Jamie Oliver brought his Food Revolution to Los Angeles this year, and beforehand, I got a phone call from his production team, inviting me in for a chat. What’s going on with state of school food in LA, they wanted to know. They’d seen my carefully constructed quote about school food in Mary MacVean’s article in the LA Times.
It was actually, I didn’t realize at first, a casting call for Oliver’s reality TV show, which aired on ABC this spring. For those of you who have never been brought in for a reality TV casting call – this is what it looked like, sitting in the reception area of the ABC studios:
The Food Revolution producers, I heard a week after my casting call, LOVED me. Of course they did. I’m sorry if this sounds vain, but how many people give up corporate careers in food marketing (and potential six figure salaries) to live on sub-poverty level incomes and devote their days to figuring out how to get city kids to eat their veggies? I love my work. I know I’m in the right place, and it SHOWS. I’m feisty, fierce, and committed to changing the way we eat in America. I’m willing to sacrifice six, and even five figure salaries for now, until we can get this s*it figured out – how to build demand for, and create local supplies of healthy food. No wonder they dig my energy!
How much did they really love me though, by shows end? My hat and face appear in the second episode, where Jamie is dressed as a tomato, handing out healthy lunches to elementary school kids. I refused to put on a veggie costume, so instead I’m more prominently featured in the final episode, during the chocolate milk protest; I’m spouting one of my favorite quotes (my own) stating that kids aren’t getting sick in the US of A from lack of Vitamin D nowadays. They are getting sick from too much added sugar, of which, flavored milk served at LAUSD, delivers more than half the daily recommended allowance (40 grams).
I got a call from KPCC, and NPR radio affiliate, a few weeks after the final episode of Oliver’s LA Food Revolution show aired. They wanted to know, did I think Oliver did much to change the landscape for school food in Los Angeles? You can read the gist of the article here. If you really want to hear the broadcast, email me and I’ll send it.
Bottom line, I think there’s a story that remains untold. There’s a greater “reality” story, of all the organizations and individuals who are working to create change in the communities where unhealthy food is taking its greatest toll on the human populations. I’m convinced, that whoever is willing and able to tell THIS story – is going to spark the REAL food revolution that will bring critical new voices to this healthy food movement. It MUST become a movement OF, BY, and FOR the people – ALL the people.
Take a look – it’s starting to happen – we’re catalyzing and revitalizing an interest in healthy food that already exists in our communities – we just need the Jamie Olivers of the world to synergize our efforts and support not only their own, but others’ efforts to make the change.