sources I follow without happening upon something or other relating to revolutionizing our food system, and as of late, the many and varying school lunch programs. What I find most fascinating about all of the hullabaloo (which I support, mind you), is the means by which it is reaching the general public and building support.
We seem to be in an age in which - despite years of advocacy and small, but hard-won victories for the fresh, local, seasonal foods community - the way to get something done is to make it into a reality TV show! Americans like nothing better than to experience the struggles, trials, and victories of life by watching someone else go through them. Well, if it works and that's what people want... Combining our favorite media source - that box in front of the couch - and our blossoming cyberworld, significant change might actually be in our future!
And with our First Lady taking the degraded state of our country's nutrition as a personal insult, we have a good many voices speaking up! Keep an eye on the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act that could provide the little shove necessary for a real Food Revolution.
I apologize for the lack of photographs and edible musings. Such ruminations will return after these messages...