Friday, April 2, 2010

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution

I just finished watching a mostly great TED talk given by Jamie Oliver, the crazy (and gorgeous!) British chef who's trying to change the way America views food.

Jamie Oliver's TED Prize Wish - Teach Every Child About Food

Some of the great parts:
  • There needs to be a revolution in the home - the home used to be a place for passing down food culture to one's children, but this isn't the case anymore.  Now a lot of the time we're just passing down bad habits like eating junk food sitting in front of the t.v.
  • School lunch programs need to change.  It is the responsibility of schools to keep children safe while they are at school.  Why doesn't this apply to what they're feeding the kids?  As Jamie pointed out in his talk, more people die of obesity every year in this country than all other causes combined.  That's scary stuff.  Schools need to be held responsible and expected to feed children correctly while the kids are in their care.
  • I also really like the idea of teaching kids about food in school.  If they know what vegetables are and how to cook and how to grow food, their lives can be changed!
Some of the not so great parts:
  • I don't believe that it's the job of the corporations to change the way America views food.  Yes it's awful that big food corporations mislabel things.  Yes it sucks that fast food chains are so pervasive and have managed to get most of us addicted to things that will kill us.  But in my opinion the responsibility lies with the consumer.  We have to know for ourselves what's good for us.  We have to look at the label that says low fat and know that the fat flavor was just replaced by a truckload of sugar.
  • Along the same lines I don't think the government should police the food industry.  For instance the idea that the government should involve itself in how fast food companies market their food and what they're allowed to serve is pretty ridiculous to me.  It isn't the job of the government to save us from ourselves or make all our decisions for us.  Those things should be left up to the individual.
Overall I agree with Jamie.  Our country needs to change how we look at food.  We need to learn more about it - where it comes from, how to grow it, how to cook and eat it.  We need to pass down our food culture to our kids.  But we need to take our health into our own hands and not expect government to police the food industry so we never have to think for ourselves.

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