|Jamie Oliver on his Food Revolution Day site|
The food education emphasized this weekend is continually being promoted by groups that support the return of the American food supply to farming collaboratives and collectives, local farmers, organic non profits like Stone Barnes Center for food and agricultur, whole foods producers and suppliers, local sourcing, food greening movements (less long distance transport from areas like Mexico which reduces reliance on oil and reduces cost). The ultimate aim is to make food producers, suppliers and agra business more responsive to consumers' health needs. And if they persist in ignoring consumers' demands toward health, greening, labeling of irradiated foods and genetically modified foods, there is a growing movement to boycott foods, franchises and food store chains which stock products that manifest extreme processing and chemicalizing. As more consumers support green and whole food PACs and businesses which ARE responsive, the hope is that large food chains and their suppliers will take note and correct. Some may even reverse the current trends of agra business and its inherent horrors which have produced E-coli outbreaks, mad cow disease, weird food toxins, antibiotics in our water supply, Salmonella outbreaks and unhealthy food products thought to exacerbate chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes (Studies relate these to chemicalized/processed foods high in salt, sugar and hydrogenated fats).
Chef and food icon Jamie Oliver who has "been on top of these issues" for a number of years is to be credited for his exploits in attempting to get Americans to eat more healthily. His Food Revolution TV show was canceled in 2011 for lack of commercial support but he took the fight to the streets and internet and created a foundation.
You remember Oliver! On one of his first shows in 2010, he went to the fattest state in the nation, West Virginia, the fattest town, Huntington and he attempted to inspire the residents there to change their eating habits. He despaired, because when he went to the school and led the cafeteria staff in selecting and preparing other food items for the children (delicious gourmet veggie/pasta preparations; eggs for breakfast instead of pizza) there was resistance from the staff and a revolt by the students who wanted their pizza, pink slime hamburgers (That's what they were eating though it was not known at the time as it now is,) fries and processed foods.
Though his show faltered (Gee, I wonder why there were few corporations who wanted to jump on board with advertising.), Oliver's mission blossomed. He brought attention to the problems with America's food supply: highlighting the lobbying efforts of its industrial farms and food producers whose practices with genetically modified produce and unsanitary conditions often fly under the radar. Calling attention to inhumane animal practices of industrialized farms which often produce contaminated product, films like Fast Food Nation, Oliver and others have garnered support of local growers, farmers that treat their animals humanely and food sourcing. Most importantly, he and others continue to educate how the unhealthiness of the food industry's chemically processed and preserved foods foster disease and exacerbate obesity.
Oliver also alerted us to Pink Slime. To think that the company, Beef Products, Inc. allowed him to go into one of its facilities, not understanding how he would be using the video shot there, is amazing. (It has laid off another round of employees since the campaign against pink slime began.) Pink slime went viral with a petition by Bettina Siegel and the supporters piled on eventually prompting congressional action for schools to opt out of purchasing and using pink slime for their hamburgers. Jamie Oliver's website continues to fight against pink slime and remove it from the nation's schools, and perhaps the food supply completely (many fast food restaurants have claimed to stop using the product).
Oliver's and his food teams' campaign promoting global Food Revolution Day inspired the global community to join in the celebration of healthy eating. Food Revolution Day also reinforced the ongoing fight to stand against the egregious industrialization, processing, genetic modification and irradiation of the global food supply. There were over 750 events scheduled in over 490 cities across 44 countries, and the events varied from dinner parties, cooking classes, farmer's market tours, community potlucks, and street fairs. Events took place in major cities like New York City and smaller municipalities like Patchogue, New York out on Long Island. They even encompassed smaller neighborhoods or block parties centered around educating children about healthy eating and nutritious food choices.
Many of these events were spearheaded by members or supporters of the organic and vegan food movements, the whole foods movement, the animal rights movement which endorses the humane treatment of animals on industrial farms and in the killing field of slaughterhouses, the movement to support local farm sourcing and small local farms, the movement to label and/or eliminate GM foods (genetically modified) or products that contain GM ingredients, and the movement to ban irradiated foods, to name a few. Tor them the Food Revolution encompasses not only one day, it is a movement that spans the rest of their lives.
Oliver's website encourages the involvement of young people. For Food Revolution Day the food team stated that "celebration events give youth the opportunity to join forces with their local communities and other young people across the globe, to stand up and demand better food education." Oliver and the team want the youth to get on the health train. After all, it is their generation that will inherit all of what their parents and the culture have left, with a global epidemic of diet related diseases, which, according to Oliver has already led to "43 million children under the age of 5 being overweight and which kills an estimated 2.8 million people a year."
Sounds like a great idea? It is. We are what we eat and over the years the nation has learned that it is not necessarily what we don't put in our mouths that will harm us, (i.e. not eating a lot) it is what we do put in our mouths that will kill us and/or make us sick. Coupled with the ongoing anti-obesity campaign, The Weight of the Nation, the main thrust is on healthy eating which promotes a healthy life. However, Oliver's Food Revolution attacks the problem where it should be attacked, the American food supply system. And since our supply is being exported to other nations, this has become a global fight or revolution because the corporations are global; they are promulgating their processes and product with ferocity. Capture a country's appetite, you capture their citizens' wallets.